Toshiba has an excellent selection of external hard drives for Mac with genuinely fantastic features. From Toshiba Canvio Basics to Canvio Advance Plus, its drives boast a sleek design, superb capacity, advanced protection, and outstanding performance.

The only problem is that they mainly have a file system format to work with Windows PCs out of the box. If you want to use Toshiba drives with your Mac computer, you'll need to fiddle about a little and format them.

Learn how to format a Toshiba hard drive for Mac and start using it for all your data backup and storage needs.

Table of Content
    1. Determine the Best Format for Your Toshiba Hard Drive on Mac

Why Format a Toshiba Hard Drive for Mac

toshiba external hard drive specifications

In most instances, you'll have no choice but to format Toshiba Canvio for Mac. Depending on your specific external hard drive, it will most likely come with a format for Windows-based computers. Therefore, you'll need to reformat it if you want to use it on Mac.

Among the newer hard drives by Toshiba, for instance, only three come compatible with Mac out of the box—Toshiba Canvio Flex, Toshiba Canvio Gaming, and Toshiba Canvio Slim. Canvio Advance, Canvio Advance Plus, Canvio Ready, and Canvio Basics require reformatting before using them on your Mac.

Available Mac Format Options for Toshiba Hard Drives

Mac devices are compatible with several file system formats. However, they're not compatible with them all. If your backup and storage device doesn't use one of the available formats for Mac, your computer would simply be unable to recognize it.

The file system formats that you could use with Mac devices include:

  • HFS/HFS+ – compatible with macOS 10.12 and older versions;
  • APFS – compatible with macOS 10.13 and newer versions;
  • FAT32 – compatible with Windows and Mac for drives with a capacity lower than 32 GB;
  • exFAT – compatible with Windows and Mac storage devices with more than 32 GB of space.

Macs also partially support NTFS formats—as in, they can read NTFS files, but they cannot write them. If your Toshiba hard drive has the NTFS format, you might have issues with your Mac not recognizing it.

Determine the Best Format for Your Toshiba Hard Drive on Mac

Now you know, Macs work with HFS/HFS+, APFS, FAT32, and exFAT. What's the best format for your Toshiba hard drive to work on Mac?

Generally, if you only use macOS, it's best to use the HFS/HFS+ or APFS formats, depending on your system version. As the newest file system format exclusive to Apple, the APFS is much faster and offers superior performance.

However, exFAT is the format to choose if you want to use your Toshiba hard drive on both Mac and PC. When you format the Toshiba external hard drive for Mac using exFAT, you can seamlessly transfer files from one operating system to another without switching between hard drives.

While both macOS and Windows also support the FAT format, it limits your file size to only 4 GB, meaning you won't have as much flexibility.

How To Format a Toshiba Hard Drive for Mac

You can start reformatting the Toshiba hard drive for Mac if you've backed up all your data, selected a suitable file system format, and ensured a secure connection between your Mac and Toshiba. The entire process shouldn't take more than a few minutes:

  1. Connect the Toshiba external hard drive to your Mac.
  2. Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.
  3. Click the View button at the top and select Show All Devices.
    show toshiba external drive in disk utility
  4. Select the Toshiba drive under the External heading in the left sidebar.
  5. Select Erase.
    erase toshiba drive in mac disk utility
  6. Type the name of your device.
  7. Choose your preferred format and scheme.
    choose the format for toshiba hard drive
  8. Click Erase.

It will take a few minutes for your Toshiba Canvio to format for Mac, so just wait for the process to finish. After it's complete, you can use your Toshiba drive without issues.

How To Recover Lost Data From Accidentally Formatted Toshiba Hard Drive

You will lose all previously stored data once you format your Toshiba hard drive for Mac. Any photos, videos, files, and documents you may have on the HDD will be lost.

Getting them back with professional data recovery for Mac solutions like Wondershare Recoverit is possible, but only if you haven't written any new information on the drive after formatting.

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To recover data with Wondershare Recoverit, you'll need to connect the Toshiba drive to your Mac, install and launch the program, then follow these steps:

  1. Select your Toshiba external hard drive under External Devices in Hard Drives and Locations.
    mac foolder select scan location
  2. The program will start scanning for erased files in the Toshiba drive. Just wait for a few minutes.
    mac external device
  3. Preview and select the files you need and click the Recover button to save them to a save location.
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Free Download


Although many external drives come with a file system compatible with Mac computers out of the box, only some offer features as excellent as Toshiba drives. Fortunately, formatting your Toshiba drive for Mac is an easy process that will leave you with a reliable drive ready for use.

Amy Dennis
Amy Dennis May 14, 24
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