I need to setup a big hard disk (4TB) so that I'll be able to use it in both macOS and in a Raspberry Pi.

Up to now all my attempts failed - at the moment I have formatted it so that it uses GPT, type "linux filesystem", and all the 4TB are recognized - linux recognizes it but not the Mac

The solution proposed in Trying to format USB (using Linux/fdisk) so it shows up on my Mac does not work since it suggests the MSDOS type, which doesn't work for big disks.

Is there a recommended way to solve this?

  • The drive size limit for FAT32 is 16TB. Make sure when you format you're specifying FAT32 and not FAT16.
    – Allan
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 15:16

1 Answer 1


For the partition table, you'll want to use the "GUID Partition Table" (called GUID Partition Map in macOS Disk Utility, and GPT on Linux/Raspberry Pi). The MBR partition table you've have been suggested indeed does not work for partitions larger than 2 TB.

For the file system itself, you'll want to use ExFAT. It is a relatively simple file system understood by both macOS and Linux/Raspberry Pi without many of the size limitations of earlier MS-DOS style filesystems such as FAT16 and FAT32.

  • FAT32 supports drives up to 16TB in size, so what limitation would that be?
    – Allan
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 16:14
  • 1
    @Allan The FAT32 limitation that people typically run into is that the file size is maximum 4 GB.
    – jksoegaard
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 16:22
  • But that's not the question. The OP is under the impression that he cannot set up a 4TB disk and have it recognized using MSDOS file system.
    – Allan
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 16:36
  • 1
    @Allan I didn’t say it was the question. He asked for the recommended way to set it up - this is the setup that I and many others recommend. Why recommend an older, less flexible file system when a newer alternative is available and fully supported on both the systems he uses? The reason he could not set it up by following the guide is because MBR is limited to 2 TB, I explained that in my answer.
    – jksoegaard
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 17:03

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