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How to Format an External Drive for Mac (Tutorial)

There are many different reasons you might want to format or reformat an external hard drive for your Mac. Perhaps you just bought it and it’s not immediately compatible with MacOS right out of the box. Or maybe, your external drive has gotten so cluttered and full of nonsense that you just want to back up whatever is important and then wipe the whole thing to give it a fresh start. Now, if you don’t work with computer hardware a lot, tasks like these can seem a little daunting. Sometimes, there are a few more steps than you’re comfortable with and it can be a bit frustrating. Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

Reformatting Your New External Drive for Mac — Where Do We Go From Here?

From time to time, I get asked by friends and family to show them how to format an external hard drive they just bought for their Mac. Usually, the drives you buy from electronics stores come pre-formatted for Windows. It’s unfair, I get it. With today’s set it and forget it lifestyle, when you buy a new toy, you just want to plug it in and be good to go. Unfortunately, when buying an external drive for a Mac, you need to set a little groundwork. Don’t be alarmed! There’s no need to throw your brand-new drive in the trash out of frustration just yet. 

One of my many joys in life is wowing audiences of friends and family with my savvy tech skills and then turning around and showing them just how easy it is to do it. Sort of like some kind of computer genius Penn and Teller, but this is no magic act, my friend. With this video tutorial, my aim is to show you just how easy it is to format your external drive for Mac and become the Hardware Hero you know you can be. The Hardware Hero your Mac deserves.

So, sit back. If you’ve got your new drive with you, that’s great! Pop it out of the box and walk with me step by step as we get your external drive for your Mac set up, formatted and ready to go.

IMPORTANT! If you’re wanting to reformat your CURRENT hard drive, make sure you back up ALL files you want to keep. Reformatting your drive will erase everything you currently have saved to it. As I said previously, sometimes it is nice to “start fresh” with your hard drive, but often, there are documents on their worth saving. So be sure to do a quick but thorough run through and grab everything you’d like to keep.