3 Best Ways To Format USB On Mac

I vividly recall a day not too long ago when a friend handed me a USB flash drive, frustration etched on his face. “I can’t seem to format this on my Mac,” he confessed. A challenge was set and I, with my innate curiosity and love for all things tech, was only too eager to rise to it. It was that very day when I discovered not one, but three simple yet effective ways to format a USB drive on a Mac. Today, I’m delighted to share those findings with you.

1. Disk Utility Your Built-in Lifeline

The first solution, rather predictably, was close to home – Mac’s very own Disk Utility. This little gem is tucked away in the Utilities folder, within Applications. Once you have your USB drive plugged in, launch Disk Utility. Here, your drive should be visible on the left pane. Click on it, and you’ll find the ‘Erase’ option on the top.

Now, you may ask, “Which format should I choose?”. Well, it largely depends on how you plan to use your USB drive. If you’re a Mac purist, and intend to use your drive only with other Mac systems, ‘Mac OS Extended (Journaled)’ is your best bet. However, if your drive is destined to mingle with Windows systems, I’d recommend ‘ExFAT’, a format that plays well with both. You can find a more in-depth explanation on different formats here.

Disk Utility Your Built-in Lifeline


2. Terminal Embrace Your Inner Coder

If you’re feeling a tad adventurous and don’t mind dabbling with codes, the Terminal could be your trusty companion. I know, I know, Terminal might seem intimidating, but believe me, with the right guidance, it can be incredibly empowering.

First, plug in your USB drive, then open Terminal from the Utilities folder. We’ll need to find out the identifier for our USB drive. So, type in diskutil list and press Enter. Look for your USB drive’s name and make a note of the identifier (it usually looks something like ‘disk2s2’).

Now comes the exciting part. We’re going to wipe our drive clean. So, input sudo diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 NAME MBRFormat /dev/disk#, replacing ‘NAME’ with what you want your drive to be called and ‘disk#’ with your identifier.

Terminal Embrace Your Inner Coder

3. Third-Party Software The Outsider

If neither Disk Utility nor Terminal float your boat, there are plenty of third-party tools that can handle the job. For instance, applications like DiskMaker X or Stellar Data Recovery come equipped with intuitive interfaces and step-by-step guides.

Just a word of caution: while third-party software often brings extra bells and whistles, do make sure to use trusted sources. And always, always backup your data before proceeding with any formatting tool.

So, there you have it, three ways to format your USB on a Mac, each unique in its own right. From personal experience, I can vouch for the effectiveness of each method, but your choice depends on your comfort level and needs.

Photo of author

Benjamin Johnson

Hey there, I'm Ben, the tech-savvy Founder and CEO of WinFixo.com. I've dedicated my life to helping fellow Windows users optimize their PCs for peak performance. Join me on this journey as we unlock the full potential of your Windows devices together!

Leave a Comment