Is WD My Passport compatible with Apple Time Machine?
And in this article, you’ll find out how to set up and use your My Passport with Time Machine.
Along with images to help you along.
Setting Up WD My Passport For Time Machine
It doesn’t matter if you’ve a WD My Passport drive. Or the ‘for Mac’ version.
You set up both the same for Time Machine.
If you’re running Mac OS Monterey or an earlier Mac OS release, you’ll need to format your non for Mac My Passport before you start. (Help on that below)
1. Sign Into Your Mac And Plug In Your WD My Passport Drive.
Your My Passport will appear as an icon on your Mac’s desktop.
Your WD My Passport drive will appear as an icon on your Mac’s desktop.
The name of your drive is underneath the My Passport drive’s icon.
2. Your Mac May Offer To Use Your Drive For A Time Machine Backup.
You may well get a dialog box appear on your Mac’s desktop. You can click Options on the dialog box. Then pick ‘Set Up to use this disk as a backup disk with Time Machine?’
If not please read on.
3. Open System Settings.
Scroll down to General and click on that option. Then Scroll down to Time Machine and click.
4. Click The Button Add Backup Disk.
Click on your WD My Passport drive.
5. Already Use A Backup Drive?
And want to add another drive so you can alternate you backups? Then click the + button.
Click on your My Passport drive. Then click the button Setup Disk.
Your Mac will then format your Passport hard drive as a Mac backup drive. And set your drive up for Time Machine.
6. Then Pick To Show The Time Machine Icon In Menu Bar
Set up your Mac to show the Time Machine icon in your Mac’s menu bar.
You’ll find this super useful when you want to stop, manually start. Or check up on the progress of your backup.
In System Settings click on Control Centre. Then scroll down to Time Machine. Then Click the option ‘Show In Menu Bar’.
On Mac OS Releases Before Ventura.
1. Enter Time Machine.
You can find Time Machine by clicking on the spotlight search at the top of your desktop. And type Time Machine.
You can also find Time Machine in System Preferences.
2. Turn Off Time Machine Automatic Backup.
When the Time Machine window opens.
If there is a check in the box ‘Back Up Automatically’. Click on the box to remove the check mark.
There’s another box to check in the same pop-up window.
Check this box to show the Time Machine icon at the top of your Mac’s desktop window.
This box makes it easy to watch the progress of your back up to your My Passport.
Next click the ‘Select Disk’ button.
On the next popup window you’ll see your WD My Passport Mac drive listed.
You can simply click the partition as your backup destination.
Click your My Passport external hard drive or partition.
Then click on Use Disk.
Next put a check back in the box ‘Back Up Automatically’.
And that’s it.
You can now close your Time Machine Preferences window as you’ve completed the set up.
Time Machine is now set to use your WD My Passport drive to back up to.
How To Use My Passport With Time Machine
When you have a WD My Passport. The one made to use on a Windows PC. To use it on a Mac you;
1. Format It On Your Mac For Your Mac.
Help on that below.
2. Set Your Drive Up In Time Machine.
(See the section above How to set up.)
After that it’s the same as using a My Passport for Mac in Time Machine.
So, read on …
It doesn’t matter if you have the ‘for Mac’ version of WD My Passport or not. The way you use with your Mac is the same.
If you’ve followed the set up steps above. Whenever you plug in your WD My Passport into your Mac. Time Machine is set to kick off a backup.
Then as standard, Time Machine will kick off hourly backups.
And this is usually fine if your WD backup drive is always connected to your Mac. But if you have a MacBook Pro or Air, and you take it around with you.
Then you may want to tell Time Machine to manually kick off a backup when you plug in your My Passport drive.
By telling Time Machine to start a backup now on your My Passport. Read on to find out how.
How To Use WD My Passport For Mac With Time Machine
1. Plug In Your My Passport Drive.
You may want to plug your MacBook Pro or Air into external power. If it’s running low on charge.
Look at the top of your desktop window for the Time Machine icon.
