Disclaimer: I am a 100% iOS (yes, Catalina) girl who also knows her way around Windows, and hence the root of all my problems.
Any Mac user will tell you that the iCloud is the next best thing to using a Mac and all the paraphernalia that comes with it.
This is a good thing.
This is also a nightmare.
How so? Well, unlike all things Windows or Linux, there are limited things that are simply plug-and-play with an iOS system, something non-iOS-users often fail to see. Not all graphic tablets, for example, are compatible with a Mac, and even less so with the latest iOS Catalina, much to the chagrin of the graphic designers in my life, especially my daughter.
Then there is my arch nightmare, the external hard drive.
I spent most of my computer life on Windows (hate to admit it, I did indeed start out with DOS), so I was spoiled with the plug and play features of the external hard drives. With the Mac, I have been a bit careless and backed up most of my files on the iCloud, for the sake of accessibility. That is all over now and security is top priority – not to mention that I desperately need to off-load files from my Macbook. So began the turbulent adventure of searching for a compatible external drive.
After a long search, I finally settled for the LaCie Rugged Pro, a funky silver and orange 4TB klonker that can basically fly a space shuttle. Kidding aside, I made the basic mistake of simply plugging it in and expecting things to happen in a snap. Ha! I spent the next five hours trying to get the blasted Macbook to read the device, terrorized the support service, until I finally stumbled on a mac support website in the UK that took me step by step through the dense forest of formatting an external hard drive for Catalina. (NB: if you haven´t upgraded to Catalina yet, you will encounter these issues with Mojave onwards).
Many things make perfect sense now, and my little orange space shuttle control is blinking away happily backing up an inordinate volume. Lesson learned: although the commercial external HDs compatible for Windows and Mac are indeed out there, the default setting is for Windows. Nothing , absolutely nothing formatted for Windows will run / be read / be recognized / be deemed worthy of existence by iOS.
Call me Froggy Baggins if you wish, but one does not just walk into iOS with any old external hard drive! The Mordors of the Mac world will take you through a rigorous mounting and partitioning before you can let your Precious Time Machine do its magic.