Nowadays, when you buy a USB drive, you can use it right out of the box with your Mac. However, unless it’s been designed for use with a Mac, it won’t be formatted using macOS’ preferred file system (either Mac OS Extended or APFS, depending on which version of macOS you’re running).
Given that Mac computers are on the rise, your best option is to format the drive as exFAT. If there is a Windows XP user out there, they can download the plugin from Microsoft to allow an XP operating system to see the exFAT device without wanting to format it. Right-click the drive icon in the Finder sidebar (or on the desktop) and select Get Info. You will see the drive's file system shown on the right “Format”. 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.
Whether you’re formatting an internal drive, external drive, or USB flash drive, Windows makes it possible to choose between NTFS and exFAT formats. In this guide, we’ll go over the simple steps to formatting a USB drive and which format is best for certain situations. ExFAT is a file system optimized specifically for flash drives. Welcome to the Apple Support Communities Erase the USB disk using exFAT. ExFAT is compatible with Mac OS X 10.6.5 or newer, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. To erase the disk, open Disk Utility (Applications Utilities folder), select the USB drive in the sidebar, go to Erase tab and select exFAT on Format.
That’s because most of the computers in the world run Windows, and Windows uses a different file system, usually one known as Fat32. Drives formatted as Fat32 can be read from and written to by macOS, but it’s not optimal and you’re more likely to run into problems than if you use macOS’ native format. So, if you’ve bought a USB drive that’s formatted as Fat32, or any other format other than Mac OS Extended (also known as HFS+) or APFS, here’s how to format a USB drive on Mac. It’s exactly the same procedure if you need to reformat a flash drive on a Mac.
How to format a USB drive on a Mac
1. Plug the drive into a USB socket (if you have a recent MacBook or MacBook Pro that only has USB-C connectors, you’ll need a USB-C to USB-A adaptor).
2. Open a new Finder window and click on the drive. Make sure it has no files on it that you need. The process of reformatting it will wipe all the data from it.
3. Once you’ve copied any files you need from the USB drive to your Mac, go to Applications>Utilities and double-click on Disk Utility.
4. Click on the USB drive in the sidebar and then choose Erase from the toolbar at the top of the window.
5. In the window that drops down type a name for the formatted drive in the box next to Name.
6. Choose a format from the dropdown menu.
7. If you have previously stored sensitive data on the drive, click the Security tab.
8. Choose a security level using the slider. The further to the right you move the slider, the more ‘passes’ the erase tool will make and the more securely files will be deleted. However, it also increases the time it takes to format the drive quite considerably.
9. Click Ok then click Erase.
Tip: You don’t need to erase a whole drive to delete files securely. If you have confidential files or sensitive data you need to remove from your Mac completely, you should use CleanMyMac’s File Shredder. It’s specifically designed to securely delete sensitive data and will render it unrecoverable. You can download CleanMyMac X for free here.
Which format to choose?
If your Mac is running macOS High Sierra or later, you have two options for file formats: APFS and Mac OS Extended. Which should you choose? The key point is that disks formatted as APFS won’t be recognized by Macs running versions of macOS older than High Sierra. So if you think you might need to plug the USB drive into a Mac running an older version of macOS, format it as Mac OS Extended.
APFS is optimized for SSD (solid state drive) such as flash drives, so if you reformat a flash drive on a Mac, you should definitely choose APFS (unless you plan to use it with a pre-High Sierra Mac, of course). Even on hard drives, however, APFS is faster and more reliable than Mac OS Extended.
Finally, if you plan to use the USB drive as a destination for Time Machine backups, choose Mac OS Extended. Time Machine can’t currently back up to an APFS disk and if you select one for use with Time Machine, it will offer to reformat it as Mac OS Extended. You can, however, backup an APFS formatted disk to a Mac OS Extended Time Machine drive.
How to format a USB drive to FAT32 on a 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. So, if you’re using the USB drive to store large video files, you may run into trouble. There is a solution, however, exFAT. Unlike FAT32, exFAT doesn’t have a maximum file limit. Better still, it can be read from and written to on any Mac running Mac OS X Snow Leopard or later and on Windows.
