if hfs+ is greyed out in gparted

there is hfs+ compatibility software missing

hint: sudo should be up and running, or gparted won’t be able to open a display (as root) and won’t be able to create partitions (as non root)

hostnamectl; # tested on
  Operating System: Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster)
            Kernel: Linux 4.19.0-13-amd64
      Architecture: x86-64

su - root; # become root
apt update;
apt install hfsplus hfsutils hfsprogs

# checkout what shall be formatted
alias loop_df='while true; do (clear; echo '\''=========== looped harddisk info '\''; datum; dmesg|head -n15; echo '\''=========== where is what'\''; harddisks; echo '\''=========== harddisk usage'\''; df -h;) ; sleep 1 ; done'
loop_df

Ctrl+D # log out root, become default non-root user


# then relaunch gparted with sudo
sudo gparted

unmount the harddisk one wants to reformat

create new partition table

here are the detailed steps gparted is doing to create hfs+ partition:

# untested but should work
# non gui wayfdisk /dev/sdX; # delete all existing partitions, create new partition
mkfs.hfsplus -v 'LABEL_OF_PATITION' /dev/sdX1

now one is good to unplug the device and plug in to macbook in order to use it as a TimeMachine backup device (very nice OS default way of doing Backups under OSX… backups over wifi sound interesting but there seem to be two problems:

  1. some users report problems with broken backups, not reliable because all wireless connections are prone to interruptions and errors
  2. bandwidth too low (other wifi users and devices might be throttled down because mac is using 100% of wifi bandwidth)
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