Simple Way to Format Flash on Mac

June 5, 2020

If you want to be confident about the compatibility of a new hard drive or flashdrive with your Mac, you should do the format according to the Mac OS filesystem. This is important, especially when you buy a generic PC drive, which is almost certainly formatted to be compatible with Windows and not Mac OS X.

Connecting an external hard drive or flash disk to your MAC is indeed successful and can be used properly as Macs can easily read other filesystem formats, including Windows MSDOS, FAT, FAT32, ExFat, and NTFS. But if you do not plan on using these drives or flashdrives on two different operating systems, it is better to do the format for Mac OS.

Sometimes also your flash shows that available memory is not as much as it is written, even though you already deleted everything in it. This issue can also be solved by means of a flashdisk format.

Making the format as per Mac OS will make the hard drive or flash bootable. If you’ve never formatted a drive on your Mac, don’t worry because the steps are very easy. This article will guide you until it succeeds.

About the File system

Mac OS X and Windows have different file systems. The main file system on Mac OS X is HFS +. The system was developed by Apple and first introduced in 1998 as a better version of HFS, supporting the presence of larger files and Unicode encoding.

Microsoft also developed their own file system for Windows, namely NTFS. The system was introduced in 1993, supporting high-level metadata and data structures to improve performance, additional extensions for security, and file system journals.

Unfortunately, these two file systems are not suitable for flashdisks due to limited support. The most excellent file system for modern flashdisks is FAT32. Although FAT32 does not support long filenames and only stores the greatest files of 4GB, this system is supported almost all operating systems so it is suitable for use on the flash.

Flash Format steps on Mac

This is a simple procedure and can be done for all types of drives and connections, be it USB, Firewire, or Thunderbolt. Remember that formatting will erase all data and folders on your pendrive.

  • Connect the flash drive to your MAC.
  • Launch the disk utility located in the > Utilities Applications.
  • Find your flash name from the left side of the disk utility, then click it.
  • Click the “Erase” menu located above.
  • Next to the “Format” menu, click the menu that appears and select “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)”.
  • Give the drive a name if you want. This name can be changed again at any time.
  • Click the “Erase” button and confirm again in the next popup window.
  • Your Drive will be formatted and all files or folders inside it will be erased. Smaller Hard drives, SSDS, and Flashdisks will have a faster format, and larger ones will take longer. When the format process is complete, your pendrive will be formatted to a MAC OS X-compatible HFS + system.

What if I accidentally formatted on a MAC?

You are not the first to do the flash format accidentally. But there is a solution, namely Disk Drill. This is a premium data recovery app for Mac OS X that can be used in almost any file format and storage tool including a flash drive. Disk Drill’s data recovery algorithm can find deleted files, even after the total format.