Apple - What is the benefit of purchasing a Mac formatted External Hard Drive?

It's probably no different hardware-wise, just already formatted for the Mac. There's a whole pile of people who still think Macs need special everything, so the companies take advantage of that to fleece them out of an extra £20.

In general, you don't need special Mac-only hardware stuff anymore. Hard drives, RAM, peripherals, etc. are all fairly generally universally compatible; even the stuff that's generally seen as "Mac" (i.e., FireWire and now Thunderbolt) is Windows- and Linux-compatible and will generally work fine.

EDIT: I guess I can think of one good reason to buy a pre-formatted "Mac" drive: if the user is not someone who is comfortable formatting disks. On the other hand, Disk Utility is sufficiently straightforward I've walked my parents through formatting drives a couple of times over the phone, so I wouldn't waste the money.

There is no benefit to purchasing a Macintosh formatted drive because it is trivial to reformat the drive yourself using Disk Utility.

  • Open Disk Utility.

  • Select your new disk from the panel on the left. Select the disk, not the partition which appears below it.

  • Click on the Partition tab on the right.

  • Important if you plan to use this as a bootable drive, select Options… (under the Partition Layout section) and choose a GUID partition map (assuming you're using Intel based Macs.)

  • Select the Format which is Mac OS Extended (Journaled) unless you know the specific reason why you're using something else. I would also leave the drive as a single partition unless you have a clear idea about why you're not doing so.

  • Click on Apply.

image if Disk Utility

None to any user who knows how to format it with Disk Utility. Its just a marketing method to justify a slightly higher cost. Now if you plan to plug it into a Airport Extreme as a external hard drive and don't have a Mac in the house to format it, then it has value.