How to Partition a Drive in OS X El Capitan Using Disk Utility

Separate your drive into individual sections

What to Know

  • Applications > Disk Utility > select drive > Partition > plus (+) icon > in Partition field, add a name.
  • Next, go to Format and choose a file system. Increase or decrease size > Apply > Done.

This article explains how to partition a drive using Disk Utility on a Mac running OS X El Capitan. The process is similar in macOS Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, and Sierra.

How to Partition a Drive in OS X El Capitan

Partitioning a drive with Disk Utility divides it into individual sections, each of which acts as a separate volume. It's possible to partition most types of storage devices, including SSDs, hard drives, and USB flash drives.

This example adds one partition to a hard drive. This same process can create any number of partitions.

Back up your data before creating new partitions on your device.

  1. From the Applications folder, launch Disk Utility. Or, type Disk Utility into Spotlight Search.

  2. Select the drive you want to partition from the sidebar on the left. 

    Internal storage devices appear below the Internal section in the sidebar. External devices appear below the External section in the sidebar. You can only partition the drive, not any of the associated volumes.

    Selecting disk to partition
  3. The selected drive will appear in the right pane with details about it, such as location, how it's connected, and the partition map in use.

    Screenshot of Disk Utility in El Capitan
  4. Select Partition. You'll see a pie chart of how the drive is currently divided.

    Disk Utility > Partition
  5. To add another volume, click the plus (+) icon just below the pie chart.

    Adding a volume
  6. In the Partition field, type a name for the volume.

    Naming the partition
  7. Select the Format dropdown menu, then choose a file system format.

    Partition format

    OS X Extended (Journaled) is usually the default. It's the most commonly used file system on El Capitan Macs.

  8. Enter the size or drag the resize control to increase or decrease the size of the volume.

    Setting the partition size
  9. Select Apply.

    Screenshot of adding a partition with Disk Utility in El Capitan
  10. When you see Operation Successful, select Done.

    Screenshot of creating a partition with Disk Utility in El Capitan
  11. You'll see your new partition listed in your Disk Utility sidebar.

    Screenshot of adding partition with Disk Utility in El Capitan
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