How To Format Usb Flash Drive On Mac

Prepare a Thumb Drive for Both Windows and OS X or macOS. On Windows, connect your thumb drive. Click Start File Explorer This PC. Right-click your flash drive and then select Format.

Jul 05, 2017 To format a drive on a Mac, you’ll need the built-in Disk Utility application. Press Command+Space to open the Spotlight search dialog, type “Disk Utility”, and press “Enter” to launch the app. Advertisement You can also open a Finder window, select “Applications” in the sidebar, and head to Utilities Disk Utility. Please click the menu options, Tools / Refresh Drive List. If the USB Drive is indeed present, it will show up on your list. The USB-Disk SanDisk Cruzer Dial (USB-Disk ) Format USB Drive for Mac Outline. Please choose the USB Drive; Right-click on your selection and choose to format the USB Drive for Mac (Macintosh.

By default, Windows and Mac file systems don’t play well together. So when it comes time to transfer files between them on a USB stick, you’ll need to make special arrangements. Here’s how to format a USB stick to work on both systems.

The File System Is the Key

Windows 10 and macOS use two different file systems by default. A file system determines how an operating system writes data to a hard disk or a USB drive. Windows 10 uses a file system called NTFS, and macOS currently uses APFS by default.

RELATEDWhat Is a File System, and Why Are There So Many of Them?
So here’s the problem: If you format a USB drive as APFS on a Mac, Windows 10 won’t read it without third-party tools (and will actually ask to format it). And likewise, if you format a USB drive as NTFS on Windows, Macs can read it but not write to it (although there are some ways around it).

If you’re frequently using both Macs and PCs with the same drive, the ideal solution is to configure a USB drive with a file system that both operating systems can read. That file system is called exFAT, and it’s designed for flash media cross-platform compatibility. Below, we’ll show you how to set up a USB drive as exFAT for both Windows and Mac. This disk preparation setup process is called “formatting.”

Flash

RELATED:Why Does Windows Want to Format My Mac Drives?

Before You Get Started: Back Up the USB Drive First

If the USB drive that you want to use as a universal transfer drive contains any data that you want to keep, you’ll need to back up that data onto another disk or a cloud backup service first. Formatting a drive always erases all of the data on the drive.

If the USB drive is formatted with the Mac file system, you’ll need to use a Mac to transfer the data off of the drive. If the USB drive is formatted as a Windows drive, it’s probably best to back it up with a Windows Machine.

RELATED:What's the Best Way to Back Up My Computer?

How to Format a USB Drive as exFAT on Windows

First, plug the USB drive that you’d like to format as a universal Mac/Windows drive into your Windows machine. If Windows says that it doesn’t recognize the drive (and you’ve already backed up any data on it), click “Format Disk,” and then skip the next step.

Warning: The contents of the drive will be erased when you click “Format Disk.” Make sure that you’ve backed up your important files first.
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If Windows recognizes the drive, open File Explorer and navigate to “This PC.” In your “Devices and Drives” list, right-click the USB drive that you want to use as a universal drive and select “Format” from the list.

Warning: Make sure that you pick the right drive, or you could end up accidentally erasing important data.

In the “Format” window that appears, click the drop-down box labeled “File System” and select “exFAT.” Then, type in a name for the drive in the “Volume Label” box (if you’d like) and click “Start.”

Next, you’ll see a warning that reminds you that you’re about to lose all of the data on the disk that you’re going to format. If you’re ready, click “OK.”

Warning: You’re about to lose all of the data on the drive. Formatting erases the drive completely. Make sure that the USB drive is either blank or that you already have a backup first.

Windows will format the drive with the exFAT file system. When you see a “Format Complete” window, click “OK.”

The next time that you open File Explorer, you’ll see the formatted USB drive in your “Devices and Drives” list. You can copy data to the drive as you normally would, and the drive will also be readable and writable on a Mac.

RELATED:How to Copy Files to a USB Flash Drive on Windows 10

How to Format a USB Drive as exFAT on Mac

First, find a free USB slot on your Mac and plug in the USB drive that you’d like to set up as a Windows and Mac disk.

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To format a USB drive with the exFAT file system on a Mac, you’ll need to use a tool called “Disk Utility” created by Apple that ships with macOS. To run it, press Command+Space on your keyboard and type “disk utility,” and then click the Disk Utility icon.

(Or, you can open Launchpad, type “disk,” and then click the Disk Utility icon.)

When Disk Utility opens, look at the sidebar in the “External” section and select the USB drive that you just inserted.

Warning: Triple-check that you’re selecting the correct drive in the Disk Utility list. Everything on that drive is about to get erased.

After selecting the USB drive, click “Erase” in the toolbar near the top of the window.

