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First released in , it offers all sorts of benefits over Mac OS Extended, the previous default. For one thing, APFS is faster: copying and pasting a folder is basically instantaneous, because the file system basically points to the same data twice. There are also a number of reliability improvements, making things like corrupted files a lot less common. There are a lot of upsides here.

Reverse compatibility.

Mac: Choosing Disk Format Type While Formatting External Drive

To this day, it remains the default file system for mechanical and hybrid hard drives, both while installing macOS and while formatting external drives. ExFat should basically only be used on drives that need to work with both Windows and macOS computers. The format dates back to , and was made by Microsoft to provide some of the cross-platform compatibility of the older FAT32 format without the file and partition size limitations.

Sure, you could read a Mac formatted drive on Windows or read a Windows formatted drive on a Mac , but both solutions either cost money or are unstable. So despite the disadvantages, ExFAT is your best option for cross-platform hard drives. To be clear, you can use capital letters in file names either way.

APFS: Best for Solid State and Flash Drives

Case Sensitivity mostly determines whether the file system sees capital letters as different. The file system sees the file names as identical, even if they look different to you.

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Presumably, a case-sensitive file system was just seen as less user-friendly. Today, enabling case sensitivity could break some Mac apps that expect a case-insensitive file system. You won't be able to write to the Mac side from your Windows computer, and vice versa, but it's a good solution for people who want all the advantages each format has to offer for its respective system.

Here's how to do it:. Select the drive from the left sidebar, then click the Partition tab.

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Under Partition layout, select "2 Partitions. For example, you might want more storage for your Mac than you do for your PC. Give your settings a final lookover and click Apply.

Format a Mac's Drive Using Disk Utility (OS X El Capitan or Later)

Step 2: Plug the hard drive into your Windows PC. Open the Start menu and search for Disk Management. Select the search result and the Disk Management utility will launch. In the left sidebar, you should see your hard drive and its partitions. Right-click the Windows partition and select Format. Click OK and complete the format process. With these three options you'll be able to take advantage of either platform's offerings, be it Time Machine support or security options. In the end, you may end up using FAT32 for its simplicity, but don't say I didn't warn you about the risks.

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WD My Passport for Mac Review 2TB - USB 3 External Hard Drive

We delete comments that violate our policy , which we encourage you to read. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion. Don't show this again. Laptops The best ways to format an external drive for Windows and Mac Compare the different options for formatting an external hard drive to work with Windows and Mac. By Sharon Profis. You can, but not out of the box. If your HD gets into the wrong hands, that person will be able to access your data.

So, for example, if you want to store a 9GB movie, it will be impossible.

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  7. In general, FAT32 drives are more susceptible to disk errors. It's not a huge issue, but FAT32 is less efficient at storing files. Its large cluster sizes waste disk space, unlike the other HD storage formats.