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If your Mac drive is formatted with APFS (Apple File System), you won’t be able to read Mac hard drive on Windows because there are no free apps designed for it. But you have many choices of paid applications to access & edit Mac drive files on Windows; MacDrive is a popular one designed by Mediafour.
Creating a separate partition or volume on your Mac can be useful for different tasks as this allows you to designate a part of your hard-drive where you can install new software without allowing it to affect the rest of your system. In most cases, creating disk partitions and volumes is used by early adopters and beta testers of new macOS versions who want to install the beta version of the OS without removing the current stable version.
- Free Edition 12.5. Manage basic disks & partitions in simple steps. Create/resize/format partition, Convert FAT to NTFS on Windows 10/8/7.
- Free Disk Partition Tool For Mac Partition For Mac MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition 8 adds disk conversion and copying to what was already one of our favorite disk partitioning tools, free or not.
- Partition Manager. Community Edition is available completely free for the non-commercial purpose only. For commercial use, check out Paragon Hard Disk Manager. Organize your hard drive and gain additional space in your existing partitions.
This is the recommended way of trying out beta macOS versions as it will keep them separate from the rest of your system and if there are any problems with them, this won’t affect the partition/volume where the current stable version of the OS is installed. This way of testing macOS beta versions also makes it easier to uninstall them afterward, once you decide you have tested enough.
Difference between a partition and a volume
Partitions and volumes are very similar and can be used for the same thing but there are some key differences that one must consider before deciding which of the two they are going to make.
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What is a partition?
Creating a new disk partition on your Mac practically splits your hard-drive into two separate parts (partitions) that could have different macOS versions or even different OS types (for example macOS and Windows) installed on them. The amount of storage available on these partitions is predetermined by the user when they are partitioning the hard-drive and cannot be changed unless a new partitioning is performed.
Once you partition your hard disk, the overall storage space on your Mac will be separated between the new partitions according to how much storage you have assigned to each partition. If you are intending to create a separate partition for the purposes of installing a macOS beta version or the Windows OS on it, make sure that you assign to it enough free storage space. It is recommended that you assign at least 50 GB of storage to the new partition.
If your Mac has an HFS+ file system (Macs manufactured before macOS Catalina), it is advisable to create a new partition if you want to test macOS beta versions.
What is a volume?
A volume is also a designated data container within your hard-drive, but it is stored within the same partition instead of being a new one. You can still install a different macOS version on it and this will not affect/replace the current stable macOS version that you are using. The advantage here is that you won’t have to worry about assigning enough HDD space to the volume like it is when you’re creating a new partition because the volume would expand the storage space that it uses from the current partition if need be, making it a more flexible option.
For example, if you install macOS Big Sur beta on one of your volumes, that volume would expand to accommodate the new macOS version, leading to a redistribution of the storage space within the partition. Of course, you still need to have the needed free storage space on your Mac as a whole to contain the new macOS version.
For Macs with APFS file system, Apple recommends creating a new volume within your current partition when attempting to install a separate macOS version in addition to your current one.
Always back up!
Every time you are about to make any significant changes in your system, it is best if you back up the data on your Mac to make sure that nothing gets lost in the process. Even though creating a new partition/volume is a safe process, mistakes can always happen, so it’s best to be prepared. There are different ways you could create a backup of your Mac and one of the easiest one is to use Time Machine. You can learn how to back up your Mac using Time Machine on this page (LINK).
How to create a partition on Mac
- Go to Finder from the Menu Bar at the top and select Applications on the right.
- Open the Utilities folder and start the Disk Utility app.
- Select your current hard-drive from the Disk Utility (it should be the first one from the list and would usually be named Macintosh HD or Fusion).
- Select the Partition tab and click on the Partition button.
- Select the Plus button to add a new partition.
- Use the slider to change the size of the partitions so that the one where you want to install another OS or macOS version has enough space for the installation.
- Give a name to the new partition and choose a system format type. If your current macOS version is 10.13 or higher, it is recommended that you go with APFS. If your current macOS version is 10.12 or older, it is recommended to pick Mac OS Extended.
