Mac How To Format A Usb Drive

Summary :

  1. Mac How To Format A Usb Drive On A Mac
  2. Mac How To Format A Usb Drive To Fat32
  3. Best Format For Usb Drive
  4. Format A Usb Device

In many situations, you need to format a USB to a Mac-supported format to make it workable on your Mac computer. Which is the best format for a USB on Mac and how to format a USB on Mac? In this post, MiniTool Software will show you the information you want to know.

How to format a USB drive on Mac MacPaw. 9 hours ago Macpaw.com Visit Site. To format a USB drive in FAT32 or exFAT: 1. Plug the USB drive into your Mac. Go to ApplicationsUtilities and launch Disk Utility. Click on the USB drive in the sidebar in Disk Utility. Click Erase in the Disk Utility toolbar. You don’t need to do anything special with Disk Utility–just plug in your USB drive and open the Finder. Right-click or Control-click the drive’s icon in the Finder’s sidebar (or on your desktop) and select “Get Info.”. You’ll see the drive’s file system displayed to the right of “Format” under the General heading.

Quick Navigation :

When Do You Need to Format a USB Drive on Mac?

When you open the “Disk Utility,” the tool will look like below: Select the preferred USB Drive from the menu on the left side of the screen. Click on “ Erase ” on the top toolbar. You‘ll be prompted to select a name for your drive and the desired format. While using USB for data transferring or storage, problems about USB flash drive also increase. Formatting USB flash drive is one of the top issues. Here is a list of reasons why do you and other USB users need to format the flash drive: 1. Invalid or unrecognized file system: USB becomes RAW, USB is unrecognized by PC. Step 1: Connect the USB drive or external drive to Mac and launch the Disk Utility from Applications. Step 2: From the left side panel, pick the volume or the drive that you want to format and switch to the Erase tab. Step 3: As you click on the Erase button, you will see several fields in the section.

Formatting a USB drive on your Mac computer is a basic and simple operation. In many situations, you need to format a USB drive on Mac to meet your requirements:

  • When you get a new USB device/thumb drive/flash drive/pen drive and want to use it on your Mac computer, you need to make sure that the file system of the USB device is supported on your Mac. If not, you need to format it to a supported format in advance.
  • If you want to use a USB drive that is previously used on a Windows computer on a Mac, you may need to first format the USB to a Mac-supported file system.
  • If the USB drive is inaccessible or damaged due to some reason, you need to format it to its normal state.
  • If you want to use a USB drive/thumb drive/flash drive/pen drive on both Windows and Mac, you need to format it to a file system that is compatible with both Windows and Mac.

Of course, there are other situations in which you need to get a USB drive formatted. For example, if you want to delete all files in the USB drive, you can directly format the drive. We will not list all the situations in this part.

Which Is the Best Format for a USB on Mac?

No matter which situation you are facing, you need to format your USB drive to a suitable file system. Well then, which file systems do Mac support? Which is the best format for a USB drive on Mac? If you want to use the USB drive on both Windows and Mac, which file system should you use?

Let’s talk about these questions one by one.

Which File Systems do Mac Support?

Disk Utility is a Mac snap-in hard disk management tool. The file systems supported by Disk Utility are the formats supported on Mac.

Disk Utility supports the following file system formats:

Drive
  • Apple File System (APFS): the file system that is available on macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) or later.
  • Mac OS Extended (HFS+): the file system that is available on macOS 10.12 (Sierra) or earlier.
  • MS-DOS (FAT) and exFAT: the file systems that are compatible with both Windows and Mac

Which Is the Best File System for USB on Mac?

If you want to know which the best file system is for USB on your Mac computer, you need to know the best applicable scenarios for these file systems.

Let’s go:

Apple File System (APFS)

Apple File System (APFS) is the default file system for a Mac computer that is running macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) or later. This format features strong encryption, space sharing, snapshots, fast directory sizing, and improved file system fundamentals.

APFS is optimized for the flash or SSD storage used in recent Mac computers. But you can also use it on older systems with traditional hard disk drives (HDD) and external, direct-attached storage. Bothe bootable volume and data volume can be formatted as APFS on macOS 10.13 or later.

APFS has four formats in Disk Utility:

  • APFS
  • APFS (Encrypted).
  • APFS (Case-sensitive).
  • APFS (Case-sensitive, Encrypted)

Mac OS Extended (HFS+)

Mac OS Extended is also known as HFS+/HFS Plus or HFS Extended. It is using on macOS 10.12 (Sierra) or earlier. Mac OS Extended was the primary Mac OS X file system until it was replaced with APFS.

Mac OS Extended has four formats in Disk Utility:

  • Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
  • Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted)
  • Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled)
  • Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled, Encrypted)

MS-DOS (FAT)

This format is used for volumes that don’t exceed 32 GB.

exFAT

This format is used for volumes that exceed 32 GB.

Sum up

If you want to use the USB drive on both Windows and Mac, exFAT is a good choice. However, if you have no special requirements, APFS is a good choice for a Mac that is running macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) or later and Mac OS Extended is a good choice for a Mac that is running macOS 10.12 (Sierra) or earlier.

