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How To Format an External Hard Drive for Mac

Most external HDD comes in NTFS format, which means, it works fine on Windows but MAC, the drive will become read-only. Or let say you brought an unformatted HDD. Whatever be the case, if you are only going to use your HDD on MAC, you will have to format it to MAC supported file system — HFS.

However, if you want to use this Hard drive on both Mac and Windows or any other operating system, then there are other workarounds. Like using FAT32 or software like NTFS-3G. This video explains that in detail.

Format An External Hard Drive For Mac

So that being said, let’s see how to format an NTFS hard drive to HFS+ using a MAC.

1. Connect the external HDD to your MAC. Make sure it’s mounted correctly and you can access its content. If there is any data in it, take the backup. Because formatting a drive will also erase the data.

2. Now press cmd+space to launch spotlight and type in disk utility and hit enter. You can also navigate to Go > Utilities. The /Applications/Utilities/ Disk Utility.


3. Under the disk utility window, click the of your external hard drive and then click on the Erase option at the top of the window.


4. Under Volume, Format drop-down menu, choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) also give a name (like 2TBHFS) or whatever you want.

5. Next, click on Erase and that’s it. Within few seconds, your drive will be formatted to HFS+. To confirm, unplug your drive and re-plug it, open Finder > click on HDD name and press CMD+I. Under “drive format“, you should see HFS+.


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Saksham Bhargava

Saksham is a tech enthusiast who loves talking about new gadgets and innovations. He loves travelling, particularly to places not frequented by tourists. In his free time, you will find Saksham beating the phone at PUBG Mobile or streaming new highly-rated TV series.