I know this seems like a basic question, but I’ve looked around online a bit and found different answers to this. I’m getting an external SSD for my 2018 Mac mini, and I’m using it to store music files and Logic projects and such. I want to make sure I get as much speed out of this drive as possible, so what would be the best way to format it? I currently use Mac OS Extended (Journaled) on my external HDD, but I’ve read around that using the APFS would be better for an external SSD. I’ll also be using a Time Machine backup drive to backup this external SSD, so I’m not sure if using the APFS system on the new SSD would interfere with the backup drive.

If anyone could help me with this I would really appreciate it.

1 Answer 1


Apple recommends using APFS for SSDs. You cannot use APFS with a Time Machine Backup Drive. If you are planning on using it for two things, storing files, and Time Machine, then I would recommend partitioning the SSD and then making the one for storing your music, etc. APFS and to use Time Machine, simply go into Time Machine Preferences and then select the partition meant for Time Machine. Time Machine will automatically format the partition as HFS (macOS Extended).

  • Thanks for helping to clear this up, I appreciate it. I’m not using this SSD as a backup for Time Machine, I’m using it solely for music purposes. However, I do plan on backing this SSD up to my dedicated Time Machine backup drive (1TB External HDD). Would it be possible to backup this SSD to my Time Machine backup drive, or would I run into issues because the two drives would be formatted differently? (SSD would be APFS, and the Backup Drive would be Mac OS Extended (Journaled)) I should have clarified that in my original question, that’s on me. May 20, 2020 at 21:47
  • That should not be an issue. In order to create a Time Machine Backup, I'm pretty sure that the drive with music on it needs to be an installation of macOS with Time Machine enabled but that wouldn't work because your existing macOS installation and your new installation would interfere.
    – Todd
    May 20, 2020 at 21:51
  • afaik, Time Machine will back up any drive formatted as anything other than NTFS, so long as it's GUID & not specifically excluded in Time Machine prefs.
    – Tetsujin
    May 21, 2020 at 9:46

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