Why should you consider formatting your hard drive? You might already know the consequences of. NTFS for Mac OS X (10 Days Trial): I use this one, and it does the job very well. When the driver is installed, you format your NTFS disks with Disk Utility where you select Windows NT Filesystem as the format. Tuxera NTFS for Mac (15 Days Trial): I haven't tried this one, but it should also do the job.
Most external hard drives are designed to work for Windows computers. So if you’re trying to connect an external hard drive to a Mac, you might have to format the drive before you can use it. Here’s how to do that:
How to Format a Hard Drive for Mac
Note: If you already used your external hard drive on a PC, be sure to back up any files on it. Formatting your drive will wipe out all the data in it.
- Connect an external hard drive to your Mac. Some external hard drives need to be plugged into an outlet to work.
- Go to Spotlight Search, type in Disk Utility, and click the first option. This will open the Disk Utility app, where you will find all the internal and external drives that are connected to your Mac.
- Then click View in the top-left corner of the window and select Show All Devices.
- Click the external hard drive you want to format. You can find this on the left-hand side of the screen under External Hard Drives. For the best result, select the disk (the highest option in the external tree).
- On the top menu, click Erase. This will open a small pop-up window with a warning that erasing the drive will delete all data stored on it and that it can’t be undone.
- Choose a name, format, and scheme for your drive. You can choose whatever name you want, and you should choose GUID Partition Map for the Scheme in most cases. However, you can choose between the following formats:
- Mac OS Extended (Journaled) is the best option for most Mac users since it is compatible with all Macs.
- APFS (Apple File System) is only for newer Macs running macOS 10.13 or later.
- exFAT is compatible with both PC and Mac.
- MS-DOS (FAT) is also compatible with Mac and PC, but you can only transfer files smaller than 4GB.
- When you’re done with providing the setup details, click Erase. This will immediately wipe the entire drive.
If you get an error message that states, “Erase process has failed. Click done tocontinue,” don’t freak out about it. This is an issue caused by Time Machine running on your externaldrive.
You will need to turn off Time Machine. You can do this by opening System Preferences and unchecking the boxnext to “Back Up Automatically”.Then click Options beside “ShowTime Machine in menu bar.” This will open another window. Click Cancel and it will turn off the Time Machine.
After you turn off the Time Machine, redo steps 4 to 6.
How to Partition anExternal Hard Drive on Mac
Format A Seagate Hard Drive For Mac
If you have formattedyour drive, you can then partition the drive, which will splitthe drive into two formats. This is perfect for anyone who uses Macs and PCsand wants to transfer files between the different operating systems with anexternal drive. Here’s how to do that:
- Open Disk Utility and select the drive that you want to partition. It is best to click View > Show All Devices so you can selectthe disk rather than a container.
- In the top menu, select Partition.
- Then click the plus sign at the bottom of the pie chart. Every time you click this plus sign, a new partition will becreated.
- Choose a name, format and size for each partition. You can also change the size of each of the partitions bydragging the white dots at the edge of the circle.
- Finally click Apply.
Why Partition a Hard Drive?
Partitioning an external hard drive allows youto have separate drives for Mac, PC, and any other operating system. Now youdon’t have to go out and buy hard drives for every computer you use.
A partition also gives you a dedicated space foryour Time Machine back-up files or a bootable backup of your operating system.It also helps protect your data if your drive gets infected with malware, as itwould be contained within one of the partitions.
Now that you know how to format an external drive for Mac, check out our blog on the difference between an HDD and an SDD.
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Not every USB drive can be used with a Mac out of the box, you'll need to format the drive to compatible with the MacOS extended file system. If you want to ensure full Mac compatibility on your USB drive or flash disk, just read this article. And you will find two ways which will teach you how to format a USB drive to FAT32 on Mac, including Disk Utility and Terminal command. And if you lost your important data because of formatting, you can use data recovery tool to recover data from a formatted USB drive on Mac.
What You Should Do First Before Formatting USB Drive on Mac
Yоu hаvе tо be sure that уоu know whаt уоu are doing whеn you execute thе соmmаndѕ thаt because you саn еrаѕе your еntirе hаrd drivе if уоu do this wrоng.
