Dec 16, 2020 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

  1. Jan 04, 2012 Formatting a drive will erase all data and partitions on the disk: Connect the hard drive or USB key to the Mac Launch Disk Utility, located in Applications Utilities Locate the drive name from the left hand side of Disk Utility and click on it.
  2. Launch Disk Utility. Connect the USB flash drive to your Mac. If there are any files on the drive you.

Attach the drive to your Mac. Launch Disk Utility (from Applications Utilities Disk Utility). Select the drive in the left-hand sidebar.

USB drives, pen drives, or thumb drives – no matter what you call them, they all perform the same job related to data storage and management. In a matter of a few years, pen drives have drastically replaced CDs and other storage units. Now, we all use USB drives to transfer our data or maintain its backup. Though, there are times when we wish to format a pen drive on Mac. You can do it to erase drive data, troubleshoot a problem, reformat it, and do so much more.

Since Mac gives a one-stop solution to do it all, you won't face any problem like a pen drive not formatting on Mac. To further help you, we have come up with this detailed guide on how to format a pen drive on Mac with other related solutions.

Part 1. What is a Pen Drive or Thumb Drive?

Thumb drives (which are also known as USB or flash drives) are extensively used to store data via USB connectivity. As almost all the computers (be it Windows or Mac) have a universal USB slot, it makes the use of flash drives so effortless. You can just plug it into any system and access the stored content in no time. A pen drive can also be used as an installer at times or to maintain a backup of your data.

  • You might like to erase all the data present on your pen drive at once.
  • Formatting can also help you troubleshoot certain connectivity issues with your flash drive.
  • If the USB drive has been infected by malware, then formatting it can fix the issue at times.
  • It can also help you reformat the pen drive and change its file system as well.
  • It will let you defragment the drive and make more free space in it.

Part 2. How to Format Pen Drive on Mac

Just like Windows, Mac also allows a seamless solution to do pen drive format. To do this, you can take the assistance of Disk Utility, which is a dedicated system component in Mac. It can help you manage system partitions, erase an external unit like a thumb drive, and even repair your disk. To learn how to format a pen drive in Mac, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Firstly, connect your flash drive to the Mac by inserting it to the correct USB slot. Also, go to Mac's Finder > Applications > Utilities and launch 'Disk Utility' from here.
  2. As the Disk Utility window would open, you can view the connected pen drive labeled under the 'External' devices on the left. Simply select your pen drive to view its storage settings on the right.
  3. In order to format the pen drive, you need to click on the 'Erase' button on its toolbar.
  4. This will open the following pop-up menu. From here, you can change the name of the pen drive, its format, and the scheme. There are different kinds of formats available for thumb drives, which are discussed later in this post.
  5. Lastly, you can change the scheme for the connected pen drive as well. While GUID and Master Boot support both Windows and Mac, the Apple Partition Map would only run on Mac.
  6. After making the appropriate selections, just click on the 'Erase' button, and wait for the pen drive to be formatted entirely.

That's it! In the end, when you are informed that the thumb drive has been successfully formatted, you can unmount it safely from your Mac.

Let's get the ways of formatting USB to FAT32 together.

Video Tutorial on How to Format a USB Flash Drive on Mac

Part 3. How to Check the Pen Drive Format

A lot of users choose to format the pen drive to change its format. If you also have the same requirements, then consider checking the existing pen drive format first. Chances are that it might be of an ideal format beforehand. Here's how you can check the format of thumb drive on Mac.

  1. Simply attach the pen drive to your Mac by inserting it into the USB slot.
  2. Launch Finder once the pen drive is detected by Mac. You can see its dedicated icon on the left panel.
  3. Select your pen drive from here and right-click to get its context menu. Click on the 'Get Info' option to proceed.
  4. This will display a pop-up with crucial details related to the connected pen drive. Here, you can view the format of the selected USB drive.

While formatting a pen drive, users get an option to change its format. Ideally, Mac supports different pen drive formats for a USB drive that you can pick from, as per your convenience.

  • ExFAT: Extended FAT is one of the most common formats out there. It works smoothly on every major platform like Windows, PlayStation, Xbox, and even Linux.
  • FAT: While the File Allocation Table format also supports cross-platform compatibility, it is not as reliable as exFAT. For instance, it supports the maximum file size of 4 GB. Ideally, it is best suited for systems with FAT32.
  • OS X (Journaled): This is the traditional native file format for macOS, which is commonly known as the HFS+ format. Apart from storing data, it can also be used as a Time Machine backup.
  • OS X (Case-sensitive, Journaled): This is similar to the previous option, with a case-sensitive feature. Although Mac is not case-sensitive, systems like UNIX are.
  • OS X Extended (Journaled, Encrypted): If you want to protect your thumb drive, then go for this option. It is similar to the OS X Journaled version with encryption. That is, users are required to authenticate (via password) to access it.
  • OS X Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled, Encrypted): This is an encrypted and case-sensitive version of OS X Journaled.

Part 4. How to Remove History on Mac Firefox

By now, you must be able to reformat thumb drive on Mac without any trouble. If you are finding it hard to access the pen drive content on Mac, then don't worry. The operating system is pretty user-friendly and will let you access the connected pen drive without any trouble.