Tip: You can find more useful information from this post: Which Is the Best Format for External Hard Drive on Mac?

How to Format a USB Device on Your Mac Computer?

Step 1: Back up Your Data on the USB Drive

If there are important files on the USB drive that needs to be formatted, you need to back up the data on it beforehand. There are two backup methods: using copy & paste and using backup software.

Copy & Paste

No matter you are using Windows or Mac, you can just use copy and paste to move all files in the USB drive to another location to keep them safe.

It is very simple to do this: select the files you want to back up, and copy & paste them to the destination folder or drive.

Here are two related articles:

Backup Software

Copy and paste files on Windows or Mac may cost you a lot of time if the total size of the files is too large. To save time, you can use professional data backup software to perform a USB backup.

  • If you want to back up the USB drive on your Windows computer, you can use MiniTool ShadowMaker, dedicated backup software for Windows, to back up your USB drive.
  • If you want to back up the USB drive on your Mac computer, you can use Time Machine, a Mac built-in backup software, to perform a USB backup.

Mac How To Format A Usb Drive On A Mac

Step 2: Use Disk Utility to Format a USB to exFAT on Mac

Unlike Windows operating system, the Mac Disk Utility app doesn’t have a disk management feature called Format. But it has an alternative: it is Erase. You can use this feature to format a USB drive to your needed file system.

Now, we will show you how to use Disk Utility to format a USB drive to exFAT on Mac. If you want to format a thumb drive on Mac, erase a USB drive on Mac, or wipe a flash drive on Mac, this guide is also what you want.

Mac How To Format A Usb Drive To Fat32

  1. Connect the USB drive to your Mac computer via a USB port.
  2. Go to Applications > Utilities.
  3. Click Disk Utility to open it.
  4. Go to View > Show All Devices.
  5. The Disk Utility app will show you all the devices that are connected to your Mac in the left sidebar. You need to find the USB drive that needs to be formatted and select it to continue.
  6. Click the Erase button from the top toolbar.
  7. The Erase dialogue will pop up, in which you can click the Scheme drop-down menu to select a partition scheme.
  8. Open the Format drop-down menu and select ExFAT.
  9. Type a name for the USB drive. The maximum length for the name is 11 characters.
  10. Click Erase to start formatting the USB drive.
  11. Click Done when the USB formatting process ends.

After these steps, the USB drive is formatted to the format you want to use and all files in it are gone. That is, you can use the USB drive as a new one.

How to Recover Data from a Formatted USB Drive on Mac?

If you lose your important files because you format your USB drive by mistake, do you know how to get these formatted files back?

You can use third-party Mac data recovery software to recover data from USB on Mac. You can try Stella Data Recovery for Mac, a free Mac data recovery tool.

This software is specially designed to recover lost and deleted files on a Mac computer. It can work under different situations like Mac not turning on, Mac white screen of death, Mac black screen of death, and more. If your files are formatted by mistake, you can also use this Mac data recovery software to get them back.

You can first use the trial edition of this software to scan the USB drive you want to recover data from and then check whether this tool can find your needed files. If yes, you can use a full edition to recover them to a safe volume. You can get this software from the MiniTool official download center.

Now, you can follow this instruction to scan the USB drive for your needed files:

1. Connect the USB drive to your Mac.

2. Open the software.

3. Turn on the button of Recover Everything. Of course, if you only need to recover some specific types of files, you can only select them to continue.

4. Click the Next button to continue.

5. This software will show you the drives it can detect. You need to choose the target USB drive in this interface. If you want to perform a deep scan, you should turn on the button next to Deep Scan (on the bottom-left corner).

6. Click the Scan button to start the scanning process.

7. After scanning, you will see the scan results. You can open each path to find the files you want to rescue.

If you want to use this software to recover all your needed files, you can upgrade this software to a full edition, select the files you want to recover, click the Recover button, and choose a suitable location to save them. You should not save the selected files to the original USB drive. Otherwise, the formatted files may be overwritten and become unrecoverable.

Look! MiniTool Power Data Recovery can help us easily and quickly recover data from formatted USB drive without bringing any damage to the original data

Wrapping Things Up

You should know how to use the Disk Utility app to format a USB drive on your Mac computer. Remember to back up the files in the USB drive if they are important for you because formatting a USB drive will remove all files in it. Besides, if you need to retrieve files from a mistakenly formatted USB, you can try Stellar Data Recovery for Mac.

Should you have any other issues or suggestions, you can let us know in the comments. You can also contact us via [email protected].