The only way to be sure of the content you are formatting is to first remove the USB drive from Mac, know the title of other storage disks, insert the USB disk again and note the name of the disk. Now you are sure not to be formatting a wrong disk this way. Next, drag the USB data to a safe location for backup/recovery measures before formatting it. Then you are set to get it done!
Which File Format to Choose When Formatting USB Drive on Mac
For PCs operating on macOS High Sierra or newer version, you can select from two options of file formats: Mac OS Extended and APFS. Here is the difference, APFS format is not compatible with macOS versions older than High Sierra. Therefore, if you are sure to still insert your USB driver on older versions of macOS, then you should consider formatting as Mac OS Extended.
Also, if you are to use the USB drive as a destination for Time Machine, you should consider reformatting to Mac OS Extended as Time Machine cannot back up an APFS disk.
How to Format a USB Drive to FAT32 on Mac
As earlier stated, you need to first back up your USB drive before formatting the drive as you may not be able to recover the contents again. Now, you can follow the steps to be highlighted below to get it successfully formatted.
1Format a USB Drive to FAT32 in Mac OS with Disk Utility
Step 1. Insert the USB to be formatted to a Mac PC.
Step 2. Navigate to Applications > Utilities, and click it twice to open it.
Step 3. Select the drive you want to format and click on Erase.
Step 4. Rename the USB drive (optional), and choose the MS-DOS(FAT) for format.
Step 5. Then select Master Boot Record for scheme, hit Erase.
Step 6. Once the process is done, you are ready to reuse the drive with FAT32 file system to save data again.
2Convert/Format USB Drive to FAT32
Step 1. Connect the USB drive to your Mac PC.
Step 2. Click on cmd + space to run spotlight, input terminal then tap Enter key.
Step 3. Type diskutil list to find the location of your UB drive (eg: dev/disk2 is the USB drive in the below picture).
Step 4. Type sudo diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 MBRFormat /dev/disk2.
sudo gives you user right.
Diskutil calls disk utility program.
eraseDisk commands to format.
FAT32 sets the file system.
MBRFormat tells disk utility to format with a Master Boot Record.
/dev/disk2 is the location of the USB drive.
After the process completes, type diskutil list in command once more to check if the USB drive has been formatted successfully.
If succeeded, you can use the USB drive with FAT32 file system to store data again.
How to Recover Lost Data after Formatting a USB Drive to FAT32 on Mac
Users perhaps format a USB drive by mistake. Only after formatting it, they would realize that they had lost important data. If you don' t have a backup for data, then you can recover lost data from formatted USB drive on Mac with this trusted data recovery software - iMyFone AnyRecover. You can now recover all kinds of data from formatted USB drive on Mac with only 3 simple steps.
Format A Hard Drive For Time Machine
Features of iMyFone AnyRecover:
- Your Comprehensive Mac Data Recovery Solution
You can get back your lost photos, videos, documents, compressed files, and numerous kinds of data from formatted USB drive easily.
Retrieve data from MacBook, any internal or external storage media: memory card, USB drive, virtual disk, HDD, SSD, and so on.
Resolve all data loss situations: formatted drive, trash emptied, partition lost, accidental deletion, virus attack, hardware failure and other cases.
It allows you to preview scanned files before recovery and select what you want to restore.
It supports data recovery on all types of USB drives. It also supports file formats like NTFS, HFS, FAT, exFAT, etc.
Follow the next steps to recover data after formatting USB flash drive on mac:
Step 1: Make sure you have connected your USB drive to your Mac successfully. Launch AnyRecover software on your system and select the formatted USB drive you are trying to recover from. And press the “Start” button to start the scanning.
Step 2: The software will automatically begin the scanning process. This can help you recover your lost data from your formatted USB drive.
Step 3: Immediately after the scanning process is complete, the software will list all the files in their respective file formats and folders. Tick on and confirm what you are going to recover, then click on “Recover” button.
USB storage devices have become very popular these days because they are a very convenient way to store and transfer data. However, there could be times when you formatted disk, accidentally deleted files, your storage device could become damaged, or you could end up with data corruption due to operating system failures, viruses, software malfunctions or other problems that cause damage to your data stored on your USB storage device. If it is the case, do not panic, Just download iMyFone AnyRecover to get your lost data back quickly and easily.