Mac drive format case sensitive

There are a lot of upsides here. Reverse compatibility.

Disk Utility for macOS Sierra: Erase a volume using Disk Utility

To this day, it remains the default file system for mechanical and hybrid hard drives, both while installing macOS and while formatting external drives. ExFat should basically only be used on drives that need to work with both Windows and macOS computers.


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The format dates back to , and was made by Microsoft to provide some of the cross-platform compatibility of the older FAT32 format without the file and partition size limitations. But formatting a drive with ExFAT offers one huge advantage: Sure, you could read a Mac formatted drive on Windows or read a Windows formatted drive on a Mac , but both solutions either cost money or are unstable. So despite the disadvantages, ExFAT is your best option for cross-platform hard drives.

To be clear, you can use capital letters in file names either way. Case Sensitivity mostly determines whether the file system sees capital letters as different.

Pick the right file system for your Mac’s internal or external storage

The file system sees the file names as identical, even if they look different to you. Macs used case sensitivity at the file system by default in the 90s, but changed when Mac OS X launched. Enabling case sensitivity could break some Mac apps, but anyone with a file system that dates back to the s could potentially lose files without case sensitivity enabled. The main downside is that forgetting the encryption key means losing access to your files.

Should You Format Your Mac Hard Drive To Be Case Sensitive Or Not Case Sensitive?

Do not encrypt a drive unless you can remember the key, or unless you have somewhere secure to store it. The other potential downside to encryption is performance.

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