In the “Erase” pop-up that appears, click the drop-down menu labeled “Format.”

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In the file system format menu, select “exFAT” from the list.

Sandisk Usb Format Tool

If necessary, type a name for the USB drive in the “Name” box, and then click “Erase.”

Warning: Before clicking “Erase,” make sure that the USB drive that you’re formatting is either empty or that the data on it has already been backed up. After this step, all the data on the drive will be lost.

Disk Utility will erase and format the USB drive as exFAT. When it’s finished, click “Done,” and you’re ready to go. Quit Disk Utility and you can copy files to your newly formatted USB drive as usual. You can then insert it into a Windows PC and read from it or write to it with no trouble.

Have fun!

RELATED:How to Copy Files to a USB Flash Drive on a Mac

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How To Format Usb Flash Drive On Mac

Macs support a variety of file systems. By default, they format disks with the Mac-only OS X Extended file system. But, if you plan on using an external drive with both Macs and PCs, you should format the disk with the exFAT file system instead.

How to Check a Drive’s File System

RELATED:What File System Should I Use for My USB Drive?

So how do you know if your USB drive is using the right format? 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. In the screenshot below, the drive is formatted with the exFAT file system.

How to Format a Drive on a Mac

How to reset usb flash drive on mac

If you want to use a different file system on your USB drive, you’ll need to “format” it. Again, formatting a drive will erase it completely, so make sure you have everything backed up that you want to keep.

To format a drive on a Mac, you’ll need the built-in Disk Utility application. Press Command+Space to open the Spotlight search dialog, type “Disk Utility”, and press “Enter” to launch the app.

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You can also open a Finder window, select “Applications” in the sidebar, and head to Utilities > Disk Utility.

Your connected drives will appear under “External” in the Disk Utility’s sidebar. Select the drive by clicking its name.

Click the “Erase” button after selecting the entire drive to erase the entire drive and create a single partition on it.

You’ll be asked to provide a name for the disk, which will appear and identify the disk when you connect it to a Mac, PC, or another device.

You’ll need to choose between several file systems:

RELATED:What's the Difference Between FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS?

  • OS X Extended (Journaled): This is the default, but it’s only natively supported on Macs. It’s also known as HFS+. This file system is necessary if you plan on using the drive for Time Machine backups–otherwise, you’ll want to use exFAT for maximum compatibility.
  • OS X Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled): On a case-sensitive file system, “file” is different from “File”. By default, Mac OS X doesn’t use a case-sensitive file system. This option exists because it matches the traditional behavior of UNIX and some people might need it–don’t select this unless you know you need it for some reason.
  • OS X Extended (Journaled, Encrypted): This is the same as the standard OS X Extended file system, but with encryption. You’ll have to enter a password, and you’ll need to provide that password whenever you connect your drive to your Mac.
  • OS X Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled, Encrypted): This is the same as the standard OS X Extended (Case-senstiive) file system, but with encryption.
  • MS-DOS (FAT): This is the most widely compatible file system, but it has some limitations–for example, files can only be 4GB or less in size each. Avoid this file system unless you have a device that requires FAT32.
  • ExFAT: ExFAT is almost as widely compatible as older FAT file systems, but doesn’t have the limitations. You should use this file system if you may share the drive with Windows PCs and other devices like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles. ExFAT is the ideal cross-platform file system. It’s not natively supported on many Linux distributions, but you can install exFAT support on Linux.

For external drives, it almost always makes sense to format in ExFAT, unless you’re using the drive for Time Machine.

RELATED:What's the Difference Between GPT and MBR When Partitioning a Drive?

You’ll also be asked to choose between a partition scheme: GUID Partition Map, Master Boot Record, or Apple Partition Map. GPT is more modern, while MBR is older. Both also work with Windows PCs. APM is an older, Mac-only partition scheme.

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This choice doesn’t really matter if you don’t plan on booting from the drive. If in doubt, just select the default GUID Partition Map (GPT) scheme. Avoid the Mac-only Apple Partition Map (APM) scheme.

Click the “Erase” button when you’re done and Disk Utility will format your disk with the settings you specified. This will erase all the files on the drive!

You’re now done–be sure to eject the disk before you remove it from your Mac. You can do this by clicking the eject icon to the right of the disk in the Finder or Disk Utility windows.

You can also right-click or Option-click the drive in Finder or on your desktop and select the “Eject” option.

Macs do have some limited support for other file systems–for example, Macs can read files on Windows-formatted NTFS volumes, but can’t normally write to NTFS drives. Macs don’t have an integrated way to format partitions with NTFS, either. Use exFAT for excellent compatibility with Windows without FAT32’s limitations.

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