To format a USB drive in FAT32 or exFAT:
1. Plug the USB drive into your Mac.
2. Go to Applications>Utilities and launch Disk Utility.
3. Click on the USB drive in the sidebar in Disk Utility.
4. Click Erase in the Disk Utility toolbar.
5. Type in a name for the formatted disk.
6. Click on the Format menu and choose either MS-DOS (FAT32) or ExFAT.
7. Click Erase.
Your USB drive will now be erased and re-formatted as either FAT32 or ExFAT, depending on the format you chose in step 6.
Format Drive Exfat Windows 10
How to manage your drives easily
If you look for a quick and easy way to manage your drives, try using CleanMyDrive 2. With its help, you can drag-and-drop files directly to any drive, clean hidden junk from external drives, and check disk stats. It works for all drives, including USB drives, SSD, SD cards, external hard drives. All the drives will be at hand in the menu bar, so you can get to see types of drives you have and manage them easily. CleanMyDrive is absolutely free to use, so download it on the Mac App Store and enjoy!
It’s very easy to format a USB drive on a Mac using Disk Utility. There are a couple of things you should keep in mind, however. The first is that when you format and disk, you will erase all the data currently on it. So if you need that data, make sure you copy it onto another disk before you start. Secondly, there are several formats to choose from, each with advantages and disadvantage. Use the guide above to help you decide which is right for you.
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Why an USB flash drive gets corrupted? Actually, there are so many causes could result in corruption on USB flash drive. Formatting is the easiest way to fix a corrupted USB flash drive, whether the file systems gets corrupted or files are infected by virus on your USB flash drive. For instance, there are two methods to help you format a corrupted USB flash drive to exFAT on Mac. Of course, you also can rescue your data with a reliable data recovery solution.
Format Flash Drive Mac Fat32
Two methods to format corrupted USB flash drive to exFAT on Mac
To fix the corrupted USB flash drive, you may choose to format the USB flash drive. When the corrupted USB flash drive is not working on your Mac, just follow the guide below to format your corrupted USB flash drive.
1. Format corrupted USB flash drive to exFAT with Disk Utility
Plug your corrupted USB flash drive into your Mac, then open disk utility. You will see the USB flash drive on the left sidebar. Click to choose the corrupted USB flash drive. Then click on Erase button.
It will show a windows to let you rename the USB flash drive and choose the file system. Just choose ExFAT. Then click on Erase button. Disk utility will quickly format the corrupted USB flash drive to exFAT.
Some of the users also want to restore the data on the corrupted USB flash drive, whether it is formatted or not. Here is a data recovery solution to help you recover lost data. The data on the hard drive which is formatted by Disk Utility also can be recovered by data recovery software. Do Your Data Recovery for Mac is one of the best data recovery software, it is able to completely recover lost data from an USB flash drive, whether it is corrupted or erased by Disk Utility.
Step 1. Download Do Your Data Recovery for Mac on your Mac computer. Then run it from Launchpad.
Step 2. Do Your Data Recovery shows all hard drives and devices on your Mac computer. Click to choose the USB flash drive to start data recovery.
Step 3. Just click on Scan button to scan the USB flash drive. It offers quick scan and deep scan. If the quick scan can’t find all lost files, then try advanced recovery mode to find much more lost files.
Step 4. Once the scan is completed, you can preview all recoverable files. Then select the wanted files and save them to a safe location.
2. Format corrupted USB flash drive to exFAT with Mac Data Eraser
Third-party Mac disk formatting tool also can help you format corrupted USB flash drive to exFAT. Before you sell, donate or discard an old corrupted USB flash drive, you’d better format it and permanently remove all your private data. DoYourData Super Eraser for Mac is a reliable data eraser. It can help you securely format corrupted USB flash drive to exFAT and permanently wipe all data on the corrupted USB flash drive. Follow the steps below.
Step 1. Download and install DoYourData Super Eraser for Mac on your Mac.
Step 2. Choose mode Wipe Hard Drive, click to select the USB flash drive.
Step 3. Click on Wipe Now button to format the corrupted USB flash drive and permanently wipe all data on the USB flash drive.
Once the process gets finished, the corrupted USB flash drive will be formatted to exFAT, all data on the USB flash drive is gone forever, just like you get a brand new USB flash drive. There is no way to recover the erased data. After erasure, you can sell, donate or give away the USB flash drive without any worry.
The two methods above can help you securely repair corrupted USB flash drive, format it to exFAT on Mac. You also can format the corrupted USB flash drive to FAT 32 or APFS, HFS file systems.