AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule: USB storage device supported formats and protocols
You can connect USB-based storage devices to the following AirPort and Time Capsule wireless access points:
- AirPort Extreme 802.11n (1st Generation)
- AirPort Extreme 802.11n (2nd Generation)
- AirPort Extreme 802.11n (3rd Generation)
- AirPort Extreme 802.11n (4th Generation)
- Time Capsule 802.11n (1st Generation)
- Time Capsule 802.11n (2nd Generation)
- Time Capsule 802.11n (3rd Generation)
This article explains which formats and protocols are supported.
The AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule support USB storage devices that are formatted as Mac OS Extended (HFS-plus), FAT16, or FAT32. Formatting a storage device as Mac OS Extended with journaling is recommended, as it may provide some more resilience if the device is removed or powered down while in use.
Note: ExFAT and NTFS formats aren't supported.
The AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule allow for sharing storage devices based on the format used to initialize the storage device. For example, if HFS-plus formatting was used, AFP and SMB/CIFS protocols are used to share the device on the network. If a FAT format was used, only SMB/CIFS protocols are used.
The AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule work with most disks that are not software RAID volumes (no more than one volume per physical disk). If the disk is a self-contained RAID that presents itself to a computer as a single volume requiring no software support, then it may be supported.
Some USB storage devices draw power from the USB port on the AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule, while others have separate power supplies. To work with the AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule, devices must follow the USB 2.0 power specification; for more information, see http://www.usb.org/developers/docs/. If a device has an optional separate power supply, it should be used with that separate power supply when used with the AirPort Extreme (802.11n) or Time Capsule.
Note: Use AirPort Disk Utility to discover and mount AirPort Extreme- and Time Capsule-based volumes over the network in Mac OS X 10.4 or earlier. In Mac OS X 10.5 or later, the "SHARED" item in the sidebar will show the volumes if "Bonjour computers" is enabled in the Finder menu Preferences... > Sidebar > Shared.
How many USB 2.0 hard drives and printers can be connected?
The USB 2.0 specification states that you can use up to 127 USB devices. One of those devices is the USB port itself, so you could potentially add an additional 126 devices to the AirPort Extreme (802.11n) Base Station or Time Capsule. Generally, the limit depends on how many devices you want to actually use at one time, their storage capacity, and how they are formatted.