AMITIAE - Wednesday 13 January 2016

2 Terabyte Seagate Wireless Plus disk (Part 2): Not Exactly Plug and Play

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


Apple's iOS devices do not allow users to access data on disks using the Lightning connector. Using WiFi to access content stored on a disk is a solution. I have been trying to work with a Seagate Wireless Plus disk. I was encouraged by a number of positive reviews I had read.

What a dismal experience I had with this. At one stage I would have been glad if someone would have taken it off my hands for half what I paid. It seems to illustrate a difficulty sometimes when PC solutions are adapted for OS X. Flash is a good illustration. It is easy enough to use HTML 5, but some sites (like the BBC) still insist on this for desktop computers, even though they provide alternatives for iOS devices.

Segate Wireless Plus

The Quick Start guide for the disk was almost useless. Users are told to access the online "Getting Started" guide. I followed the instructions and set it up using the Mac-flavoured installer. A panel appeared asking me to register the device, but when I clicked on that, it told me I was not online. A check with a browser showed that to be wrong.

I found a link on the Seagate site, but had to create an account first. I don't want to keep creating accounts for everything I buy. No, no and no. I did, but checked boxes for no phone calls and no email. An email arrived immediately for verification and I was allowed to register, but there were several prying questions that I gave non-commital or vague answers to. A further email arrived thanking me.

Although information implied that the Paragon NTFS software needed to write data to the disk was included, I was unable to find it. Perhaps that had been removed when I pressed the "Mac-only" install.

Another example of the confusion was a link I followed to "Media Sync Software for MacOS". The file I was required to download was named "Seagate_Media.exe". Normally if I see a file with the .EXE extension that has arrived on the Mac, I am looking at malware. Macs cannot run these (except when using emulation software).

System Preferences - NTFS

I downloaded the NTFS software and checked the manual to see if it went on the Mac or the disk. As an item is added to System Preferences, I guessed it was the Mac. What I did not see - there was no warning when I began the install process - was that I needed to restart the computer after this was done.

The disk was not shown in the NTFS Preferences panel. When I removed then reconnected the disk, it was not visible at all on the desktop. I removed it, powered off, then re-connected. The disk was then visible on the desktop, but was still not shown in the NTFS panel. I was able to copy some large files to the disk, however. Permissions show I can read and write, so this does now work. The Paragon software manual shows screenshots from a version of OS X that is a few years old, so is in need of an update.

System Preferences - NTFS

I tried the WiFi expecting (from information in the online guide) that a panel would appear asking me to change the password for the connection. Nothing happened. I felt uneasy that my computer was connected to an open network, so looked at the disk quickly before disconnecting. The disk did not appear on the desktop, but I was able to see it as a network disk in the Finder sidebar and access it that way. This means I am able to copy files to the disk instead of just via the USB connection.

Back on iOS, the Seagate WiFi was seen by all the devices I tried. I accessed the SeagateMedia app via the iPad Pro (biggest screen and the keyboard - that was all) and in settings created a password. This must have at least 8 characters, but can only be alpha-numeric. I chose random characters. However, the device failed to access my normal WiFi network via its pass-through facility.

Each time I entered the password - either by copying or diligently typing in, the connection failed. The app was available on all iOS devices. Finally, the iPhone accepted the password, then all devices had pass-through WiFi and I was able to access the Internet.

OS X Safari display
Contents of Disk Displayed in Safari on the Mac

When connected via the Seagate WiFi only on the Mac, by entering in the browser, I can view content on the disk in the same way as on iOS devices

iOS SegateMedia Browser
Contents of Disk in SeagateMedia App on iPad Pro (RAW images unavailable

The iOS app displayed content although thumbnails are blurred. Display of photos and video is sharp. I exported one folder from Aperture with RAW files. These will not display (fair enough): JPG images were fine as are PNG files. The thumbnails for TIFF files did not display but the images loaded, albeit slowly. There are many "sample" files which I will clear out and then organise photos and videos.

iOS SegateMedia Browser
Photo Contents of Disk in SeagateMedia App on iPad Pro

I have now made this WiFi disk work, but on my own. The Seagate installation and registration processes, along with the Paragon software left me with a fairly low level of confidence regarding what else I might find. As I noted in Part 1, my previous experience with Seagate products was good.

I wish I had not bought this.

See Also:

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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