Seagate Expansion and Backup Plus pull apart – what’s the difference?

 Are there any differences?

They have the same hard disk inside but that doesn’t mean that there are no differences at all.

Take a look at the circuit boards in the drive case:


The top board is from the Seagate Expansion, the bottom board is from the Seagate Backup Plus.

The other differences you can read about on the box, so I won’t bore you with the details! Seagate backup plus is partitioned into two separate partitions, one comes with some backup software called Lyve which you probably don’t need. The Seagate backup also plus comes with a two year subscription to one drive which is an online cloud storage account which you probably don’t need either.


The Seagate Backup Plus and the Seagate expansion are exactly the same hard drive put into a different case.

Go for whichever is the cheapest.

Unless you live in the USA, in which case you may wish to weigh up the 1 year vs 3 year warranty.





13 responses to “Seagate Expansion and Backup Plus pull apart – what’s the difference?”

  1. Sammy

    Seagate states that the Newer model Expansion portable and Expansion desktop drives are compatible with Windows image backup.

    Windows Image Backup in Windows 7 will not support any Seagate Backup Plus drives, GoFlex drives that exceed 2.1TB (3TB and 4TB models), or older model Expansion Portable and Desktop drives (along with most other external drives that exceed 2.1TB in size).


    1. Those Seagate drives that you have mentioned all work on Macintosh computers. The 2 drives I have mentioned in this article (Expansion and Backup Plus) are exactly the same in every way. Thanks for the feedback. It’s something for Windows users to be aware of.

    2. dave

      That’s not really true, Seagate only means “support” in the most simple of terms meaning “will you not have to do anything more”.

      You can in fact use them, if you merely put a 2TB partition on there and format to 512K block size. It’s just the factory formatting that differs with their older models having 4K blocks.

  2. Mohsen Kheyrabadi

    Hello! Can you tell me what HDD is inside? does it is ST2000LM015? I want to upgrade my laptop HDD. Seagate external hard Drives are cheaper than 2.5″ HDDs like barracuda in amazon. if inside of a Seagate Expansion is a barracuda HDD, I simply can buy it and then i have a free Enclosure. what’s your opinion? Thanks!

    1. Yes this is a good option. The hard drive in the photo is the one from the external drive and if you can get it cheaper than an internal drive definitely go for it. It is exactly the same drive.

    2. Dave

      Don’t do it! There is such a massive difference in performance between a mechanical 2.5″ HDD and the MUCH faster SSD alternative, that I could never recommend putting a new mechanical HDD in a laptop. If the SSD capacity is below the requirements, add an SD card to supplement your storage space, or offload some to a USB external, anything besides continuing to run daily operations off a lowly mechanical HDD. It will feel like a brand new laptop in comparison, changing to SSD for OS & apps.

      1. Very good point – this article is quite old now – SSD is definitely the way to go.

  3. John Parkar

    I have also done the same mistake while getting the hard drives. I got confused between both of the versions of Seagate HDDs. But after buying I verified it through that both of them are the same with just different names and packaging.

  4. Dave

    You have overlooked something. The Expansion comes with only a 1.5A to 2.0A AC/DC adapter while the Backup Plus comes with a 3A adapter.

    The reason for the extra 1A+ is to support the two USB 3.0 ports on the Backup Plus, and those USB ports themselves are a reason a buyer might prefer the Backup Plus, but a side effect is that if you aren’t pulling much (if any) current from the USB ports, all else equal the larger PSU will provide cleaner power and have a longer lifespan.

    It probably won’t matter if your use is to plug it in, make a backup then power it off so it is usually powered off, but if you keep it running then over time that can add up. I often find that the wall wart style adapters for networking equipment, which aren’t much different, don’t last much more than 5 years. You might think you can’t count on the HDD to outlast that, and it might not if a bad PSU fries it, but the last wave of HDDs I replaced were 9+ years old. Certainly beyond their expected lifespan but I kept them going because they were raided so a loss of one didn’t necessarily effect things as I also had an offline backup of them.

    1. Good pickup. Thanks!

  5. coturnix

    Whiles physically seemingly identical, as indicated by the model numbers, they do have different firmware versions, suggesting that perhaps they may be optimized for different roles, perhaps as their product names suggest.

  6. Hi Wayne,
    I have both drives (Expansion 2TB – newer) and BackUp Plus (1TB – older) connected to my MacBook Pro 16
    I transferred a 3 GB files individually to each drive
    the Expansion took 4 mins to complete transfer
    the BackUp plus took 1 min to transfer, saving me time!!
    How come this is the case if they are both the same, and running ExFAT file system
    And thought on how we can speed up Expansion transfer/copy rate?

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