2. Click On The Time Machine Icon.
Anytime you click on the icon. It shows what’s going on with your Time machine backup.
If a backup is happening right now. You may see the message ‘Preparing Backup’. Or the progress of your backup. How many MB’s or GB’s are still left to backup.
When no backup is happening right now, you’ll see the date of your last backup. And the name of your Mac Time Machine drive.
As part of that menu, you have the option to backup now.
3. Click On Backup Now.
When you click ‘Backup Now’ you tell Time Machine to go ahead and make a backup right now.
Time Machine will go through the steps of preparing your backup. And then will backup.
You can click on the Time Machine icon at the top of the desktop at any time during the backup. To check progress.
4. When Your Backup Is Finished.
And you want to put away your drive.
If you’re not leaving your drive plugged into your Mac. Be sure to eject your WD My Passport before you unplug your drive.
Mac OS holds information in its memory.
Information that many not be written down to the drive. And plugging out your drive without ejecting first. Means that data isn’t written onto your drive and can corrupt your backup.
Right click on your drive’s icon. And from the menu select eject.
Wait for your drive icon to disappear from your desktop. And for a steady light on your My Passport showing the drive is idle.
Then you can unplug your USB cable and store your drive away.
CLICK HERE: To Read A Review On WD My Passport For Mac
Your Mac, Your WD My Passport And Time Machine
Time Machine is a free part of your Mac’s operating system.
It is ‘The’ software on a Mac to use for backup. Apple Time Machine will keep a copy of all your documents, photos or music safely backed up.
In fact, Time Machine will back up most everything.
Except your Mac’s operating system. Apple changed all that at Mac OS x Catalina. Now if you need to reinstall your MacOS you use your Mac’s Recovery Mode.
And if you need to rebuild or reinstall your MacOS. You can find out how through this Apple document here.
Although Time Machine no longer backs up your MacOS. It does back up your MacOS settings and things about your OS you’ve personalized.
Time Machine backs up to an external hard drive.
And that’s your WD My Passport drive. Plus it doesn’t matter if it’s the For Mac drive or the Microsoft Windows PC version of the WD drive.
So, should the worst happen. You use Time Machine to rebuild and recover your Mac computer.
Before You Use Your WD My Passport For A Time Machine Backup
It’s worth checking four things before using your My Passport as a Time Machine backup drive.
1. You’ll need a whole Passport hard drive.
Or a partition (section) of a much larger drive large to backup to.
And enough space on your WD backup drive for Time Machine to continue to back up to over time.
And that means it’s best to buy a backup disk that’s twice the space you’re using on your Mac.
Let me explain …
If everything on your Mac takes up 500 GB of space. Then aim to get either a 1 TB WD My Passport drive. Or use a 1TB partition on a much larger My Passport drive.
2. Plug your Mac into external power.
The last thing you want is for your Mac to run out of power part way through your backup.
3. Since MacOS Big Sur Time Machine can now use an APFS (Apple File System) formatted drive.
Or on Mac OS releases before Ventura, Time Machine works with a HFS+ (also known as a Mac OS Extended (Journaled)) formatted drive.
You can check the format of your WD My Passport in this article on the site. How To Check Format Of An External Hard Drive On Mac.
4. There are two types of WD My Passport external hard drives you can use on your Mac.
Western Digital sells a for Mac hard drive version – WD My Passport For Mac.
This Mac drive is already formatted and set up ready to plug straight in and use on your Mac. And it will work straight away with Time Machine.
You may just need to point Time Machine to it.
Do you have the other type of WD My Passport drive? NTFS formatted? No matter. In a few minutes you’ll have it all set up. Read on.
Formatting WD My Passport For Time Machine
You’ll only need to format your drive if you’re not running Mac OS Ventura or a later OS. Because your Mac will format your drive for Time Machine as part of setting up for Time Machine.
If you’re running an earlier operating system release, read on.
The Western Digital My Passport external hard drive is NTFS formatted. Your Mac can’t an NTFS formatted drive for a Time Machine backup.
