How to Format a Removable Drive on macOS 

George Herman
George Herman
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Whether you run out of space on your removable drive and are trying to start new, or adding updated software to your drive, you will need to format it. In this article, you will learn this important skill. 

Formatting Your Drive:

  1. Connect your USB or removable drive to your computer                                                 
  2. Once the device is recognized (your drive will pop up on your desktop), open the Finder app and run Disk Utility (located in Applications > Utilities                                           
  3. Locate your drive in Disk Utility and select it (All drives will be located on the left side of the Disk Utility app)                                                                                                    
  4. Now a tab will appear with your drive’s information, click the button that says Erase at the top of the tab window, in the center 

5. Click the menu that says “Format” and select “Mac OS Extended” (Journaled). It should be the first option. It is recommended to use option because it offers the most compatibility with different programs. 

6. Name your Drive whatever you’d like (Don’t worry, this is not permanent and can be changed at any time).

7. Once you have your drive’s name and format set up, click the Erase button on the popup and then confirm once again on the next popup to start the format.

8. Allow the USB or drive to format (smaller drives with format faster than larger ones). Do not remove your drive or USB before the format is complete.

You can select other format options other than Mac OS Extended (Journaled), however, it is highly recommended to use this option and is necessary if you are wanting to make this a boot drive on Mac OS.   

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