How to Format a USB on Mac FAQ

  1. Connect your USB drive to your Mac.
  2. Go to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility
  3. Go to View > Show All Devices.
  4. Select your USB drive from the left sidebar.
  5. Click the Erase button from the top toolbar.
  6. Select a partition scheme from the Scheme drop-down menu.
  7. Select MS-DOS (FAT) from the Format drop-down menu.
  8. Input a name for the USB drive.
  9. Click Erase.
  10. Click Done.
If you want to use a USB drive on both Mac and Windows, you’d better format the USB to exFAT. Here is a related article: Quickly Format an External Hard Drive for Mac and Windows PC.
You can use MiniTool Partition Wizard, a third-party partition manager, to convert a USB drive from exFAT to FAT32 without data loss. If you don’t care about the files in it, you can use Disk Management or Command Prompt to format the USB drive from exFAT to FAT32. This post shows you these three methods: 3 Quick Fixes to Change exFAT to FAT32 File System Windows 10.
Mac can read from Windows-formatted NTFS drives, but it can’t write to it. If you want to write to NTFS on Mac, you need to install an NTFS driver like Paragon NTFS for Mac and FUSE for macOS.

Formatting a USB drive is one of those things that most of us do so rarely, we forget how to do it every time. Fortunately, macOS has simple built-in tools that make it super easy. In this article, we’ll show you how to format a USB drive for use with Windows, Time Machine compatibility, or simply to erase it.

Using Disk Utility To Format A USB Drive

The simplest way to format a USB on macOS is through the Disk Utility. First, plug your USB drive into your Mac. Depending on which Mac you’re using, you may need to use a flash drive that has a USB C socket or an adapter from USB A to USB C.

Once your USB drive is plugged into your Mac, open Finder. You should see the drive in the sidebar.

Make sure that there are no files on the drive that you wish to keep because the formatting process will erase everything on the drive.

Next, press command + spacebar to pull up Spotlight, type “Disk Utility”, and hit return. This will open the Disk Utility app.

In the sidebar of Disk Utility, click the USB drive you want to format and then click Erase in the toolbar at the top of the window.

A dropdown menu should appear asking you to rename your drive. You can name it anything you like, or simply leave the name the same

Next, choose the format that you’re going to reformat the drive to. You’ll see the drive’s current format already selected, like so:

If you’re not sure which format to choose, here are some pointers:

  • APFS (Apple File System): This is a relatively new drive format from Apple that is now macOS’s default. It’s secure, simple, and reliable. However, it’s not readable by a non-Apple machine (meaning you can’t plug the drive into a Windows or Linux computer) and Macs running software older than High Sierra won’t be able to read the drive. If none of these things affects you, choose this format.
  • Mac OS Extended (Journaled): This was the default Apple drive format before APFS. It’s more or less the same as APFS, just a bit older. You can’t move files to a drive using this format on Windows computers either, but you can view the files on it on a Windows computer, which is a small point for compatibility.
  • Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled): This is the same as Mac OS Extended (Journaled), with the exception that you can give your drive a case-sensitive name (“Flash Drive”) instead of an all-uppercase name (“FLASH DRIVE”).
  • MS-DOT (FAT): This file format comes with a big benefit and a big drawback. It’s compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux, making it a great option if you need to move files between the three operating systems. However, MS-DOT (FAT) only allows files that are 4GB or less. And, since it’s a little older, it has no security features.
  • ExFAT: The same as MS-DOT (FAT) except that it supports files over 4GB in size.
  • NTFS: This is the Windows equivalent to APFS; it’s Windows’s default drive format. A Mac computer can read files on an NTFS drive, but it can not write files to that drive. This is a good option if you’re formatting the drive for a Windows computer.

Finally, there’s Security Options…:

This brings up a slider where you can choose how deleted the files you erase from your drive really are. On the least secure option, a sophisticated program would be able to recover the deleted files, and on the most secure option, it would be more or less impossible for anybody to recover the files. If you’re not in a rush, the most secure option is obviously best, though you should be safe on the least secure setting, unless you have particularly sensitive data on the drive.

All that’s left to do is press erase! Once you do this, Disk Utility will erase all of the data on your drive and format it to your format of choice. How long this takes will depend on how many files you have on the drive, how much storage the drive holds, and which security settings you chose.

And that’s it!

FAQs

What happens when you format a USB drive?

When you format a USB drive on macOS, the computer wipes all of the data off of the drive, making it a blank slate of computer memory. It then configures this memory to whatever format you choose.

Will formatting a USB drive delete my files?

Yes, formatting a USB drive will delete all of your files on that drive (though not the files on the rest of your computer) so make sure you have them backed up somewhere if they are valuable to you. And if you don’t want those files to be saved, choosing the highest security settings when formatting the drive will ensure the erased files are unrecoverable after formatting.

Why would you format a USB drive on macOS?

Format

There are a few reasons to format a USB drive on macOS. First, to prepare the drive for Time Machine; macOS should handle this for you. Second, to make the drive compatible with Windows or Linux devices, as all three operating systems use slightly different USB formats. And third, to erase all of the data on a USB drive.

How do I format a USB drive for Time Machine?

Best Format For Usb Drive

Most USB drives should automatically bring up a prompt for Time Machine the first time you plug them in, assuming they are blank. Otherwise, you can format a USB drive for Time Machine by opening Disk Utility, selecting the drive you want to format, clicking Erase, and choosing the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format.

Format A Usb Device

Once formatted, open System Preferences, click Time Machine, click Select Disk…, and choose your USB drive from the available options.