Take Care: Formatting wipes everything off your drive. If you have files on there. And you want to save them. Copy them off first.
A for instance is:
A brand new My Passport will have software on from Western Digital.
If you want to use the software at a later point then copy it off.
1. Turn On Your Mac And log In.
Plug in your WD My Passport into one of your USB ports. You may need an adaptor cable depending on the age of your Mac.
If you need to go into more detail on this then I have an article on the site all about it. “Connecting an External Hard Drive to Your Mac“. Go ahead and have a read.
You may need your Mac connected to external power.
2. Your Mac May Give You A Message.
Your Mac may have noticed that your WD My Passport external hard drive is NTFS formatted. And offer to format it for you.
If it does, say yes. (as long as there are no files on there you need. If there are. Say no and copy them off.)
3. Go Into Disk Utility.
You can find Disk Utility by doing a spotlight search.
Type “disk utility” into the spotlight search.
Double click on Disk Utility to start it up.
4. Select Your WD My Passport External Drive.
At the left of the Disk Utility screen you’ll see all the drives on your Mac.
Click on your WD My Passport drive under the ‘External’ heading.
Be sure to select it at the right level. The arrow in this picture shows you where.
5. Look At The Top Of The Pop Up Window Click On Erase.
Erase is how Disk Utility refers to formatting.
6. On The Erase Screen.
You can give your WD My Passport drive a name. And enter the settings to format it ready for Time Machine.
Put in a name for your WD My Passport drive.
Choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or APFS where the screen asks for the format.
And select GUID Partition Map for the Scheme.
Click on Erase to go ahead and format your My Passport drive.
In a few minutes it’s done and you can quit Disk Utility. Then you’re ready to connect your My Passport drive to Time Machine.
For more detail on formatting a WD My passport drive do take a look at my post on the site. “Format WD My Passport for Mac, 10 Quick Steps“.
Have a large WD My Passport external hard drive and want to divide it up?
Say have one part for your photos, And another for your backup.
That is called partitioning. You can learn how to partition your WD My Passport drive in this article on the site. “Partition WD My Passport For Mac, Teach Yourself in 10 Steps“.
What To Know About Your First WD Passport Backup
If this is your first backup. Or you’ve made a lot of changes since your last backup.
Then Time Machine may show the message that it is preparing the backup.
And it could take a while to prepare.
When you start your first backup with Time Machine, you’ll need to be patient.
The first Time Machine backup is a backup of everything. And it could take several hours to do depending on how much data you have to backup.
Leave your Mac plugged in to power.
And think about kicking off your backup overnight.
About Time Machine On The WD My Passport Drive
1. Time Machine Backup Schedule.
Assuming your WD My Passport drive is connected all the time to your Mac.
Time Machine keeps and does a backup each hour for the last 24 hours.
It will keep a daily backup for the last month.
And keep weekly backups for all the past months.
If you instead kick off your backup as and when you wish. Time Machine will back up all changes since your last backup.
2. Time Machine Backups Are Incremental Forever.
This means that the first backup is a full backup of everything. After that Time Machine works out what has changed and takes a backup of the changes.
3. When Your WD My Passport Drive Is Full.
Time Machine will delete the oldest backup.
That’s the main reason you want to make sure you have a WD My Passport drive large enough. Large enough to hold all the backups you want to keep.
4. If You Don’t Have Your WD My Passport Drive Plugged In All The Time.
And you backup as and when you want.
My best advice to you is to keep a note so that you do a back regularly.
Bad luck usually has it that you’re desperate for a backup. But it’s been ages since your last backup.
I hope you enjoyed this article “WD My Passport Time Machine Insider Need to Knows”.
You’ll find other articles on the site about the WD My Passport external hard drive. Go ahead and take a look.
About Simon Irons
As an admin I spend my day helping folks with their Mac issues. From the guy at work, through to unofficial 911 support for family and friends. I swear they have me on speed dial.
For fun I like testing out and playing with new stuff. I think Apple make the best products on the planet.
In my spare time I like to fish and play around with boats.