Format USB Flash Drives For Mac

Most off-the-shelf USB flash drives are formatted for Windows computers. You can easily reformat a drive to use the standard Mac OS Extended format with the Disk Utility app. Keeping the drive in MS-DOS format may be a better option, however, if you plan to use it on both Mac and Windows computers.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Format USB Flash Drives For Mac.

So let's say you get a little USB drive andyou want to use it with your Mac.
When you plug it in you may find that it'snot formatted for Mac, it's formatted for
Windows of course because most computers outthere are Windows machines.
But you want to format it for a Mac.
It's easy to do.
You just have to use the Disk Utility appthat you already have on your Mac.
Now I've inserted the drive into my Mac intothe USB port.
I'm going to run Disk Utility here and itwill come up as one of the drives on the left.
There it is.
It's the 16 GB external physical disk drivethere I can see it's got one partition on
it called No Name.
And sure enough it's an MS-DOS partition.
So what I want to do is I want to reformatthis whole drive as a Mac drive.
So I don't want to select just the volume,just that one partition.
I want to select the entire thing and I wantto hit Erase.
I'll give it a better name.
Maybe I'll use my name there so it can identifiedit if I loose it in a computer lab or in school
or something.
I'll choose a format.
I want Mac OS Extended Journaled.
That 's your standard Mac format.
Now I get to pick a scheme.
So this is kind of a level of formatting thedrive here.
What I want to choose is either Master BookRecord or GUID Partition Map.
GUID is standard for Macs now so that's whatI'll choose right here.
Then I'll hit erase and it'll erase the driveand create this one volume, this one partition
on it called My Drive.
Then I'll be able to use it on my Macs.
Now I should note that MS-DOS isn't that badof a format especially if you want to use
this drive between both Mac and Windows machines.
Because your Mac can understand MS-DOS formatjust fine but Windows won't be able to understand
So only format the drive as Mac Only if you'reonly going to use it on your Macs.
So you can see here it's done.
I've got My Drive and it's now formatted MacOS Extended.

Comments: 6 Responses to “Format USB Flash Drives For Mac”

    Terry Haddow
    2 years ago

    Would “ex-fat” be better for a drive going between Windows and Mac ?

    2 years ago

    Terry: Yes.

    2 years ago

    But if a relative with a Windows computer gave me a USB drive full of photos and my Mac does not recognize it, this will erase everything, right? Is there a solution?

    2 years ago

    Carol: Your Mac should be able to read any USB Flash drive that comes from a Windows machine. No need to erase it if you are using it to go between Mac and Windows computers.

    2 years ago

    I did this on my SanDisk16GB TD to create a bootable Sierra installer using restore in DU I keep getting a “Couldnt unmount disk” error. I used FirstAid on it and it says the volume needs to be repaired. Sadly cant do this in the “new” DU introduced in 10.11. I tried to repair it on diff mac running 10.6.8 and I get stuck on “5min left” for like an hour. Cant force quit DU even, until I remove the TD from the USB port. I zero’d out the TD using terminal and tried all over again. Still same issue

    2 years ago

    Sorry, I contacted the manufacturer and they said its a damaged flash drive. Never mind my comment above and thanks again Gary.

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