External drives are portable hard drives which can be used for storing data which you want to keep on hand during your travels. Most of the external drives especially the WD ones available in the market are either formatted in NTFS or HFS+ format. The NTFS format is for Windows while HFS+ is for Macs. However, the new Macs are shipped with the latest Mac OS version, macOS High Sierra which supports the Apple File System or APFS. If your WD external drive isn’t in this new format, you won’t be able to use it if your Mac has been updated to macOS High Sierra. In such cases, you need to simply convert your WD external drive to APFS format.
How to Convert External Drive to APFS format
If you want to format your external drive from its existing file format to the new Apple file format, APFS or Apple File System then you should follow these simple steps.
On the macOS 10.13 High Sierra, navigate to the disk utility and open it.
Locate the USB port of your computer and then connect your WD external drive into it.
In the Disk Utility window, find the option Show All Devices and click it.
In the window pane located on the left, find the drive volume and select it after which click on the option labeled Partition.
Check that the scheme listed under Device Information has been set to GUID Partition Map. Then pick Mac OS Extended Journaled from the drop down menu for the Format under the Partition Information.
After taking the required steps, hit the Apply button.
Hit the button labeled Partition
Select the partition of the external drive either labeled No Name or My Passport and then right-click on it.
In the drop-down menu that appears, click the option labeled Convert to APFS.
It will take a little time for the conversion process to complete, so be patient. You will see a tick-mark appear once the conversion has been successfully completed. When this tick-mark appears, click the ‘Done’ button.
To ensure that the file format of the drive has been converted, go to desktop and right-click on the My Passport drive.
In the drop-down menu that appears, click on the option labeled Get Info.
Check that the Format option under general has been changed to APFS.
Video Tutorial on How to Format an External Hard Drive
What is APFS?
APFS is the short form of Apple File System. It was introduced by Apple in the year 2006 and is now the default file system of the latest Mac operating system, macOS High Sierra. This new file system replaces the previous file system, Mac OS Extended or HFS+, which was used by all the Mac OS versions which came before it. It offers a number of advantages over its predecessors and is automatically applied to your hard drive upon the installation of macOS High Sierra. APFS has been optimized for SSDs and flash drives but can be used for external and hybrid drives as well. However, it is best suited for flash and solid state drives.
One thing to keep in mind about APFS is that it only works on macOS High Sierra. So, if you don’t have this Mac OS installed on your Mac, you won’t be able to open any drives using the APFS format.
Advantages of Converting to APFS
APFS offers a ton of benefits which you don’t find in HFS+. Moreover, it is also the recommended file system for SSDs and flash drives. The following are some of the advantages that you can avail by converting to APFS.
Fast Duplication and Copying: APFS is a lot faster than HFS+. It can copy and duplicate files and folders within seconds. The process is almost instantaneous and will be over in the blink of an eye. You won’t have to wait for an eternity to see the files being copied one Megabyte at a time. The reason why APFS is able to do that is because it makes use of metadata. This allows it to complete the copying and cloning process much more quickly than HFS+ ever could.
Reliability: Aside from fast performance, APFS is also the most reliable file system around. Apple has worked on the reliability of this file system and has ensured that it does not crash as much as HFS+ used to do. This means that you would have to face less instances of file corruption than before if your drive is using the APFS format.
Efficient Partition Management: APFS does a great job of managing the partitions that you have created on your drive. It stores the information on the partitions in such a manner that files don’t get fragmented and need to be pieced together later. This efficient use of the available drive space ensures that you don’t run out of storage space anytime soon.
Encryption: Privacy is a very big issue for people and if you have some sensitive data on a file or in a folder then you would definitely want to keep it private. With APFS, you get the chance to encrypt individual files and folders on your drive in addition to encrypting the entire hard drive. This offers you an added layer of security which HFS+ couldn’t provide.
If you have bought a new WD external drive which isn’t formatted in the APFS format then you would have difficulty in opening it on a Mac running macOS High Sierra. Moreover, you won’t be able to enjoy the numerous benefits that this new file format has to offer you. In order to make sure that your WD external drive takes advantage of the APFS format, you need to convert it from HFS+ to APFS. You need to follow a simple set of procedures to ensure that your WD external drive is converted to the APFS format. These steps are easier to follow and the whole process wouldn’t take much time to complete.