How to format USB on Mac [Quick and Easiest Tips]

How to format USB on Mac

Do you know how to format USB on Mac? If that is what you are searching for, you are at the right place as we are talking about the easiest methods.

The importance of Universal Serial Bus, aka USB, in protecting critical digital data in today’s world cannot be understated. USB drives, often known as “flash drives,” are not a new technology, but their use is growing with the digital revolution. USB drives are a secure method to exchange information with others, whether you’re sending photographs or any other digital asset.

Furthermore, flash drives are small, powerful storage devices that are only a few inches long. As a consequence, they’re simple to move. They may be tucked inside a shirt or trouser pocket or clipped to a keychain. Their compatibility, accessibility, and durability make them great for everyday day use. Unfortunately, the user expects a USB flash drive to work when they plug them in.

That’s the beauty and simplicity of USB, yet it can stop working at any time, and the problem is generally always due to a hardware or software failure. In the majority of cases, formatting the USB solves the issue. For typical Windows P.C. users, formatting a USB drive is usually a simple process. However, the slightly different method of knowing how to format USB on Mac is the relative information organized in this article.

Reasons and how to format USB on Mac

USB Failures on a MacOS

Windows outnumbers macOS with a global market share of more than 85%, a  fundamental reason why most device manufacturers continue to design their gadgets with Windows in mind, as frustrating as it may be. Unfortunately, aside from USB sticks, various other devices may perform inconsistently or fail to work at all on macOS, mainly because of different file systems used by Mac OS and Windows.

Users can use macOS file system-based USB right away. However, if it is not formatted using a macOS preferred file system, the user will likely experience unexpected connectivity, corruption, data loss, or other performance issues. So, it’s a wise move to look up how to format USB on Mac.

Unreadable USB flash drive on Mac

Users should double-tick the following checks before going to the ultimate method of formatting the USB drive that may contain their vital data.

  1. Verify that the USB port or cable is operational.
  2. Update or reinstall the driver.
  3. Double-check the file system of USB.
  4. Repair the unreadable USB flash drive using First Aid.


How to format USB on Mac 

To figure out how to format USB on a Mac, We’ll need to look more closely at the Disk Utility, which comes with all modern Mac OS X operating system versions,

Disk Utility 

Disk Utility is a handy tool in macOS that can manage internal and external storage devices; to format and control volumes or create a disk image, or may be used to transfer files from one device to another, backing up or archive the work.

Backup Before Formatting

Before formatting a USB drive on a Mac, or any other similar device, the user must back up everything on it. If the device is new, this isn’t a problem, but if it’s, the new user needs to take some precautions for saving the necessary data.

Understanding File Systems 

MacOS’s primary file system is H.F.S. Plus. Apple first introduced it in 1998; as an improved version of H.F.S. to HFS+ that could handle much larger files and included Unicode encoding. A.P.F.S. is the result of further enhancements to HFS+.

Apple’s proprietary file system was created to replace HFS+ and focuses on flash drives, S.S.D.s, and encryption. A.P.F.S. introduce iOS 10.3 and macOS 10.13, and it has since become the standard file system for Mac OS X. If the User is attempting to figure out which format to use for a flash drive on a Mac or an external hard drive, they probably want to use A.P.F.S.

Steps to follow 

Since now we have a clear understanding of why we need to format the USB sometimes on mac and the file system to use during formating, let us follow the simple steps to get the job done.

  1. Connect the flash drive.
  2. By opening the Disk Utility, the user will see the list of storage devices attached to Mac.
  3. At the bottom of the Disk utility, the user can see the disk connected, total capacity, write status, USB serial number, and partition data.
  4. The user will see a popup confirming the operation and the file format after selecting the erase option on the top for the disk utility. The user should make sure the backup of data on USB because, after formatting, everything on the USB will get deleted permanently.
  5. By selecting the security level using the slider on the Security tab, Users can also erase data more securely. However, it extends the time it takes to format the disk substantially.
  6. After the user has completed the setup, click the Erase option to begin the formatting process. It might take a couple of minutes. The user can transfer files to the freshly formatted flash device when the formatting procedure complete successfully.


The USB drive, once formatted to the MacOs format, cannot be used in windows pc because of the file format. To use a form where users can switch between operating systems, we suggest using a USB drive as Fat32. Fat32 is exceptionally versatile because of its ability to read and write on both Mac and Windows.

However, individual files can only be 4 G.B. in size, which is a severe limitation. So, if you’re storing large video files on a USB device, you might have some issues. Formatting a USB disk on a Mac is simple, as described above with Disk Utility. A few things to keep in mind,  firstly formatting a disk wipes out all of the data on it. Therefore, the user should make a backup copy of the information on a different drive before starting. Secondly, users can determine the file type needed; based on the information provided in this article.

More on Do you know how to do tech troubleshooting properly? read here.



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