Unlike Windows in File Explorer, Mac OS X and macOS do not include a Format Drive option in the Finder. So, if you want to format a flash drive connected to a USB, Firewire, or Thunderbolt (USB Type C or Not) on a Mac you need do the following procedure.
Check the Drive’s File System
Before jumping on the formatting, it is important to check your drive’s file system. If you change (or leave it Mac’s default) format (drive’s file system), it may not work on other devices as before. This is critical if you are using the drive on Macs and PCs. In that case, the best option would be choosing exFAT file system.
Here is how to check the current drive’s file system.
- Plug your Flash drive into your Mac.
- Launch the Finder and locate the Flash drive.
- Right–click (or Command + Click) on it and choose Get Infor from the menu.
- You can see drive’s file system displayed next to Format, in the General section (ExFat, MS-DOS(FAT), OS X Extended).
Format the Flash Drive
Note: Be aware that formatting your Flash Drive will delete all data (any files and folders) from it. So, if you want to backup the data, now is your last chance for doing it.
- Click Go on the Finder menu and choose Applications from the drop-down.
- Now, go to Utilities and open Disk Utility.
- Choose the drive by clicking on its name in the External section (located on the left panel of Disk Utility).
- Click the Erase button (or tab) on the top bar.
- Type drive’s name and format (file system). We suggest using the same format as before (the one that you found out in the previous section of this article).
- Choose a partition scheme (if required). If you do not plan to boot from that drive, use the default GUID Partition Map (GPT) scheme.
- Click on the Erase button, and the formatting will start.
- Once the process finishes, you can remove it from your Mac. But, do not forget to eject it before removing it (click the eject icon in the right of the disk name in Disk Utility OR right-click it in the Finder and choose Eject).
Macs can read files from Windows-formatted NTFS drives, but don’t have an integrated option to format drives in NTFS format.
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