How to Format a Drive on Mac

There are plenty of reasons that would make mac users want to format a drive. Virus infection, completely erasing everything including hidden& corrupt files, and changing the drives’ file system are the three most common reasons that prompt someone to format a drive.

Here, we will learn all the possible methods you can use toeither format the internal hard drive or an external flash or SSD drive on Mac.

Now, let’s go straight to answering the question. How to format a drive on mac

1. Formatting internal mac drives (HDD drive)

To format an internal drive, you should follow the bellow steps

  1. Back up everything you need prior to formatting the drive
  2. Turn off your mac
  3. Turn it ON and simultaneously hold the Command key and letter Rfor a few seconds. Start with the command key then letter R within one second
  4. Release the two keys after the Apple logo appears
  5. From the OS Utility list, click Disk Utility
  6. Click continue
  7. All drives will appear on the left sidebar of the computer’s screen
  8. Select the disk you want to format and click Erase
  9. Navigate and click the Security Option command
  10. Choose the level of security you want. In most cases, DO NOT CHOOSE the “fast format command”
  11. Click erase!
  12. Done.

2. Formatting external drives (External drive, SSD Drives, Pen drive)

To format an external drive, you should follow the bellow steps.

But before we proceed, Note that you need to back up all your important files prior to beginning the formatting process. Also you need to unplug any other external media from the computer ports. This measure helps eliminate all accidental formatting.

Step-by-step procedure

  1. Connect the pen drive or external disk drive to the computer
  2. Let the computer detect the drive
  3. Navigate to “Disk Utility” by clicking the Applications>Utility or alternatively, you can use the spotlight search (press the command key and tap the space bar). Type disk Utility
  4. All drives will appear on the left sidebar of the computer’s screen under the disk utility section
  5. Navigate the screen until you see the drive intended for formatting
  6. Click the disk and you should see other commands like First Aid, Partition, Erase, RAID, Restore
  7. Before erasing the disk, you will need to input the file format and Name. File formats include FAT, MSDOS, ExFat, FAT32, and NTFS

NTFS and FAT32 are the two most common file systems that are compatible with most Operating Systems. However, you need to choose the MSDOS (FAT) to make the flash drive compatible with windows and mac OS.

  • Click erase
  • Choose the Master Boot Record scheme to format a flash drive. Master Boot Record is the default setting that is recommended
  • A confirmation pop-up window will appear that asks you to confirm the command
  • Confirm, wait a few seconds, and your disk will be 100% cleared
  • Click Done

Formatting a flash drive to be compatible with mac OS

In case you want to format the external disk so that it can only be compatible with mac OS and not the other Operating systems, you need to follow a few steps

  1. Repeat steps 1-7 above
  2. Click the contextual message (format command)
  3. Choose any file format with “Mac OS Extended directives”
  4. Give your drive a name and click erase
  5. Wait a few seconds and your drive will be 100% cleared
  6. Click Done

Note that this process is still the same with newer/modern versions of Mac OS X. Though, it can be faster in advanced OS.

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