- Select the Apple button and wait patiently for the process to complete without interrupting it.
How to create an APFS volume on Mac
- Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities and open the Disk Utility app.
- Select your current APFS drive from the sidebar (it should be named Macintosh HD by default if it hasn’t been changed).
- Type a name for the volume and pick an APFS format. It is recommended that you go with APFS.
- If you want, you can set size limits for the new volume so that it can’t go below or above certain size parameters. This can be useful if you want to make sure that the volume will never exceed a certain amount of storage space that it can use. To set size limits, click on Size Options.
- Next, enter a Reserve Size value – this will be the minimum storage space that will be available for this volume at all times.
- Enter a Quota Size value to set the maximum amount of disk space that can be used by this volume at any time. Make sure that this value is at least 40-50 GB to ensure that you can install the beta macOS version that you want to test (if this is the reason you are creating the volume).
- Finally, click on OK and then on Add to create the new volume with the parameters you’ve chosen.
How to switch between partitions/volumes
After you create a new partition/volume and install a different version of the macOS on it or an entirely different OS, you can switch between the different partitions/volumes on your Mac and use the different operating systems or macOS versions that are on your Mac.
- Go to the Apple menu (top-left side of the screen) and select the System preferences option.
- Open Startup Disk and then select the Padlock icon in the bottom-left part of the window.
- You will be asked to provide your admin password so do that and select OK.
- Select the OS you want to use after the restart and click on the Restart button.
After the restart, your Mac will boot with the OS/macOS version you have chosen from the Startup Disk window. If you want to test a macOS beta version, this is the one you must pick for the restart.
Installing macOS beta version
If you are interested in trying out a macOS version that is still in its beta state, you could do that so long as you have a developer Apple ID account. If you wish to learn more about how you can test beta macOS versions, visit this page and read the instructions provided there.
Are you looking for a reliable format tool that can format and change the file system of your USB flash drive or external USB drive to make it detectable on Mac computers?
Follow through the below guide, you'll learn how to set a suitable file system for your USB flash drive and make it detectable on Mac:
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- #1. Pick The Best USB Format Tool for Mac
- #2. Set a Suitable File System for USB or External USB Drive on Mac
- #3. Format USB Drive for Mac on Mac/Windows Computers
This guide also works to format your external hard drive, SD card, hard drive, etc., devices to recognized on Mac computers.
- Note that formatting USB will remove all saved data on the device. Make sure that you copy and back up all valuable USB files to another secure location before you format the USB.
#1. Pick The Best USB Format Tool for Mac - 3 Top Tools
The first thing that comes up in your mind could be which tool that you can use to format the USB flash drive or external USB drive, right?
Here, in this part, we've collected 3 top recommended USB format tools that can help you fully format and reset the file system of your device to be usable on Mac:
|USB Format Tool for Mac||Pros||Format Process|
|Disk Utility for Mac|
|Terminal Command for Mac|
|Format Software for Windows|
So how to select a suitable tool to format your USB flash drive or external hard drive for Mac? For a quick guide, read the tips here:
- 1. To format a USB flash drive on Mac, Disk Utility is better a better choice. The terminal is far more complex for beginners.
- 2. To prepare a USB flash drive ready for Mac on a Windows computer, you can try the third-party format software.
After picking the right USB format tool, you can now move to the next guide and decide which format that you should set for the USB flash drive or external hard drive.
#2. Set a Suitable File System for USB or External USB Drive on Mac
Note that Windows uses NTFS but Mac can't write files to volumes with NTFS format. Mac computer can only read NTFS devices.
Here is a list of macOS supported file systems：
- Apple File System - APFS: Used by macOS 10.13 or later.
- Mac OS Extended: Used by macOS 10.12 or earlier.
- FAT32 and ExFAT: Compatible with both Windows and macOS.
Usually, both APFS and Mac OS Extended file systems are mostly used on Mac hard drives, while the FAT/FAT32 and exFAT are common formats for external storage devices.
