Top positive review
41 people found this helpful
Physically great, Mac users need to do a little work to make it useful.
on 28 October 2017
For basic external storage, this is a good, even great, disk well recommended by The Wirecutter (a very good source of advice) and is the latest generation of a product live I already own and trust. Seagate have backup software for both Mac and PC. On Mac, you can use it as a host for the Time Machine functionality. There's even some cloud cleverness made available. I didn't buy this for any of that... but, before I get there...
ALL MAC USERS Despite claiming to be Mac friendly, this disk is formatted using the Windows filing system (NTFS). Macs can read this but not write to it. You MUST reformat it to be useful to you.
• Open an app 'Disk Utility' that is installed on your computer.
• In the left column, you will see "Seagate Backup Plus Drive". Right click it and 'Erase...'.
• In the dialogue window, change the name if you want to and use the 'Format:' drop down to select 'Mac OS Extended (Journaled)' then click erase. Ignore the 'Security Options...' because the disk came blank.
Now it's usable for backup applications, Time Machine etc.
Getting geeky now...
Everything that follows is for Mac users wanting a BOOTABLE backup. A bootable backup is one where you can take the backup disk and plug it into any recent Mac and boot from it as if you were running your own machine at the moment you did the backup. This might get you past a disk failure, theft or some other catastrophic problem.
I use a multi-layered approach to data preserving my data: cloud sync services (OneDrive / Dropbox / Creative Cloud etc) for data in real time & cross device sync; Time Machine for changes / versions available locally; and, finally, point in time bootable backups that might save massive rebuilding exercises and are a catchall safety net. I bought a pair of these disks for that last layer of defence - bootable backups - and use SuperDuper (but shifting to Carbon Copy Cloner) to create them.
Out of the box, the disks were partitioned using FDisk (Microsoft again) which enables use on Windows and Mac. This partition type will not boot on Macs and is incompatible with a plan to use bootable backups. Previous to macOS High Sierra (10.13), Mac's 'Disk Utility' allowed a partition map to be changed when erasing a disk. This is no longer available so you'll need to do some terminal-fu if you want to use it with either SuperDuper or CCC. I can't post a link to it (Amazon's rules) but there is a great guide on what to do if you search for "Disk Management From the Command-Line, Part 2".
Also, with High Sierra the new disk formatting system AFPS has arrived (except if you have an iMac with a Fusion Disk). This changes the rules on how data is stored (you can have more logical data than the drive has physical capacity for). Read the blogs at ShirtPocket (who make SuperDuper) and Bombich (who make CCC) (again, my first draft was refused for link gin directly). A few things I have learnt...
• SuperDuper cannot read APFS yet. CCC can appear to have down extensive testing.
• For maximum compatibility, it's probably better not to format the external disk to APFS. High Sierra writes a firmware change to read APFS. If your disk is APFS and you try to use it on a Mac that hasn't moved to High Sierra, it won't boot.
On that last point, I'm testing if a High Sierra iMac which cannot itself use APFS can boot an APFS disk. I will update the review.