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SSD formatting

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I need some help if any of you experts have a moment. I am trying to format my WDPassport SSD to my Mac (big sur) and I dont know what the hell I'm doing LOL ugh. I tried googling and reading and I'm afraid I've just made a mess 😫 I cannot see the drive on my desktop, I cannot even make a folder on it to back up my photos


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Thanks for posting here. Before we begin, will this drive be used for Time Machine Backups or just regular backups? I really recommend having a separate and dedicated EHD for use with Time Machine. Also, will this EHD be used with other Mac Computers? 

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You almost got things working. Can you head into Disk Utilities and head to the Erase Tab? From there you should be able to erase and choose the following:


Please give your EHD a name. Call it WD My Passport 1TB or whatever. Since it's a SSD, select the APFS for the file system. Then click Erase.

Now! If you want to use this drive on another machine OR use this drive for Time Machine, we need to choose something else, and that's done under the Partition Tab. You can't switch from a drive that is set to APFS and convert it to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) which is the other Partition Type that's used on a Mac.

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Here are the instructions on how to Partition / Format a Drive for use on the Mac.


Part 1

The first thing I want you to do, if you haven't already, is turn on the feature that allows you to see HDs and other "Mounted Devices" on your Mac Desktop. 

  • Open the Finder. The easiest way is to click the Smiley Face on your DockBar:


Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 3.31.00 PM.png

  • Then head to the Finder Menu and select Preferences:

Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 3.32.35 PM.png

  • Once there put checks next to these items and change the bottom to "Macintosh HD" if you want:

Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 3.33.29 PM.png

  • From there, just click the Red Circle in the upper left corner to apply the changes.

After you make this change, things like the Macintosh HD, any External Drives, Memory Cards from Cameras that are in a Card Reader and even portable DVD Disks will all appear on the Mac Desktop. This makes accessing them a breeze and is one of the things that has always puzzled me on why this feature isn't turned on by default. For example:


Screen Shot 2020-11-01 at 11.32.41 AM.png

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Part 2

Now the fun begins! Let's get that new Hard Drive prepped for use on the Macintosh!!

  • Click your Applications Folder, then open Disk Utilities.
    • Head to  Applications Menu >> Utilities >> Disk Utilities.

Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 3.27.22 PM.png

  • This is where your Disk Utilities might look slightly different. Anyway, here is mine:

  • While in your Disk Utilities Module, please make note of any additional Hard Drives listed in the left column. Pay special attention to the Hard Drives listed under the "External" Section. For this process, it is much safer to only have one EHD Mounted / Listed!
  • Select your new HD that you want to change, make sure you select the correct one!!

  • Then click "Partition" up at the top and click the two arrows on the right where it says "Format." Select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) for Traditional / Spinning Hard Drives. External HDs that will be used for Time Machine Backups or ones that will be used on other Macs that could possible have older Operating Systems, should use Mac OS (Journaled). This Partition Type is more universal and is the most flexible. Choose APFS for Flash Based Media Drives, such as SSD or m.2 Drives.
  • Do NOT choose Case-sensitive in either case, the normal / simple one is perfectly fine:

  • Give the new External HD a obvious name:

  • The Format will either be Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or APFS, which is based on the situation that I talked about above.
    • Traditional / Spinning HDs or Time Machine Drives: Use Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
    • SSD / m.2 Drives: Use APFS.
  • Then click Apply. A Pop-Up Box will appear asking permission, click Partition or OK, or Apply.

  • Let Disk Utilities do its thing...

  • When completed, you should see "Operation successful" at the bottom. Click Done.

  • Now the new External Hard Drive should appear on your desktop. If you want to verify things, Right-Click and select "Get Info." You should see the name of the HD and the Partition Type being Mac OS Extended (Journaled):

  • Now you should be able to move a simple file to the new drive as a test and be able to read that file.


Edited April 22 by Brian

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Please keep in n mind that my default instructions were meant for Traditional Hard Drives, so you will see Mac OS Extended (Journaled) throughout the instructions. If you formatted things with the APFS Filesystem, that will appear in place of the Mac OS Extended (Journaled.)

I need to write new instructions soon. :) 

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