So how to set a suitable format for your USB flash drive or external USB drive? Here are our suggestions:
- If the USB drive is less than 64GB, set it as FAT32. If it's larger than 64GB, set its file system as exFAT.
- If you tend to use it as a Time Machine backup disk, format it as Mac OS Extended Journaled.
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#3. Format USB Drive for Mac on Mac/Windows Computers
So how do I format a USB stick on a Mac computer? Here, we'll show you how to format your USB flash drive or external hard drive for Mac usage.
- If you want to directly format the USB on your Mac computer, follow Method 1 and Method 2.
- If you want to format USB on your Windows computer and make it usable on Mac, try Method 3.
Method 1. Format USB or External Hard Drive for Mac using Mac Disk utility
Disk Utility offers users similar features in the disk management tool, such as to create, delete, resize, merge and format partitions. You can try the following steps to format USB or external hard drive for Mac with Disk Utility on Mac:
Step 1. Connect the USB or external hard drive to your Mac computer.
Step 2. On the Apple menu, click 'Go' and select 'Applications'.
Step 3. Double-click 'Utilities' in the Applications window.
Step 4. Double-click to open Disk Utility in the Utilities window to open it.
Step 5. Select your USB or external drive, click 'Erase', then click the Format column and select a format for your USB.
For example, Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or MS-DOS (FAT).
Step 6. Reset the drive name and click 'Erase' to confirm the operation on the next pop-up window.
Wait for the process to complete and then you'll get a new Mac compatible file system on your external hard drive or USB, which will make your device detectable and workable on Mac.
Method 2. Format USB Drive for Mac using Terminal Command
Terminal command lines work the same as Disk Utility, however, it's more complex for beginners. If you prefer to use this method, make sure that you follow the steps below carefully:
Step 1. Connect the USB flash drive or external hard drive to your Mac computer.
Step 2. Press cmd + space to run Spotlight, type: terminal, and hit Enter.
Step 3. Type: diskutil list and find out which disk is your USB drive.
Step 4. Type:sudo diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 MBRFormat /dev/disk2 and press Return.
- sudo gives you user right.
- Diskutil calls disk utility program.
- eraseDisk commands to format.
- FAT32 is the file system. (You can also replace it with another file system.)
- MBRFormat tells disk utility to format with a Master Boot Record.
- /dev/disk2 is the location of the USB drive.
Step 5. Wait for the process to complete and then close Terminal.
After this, you can use your USB on Mac in a detectable and readable format now.
Method 3. Format USB or External Hard Drive for Mac on a Windows PC
If you need a simpler format tool to format USB or external hard drive to FAT32 on a Windows computer so to make it work on Mac, you can apply a third-party format tool for help.
EaseUS partition software is a popular disk management tool that is available for resolve all types of partition management jobs such as format disk partition, extend system partition, settle low disk space problems.
It allows you to format a USB or external hard drive on your Windows PC in only 4 simple steps:
- Right-click the external drive or USB you intend to format and choose 'Format'.
- Set the Partition label, File system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3/EXT4), and Cluster size, then click 'OK'.
- Click 'OK' to continue.
- Click the 'Execute Operation' button and click 'Apply' to format the hard drive partition.
After this, you can connect the formatted external hard drive or USB drive to your Mac computer and use it to save data by then.
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Hard Drive Partition Software
Note that if you want to transfer a USB flash drive from NTFS to FAT32 without formatting it as you have saved some important data on it, EaseUS Partition Master can help.
Pick a Right USB Format Tool and Format Your USB Drive for Mac Now
Partition Tool Free For Mac Catalina
On this page, we presented 3 reliable USB format tools for you to format a USB flash drive or external hard drive on Mac or Windows computers, making the storage device usable on Mac.
For Mac beginners, Disk Utility is good for you to try. As for Windows users who want to format a USB drive for Mac, EaseUS partition manager software - Partition Master worths your trust.
Partition Software For Mac
After picking the right tool, you can just revert to the right tutorial, take action to format your drive usable for Mac computer now.