Step 1. Extract/Backup USB data before formatting
How to Format a Drive on a Mac

In other words, you can access the drive and transfer data without any hassles. That file system is — exFAT. Note that there is another file system called FAT32 that pretty much does the same thing but with one major flaw. See the table below for more info.

How to Format an External Drive for Mac Compatibility

As you can see, exFAT is the only file system that works with all versions of Windows and macOS and does not have any max file-size or partition-size limits. Therefore, it's perfect for a USB flash drive or external disk especially you need to save files more than 4GB in size. Now that you've learned exFAT is the ideal file system to go. How to know what current file system your flash drive is with, and how to format it to exFAT? First of all, plug your flash drive into the USB port on your computer.


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Make sure your device can be detected and recognized. Once the Lexar disk shows up on the desktop, right click on the drive icon and select "Get Info". Alternatively in case the disk does not show up on your desktop , open Finder, on the sidebar menu locate your USB drive under Devices, right click and select "Get Info". That means my Lexar disk is currently with the FAT32 file system. Because the process of reformatting a disk drive will very likely erase all content and make recovery impossible.

How to format a USB drive on Mac

Also, since I don't know whether you are on a PC or Mac to perform this operation. I'm here to break down this guide into two parts.


  • How to Erase and Format a USB Drive on Your Mac!
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  • Which format to choose?.
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The first part is for Mac users, the second part is for PC users Windows 10 based. In no particular order. Please note: The app now has a new user interface that looks slightly different on Yosemite or earlier OS X versions.

How to Format USB Flash Drive to FAT32 in Mac OS

Step 1: Open Disk Utility. Step 2: Under "External" tab, highlight your flash drive. Step 3: Now click the "Erase" button at the top.

In the new pop-up window, choose the format to be "ExFAT". August 21, at Roger says: April 10, at NYCer says: January 8, at 7: Ahmed says: November 26, at Lina Alvarez says: September 17, at 9: January 25, at 3: Thasleem says: March 17, at Debbie says: March 25, at 4: Timothy says: April 3, at 1: May 6, at Deon says: January 13, at 8: Yes says: January 13, at 9: January 13, at Noreen says: September 14, at 2: April says: October 10, at 8: Sayna says: April 29, at 3: July 6, at Jared says: September 24, at 1: Keith says: December 17, at 6: December 17, at December 21, at December 22, at January 9, at 9: Dorothy Swayne says: October 31, at 4: Margaret F Sadler says: December 4, at 7: Negar says: February 6, at Aiman says: February 20, at AudioHTIT says: June 14, at 9: Ankush Goel says: June 18, at Nigel says: August 4, at 8: Bob says: August 4, at 9: Wayne says: August 19, at 6: Janet DeLand says: September 19, at 5: Ray says: September 24, at 3: November 23, at 6: Jack says: December 9, at 1: Patty says: December 14, at 2: Bhosadda says: January 18, at Ina Carlo says: Kat says: January 19, at Tom says: February 12, at 7: Jim M.

February 23, at Rochelle says: Click on the USB drive in the sidebar and then choose Erase from the toolbar at the top of the window. Choose a security level using the slider.

Here's how to format USB on Mac

However, it also increases the time it takes to format the drive quite considerably. You can download CleanMyMac X for free here. Which should you choose?

How to Format SD Card on Mac

The main reason for formatting a USB drive as Fat32 on a Mac is that you want to be able to use the drive on a Windows PC, as well as a Mac — perhaps to transfer files between the two machines. You may also be preparing the drive for use as, say, a storage device for a media player or to record TV programmes on a TV with a USB port. The fact that Fat32 can be read from and written to on both Mac and Windows makes it very versatile.

However, there is a significant limitation — individual files have a maximum size of 4GB.