Available Mac File Systems Explained

Reformat External Hard Drive for Mac: Ultimate Guide in 12222

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Format external hard drives to make it compatible with both Mac and PC

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A hard drive can be used on any type of computer - PC or Mac. But in order for the computer and drive to talk to one another, the drive has to be formatted. Cons: FAT32 comes with file size limits and drive partition limits. Also, FAT is the standard file system for digital cameras. Pros: The largest partition and file sizes it supported are nearly unlimited by today's standards. Cons: exFAT file system is not compatible with older operating systems.

It should be used in macOS As most users have upgraded operating system, it is actually quite easy to meet to lowest operating system requirements of exFAT.

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It can be easily implemented in firmware that has low memory and low power requirements, such as cameras, mobile phones, media players, etc. Pros: It is an improvement for FAT32, and it is used as the default file system of Windows system hard drive due to its improved performance, reliability, and disk space use.


  • How to Format an External Drive for Mac Compatibility?
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  • Back Up the Drive’s Data First.
  • Erase the Mac Partitions, Including the EFI System Partition!
  • How to format an external hard drive for Mac and PC?!
  • It is optimized for flash drives and SSD with a primary focus on encryption. Warning: Formatting a disk or a partition will erase data on this drive. Make sure you have a copy of data backup in hand if you have important files on this external hard drive. However, if you have formatted this drive and are encountering data loss, you can recover data from formatted external hard drive with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery. Also, if you plug in an NTFS formatted drive to your Mac and you have a copy of data backup, then you can follow the following steps to format your external hard drive for both Mac and PC without worrying data loss.

    Click on Launchpad at the dock of your Mac, choose Other in the menu, and then select Disk Utility to open. Tips: You can choose FAT when you need maximum compatibility with the widest range of devices and if you don't have any files larger than 4 GB. And for better performance, you can choose Guide Partition Map scheme if your disk or partition is larger than 1TB.

    How to format an external hard drive for Mac and PC?

    Connect your external hard drive to your PC, and then select this drive from the list and right-click on it. Check Perform a quick format and click OK to format the external hard drive. Except for having the whole external hard drive formatted, you can also split this disk with two partitions. One is formatted with the file system that is compatible with macOS, another partition is compatible with Windows conversely. By this means, you can use all the advantages each format has on the respective system. Warning: Still, you need to back up files on this drive before you begin to create two separate partitions to work for Mac and Windows PC.

    Format an External Hard Drive or USB Flash Drive for Mac OS X

    Step 1: Connect your external hard drive to your Mac, and then launch Disk Utility. Step 2: Click on the drive name in the left sidebar, and then click on Partition at the top.

    How To Format A Hard Drive To Work On Mac and PC

    Step 4: Click on the untitled half of the pie, give it a name, choose exFAT format, and decide the size according to your need. Step 6: Then click on another partition and format it with Mac OS Extended , and give it a name like "Mac" for your convenience. After saving all these changes above, there will be two partitions on your external hard drive.

    Step 1: Search for Disk Management and open it. Then you will find this external hard drive at the lower right column. By creating two separate partitions, you can use this external hard drive on both Mac and Windows. You won't be able to write to the Mac partition from your Windows computer, and vice versa.

    Thus, it's a good solution for people who need to swap between two operating systems but with separate work. NTFS drive will be read-only on Mac and you can't write to this drive normally in this case. But formatting is not feasible as it includes several steps and you will lose data if you didn't back up your files.