Mac OS: How to Format an External Storage Drive

Format an External Storage Drive

Your external drive can occasionally need to be formatted before you can use it in macOS. We’ll show you how to. Many customers find it more practical to utilize an external drive as higher-end storage choices for Macs might increase the ultimate cost of acquiring one. When it comes to storing and moving data across various Macs, external drives might offer additional freedom.

Since Windows is the most common operating system for external storage drives, formatting yours could be required to make it compatible with macOS. How to achieve this is explained below.

Mac OS: How to Format an External Drive

A new external drive can come pre-formatted for Windows or Mac, in which case it might not function on the other platform. Similar to this, there are instances where the external disc may be locked in a read-only format, making it impossible for you to write data to it.

Formatting the disc and changing it to a format that works for you is typically the simplest method. In macOS, Disk Utility and Terminal are the two major methods for formatting an external disc.

It is imperative to backup any data you want to save since using one of these procedures would result in the permanent deletion of all the data on your external storage.

Read More: How to Examine the Health of Your Hard Drive

Disk Utility External Drive Formatting

If you didn’t know, the disc management centre in macOS is called Disk Utility. It makes formatting your external disc simple. Follow these straightforward guidelines:

  • Open Disk Utility by navigating to Applications > Utilities in Finder and connecting your external disc.
  • Your external disc ought to appear in the left column. When you choose it, the disc information should appear.
  • Go to the top and click the Erase button. Depending on your demands, choose a suitable file format for your disc.
  • Click Erase when you are ready to do so. This will help you format the external disc.
  • To store all of your data more effectively, you may also partition your drive with Disk Utility.

External Drive Formatting using Terminal

Using Terminal is the second way to format an external disc on macOS. With this technique, you may format your drive right from the Mac’s command prompt. What you must do is as follows:

From the Finder’s Applications > Utilities menu, launch Terminal on your Mac. Utilizing Spotlight search (Command + Space), you may easily launch Terminal.
To view a list of all the external drives attached to your Mac, type diskutil list. Find the identification of the disc you wish to wipe and make a note of it. It’s disc 4 in this instance:

To wipe your drive, enter the command shown below into Disk Utility. /dev/disk1 diskutil eraseDisk JHFS+ CleanDrive.

  • Make careful to substitute your unique disc identification for the one at the end (of the disc you are formatting). Similar to that, you may decide the format to use to wipe your disc by substituting the proper format for JHFS+. Depending on the type of drive and the macOS version you’re using, we’d advise utilising either the APFS or Mac OS Extended formats if you only want to use your drive with Macs. You may use the following formats in their entirety:
  • FFS: FFS
  • JHFS+ for Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
  • HFS+ for Mac OS Extended
  • FAT32 MS-DOS: FAT32

When ready, enter your password and hit Enter on your keyboard to confirm the action. After pressing Enter, your disc should have been formatted.

Read More: How to Examine the Health of Your Hard Drive

Select the Appropriate Format for Your Drive

I hope the instructions above helped you format your drive. Keep in mind to choose the appropriate format for your purposes. The Mac OS Extended format could be more appropriate for you if you only want to use the disc with Macs.

ExFAT is the way to go, though, if you want to utilise your external storage with both Windows and macOS. You might also use FAT32, but you might need to find a way around its 4GB file size restriction.