  1. Firstly, make sure that the pen drive has been properly inserted on your Mac's USB slot. As soon as the pen drive is detected, you will get its shortcut on the desktop. Just double-click it, or right-click and open it.
  2. Alternatively, you can also access the USB drive content via Finder as well. Go to Mac's desktop and click on Finder > File > New Finder Window. This will open a new Finder Window on your Mac.
  3. On the left sidebar, you can see all the shortcuts and partitions. Under the 'Devices' or 'External' tab, you can see your pen drive's icon. Just double-click it to open its file system.
  4. In the end, after when you have finished working with the pen drive, you can unmount it. Select the pen drive's icon and right-click it to get its context menu. Click on the Eject option to safely remove it.

Part 5. How to Recover Deleted History on Mac

If you are lucky, then you would be able to format a pen drive on Mac without facing any setback. Though, chances are that you might get the 'Pen Drive Not Formatting' error on Mac as well. Try following these simple yet smart solutions to fix the pen drive not formatting issue on Mac.

• Reinsert the USB drive

If you have not properly inserted the USB drive to Mac, then you might encounter this issue. To fix this, just remove the pen drive and clean the USB slot on your Mac. After a while, insert it once again, and check if it has been detected or not.

• Reinsert the USB drive

If you have not properly inserted the USB drive to Mac, then you might encounter this issue. To fix this, just remove the pen drive and clean the USB slot on your Mac. After a while, insert it once again, and check if it has been detected or not.

• Check the format

Some formats of the pen drive, like NTFS, are not supported by Mac. You can go to the thumb drive's properties to view its format. In case if it has an NTFS format, then you need to use a third-party tool to access it or format the flash drive on Windows instead.

• Fix the USB drive

There might be some problem with the USB drive storage as well. In order to fix this, go to Mac's Applications and launch Disk Utility on it. Select the connected pen drive and click on the 'First Aid' option from its toolbar. This will check the USB storage and would try to fix its file system as well.

• Reset PRAM

The Parameter Random Access Memory on Mac can also lead to the pen drive, not formatting issue. Luckily, it can easily be fixed by restarting Mac. Power it off or simply restart it from the Finder. While Mac is restarting, press the Command + Option + P + R keys at the same time to reset its PRAM.

• Update macOS

If your Mac is running on an outdated version, then it might encounter compatibility issues with the connected pen drive. The easiest way to update its drivers and firmware is by upgrading it to a stable version. Just click on the Apple menu on Finder and select 'Software Update'. This will make your system look for the recent macOS update that is compatible with it.

Part 6. How to Perform Pen Drive Data Recovery on Mac

Sometimes, users end up formatting a pen drive by mistake as well. If you also have accidentally deleted data on Mac or have formatted a pen drive, then take the assistance of Recoverit Data Recovery Mac. Developed by Wondershare, it is one of the most advanced and trusted data recovery tools for Mac. The latest update of Recoverit 8.0 has been released that is equipped with tons of high-end features. You can now recover all kinds of data from a Mac or a pen drive with a single click.

  • Using Recoverit 8.0, you can get back your lost photos, videos, documents, compressed files, and numerous kinds of data easily.
  • The application is known to produce exceptional results in less time. It also features a user-friendly and intuitive interface that does not require any prior technical knowledge.
  • It supports data recovery on all types of USB drives. This includes pen drives from brands like Kingston, SanDisk, Sony, HP, Samsung, and more. Also, it supports leading file formats like NTFS, HFS, FAT, exFAT, etc.
  • The interface will let you preview the extracted data first. Later, users can selectively save their files to a location of their choice.
  • Recoverit supports data recovery under every possible scenario like formatted drive, accidental deletion, malware attack, and so on.

If you want to perform pen drive data recovery using Wondershare Recoverit 8.0, then simply follow these basic steps:

Step 1: Connect your USB drive and select it

Firstly, connect your pen drive to your Mac and make sure it is detected by it successfully. Subsequently, launch Wondershare Recoverit 8.0 and pick a location to scan. In this case, it will be the connected USB drive. If you want, you can browse to a specific location as well.

Step 2: Scan for any lost content

Format flash drive mac to fat32

During the data recovery process, you are expected to wait for it to be completed. The interface will let you know the progress on the screen. Kindly don't disconnect the pen drive from Mac as of now to get better results.

Step 3: Recover your data

In the end, when the data recovery process is completed, you will be notified. Now, you can preview your photos, videos, and documents on the interface and select the files of your choice. Click on the 'Recover' button and save them to a trusted location. It is recommended not to save them back to the USB drive.


By following this informative guide, you would certainly be able to format the pen drive on Mac. Apart from that, we have also discussed ways to fix issues like pen drive not formatting as well. Though, if you have accidentally formatted your flash drive, then take the assistance of Recoverit Data Recovery. Being one of the best data recovery tools, it will certainly help you in an unforeseen data loss scenario. You can download its freely available version and keep it handy to do pen drive data recovery during any unwanted situation.

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Many users are looking for tools like 'HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool for Mac', 'Sandisk USB Format Tool Mac', 'Kingston USB Format Tool Mac', 'Lexar usb format tool mac', 'sd card format tool mac' or 'usb disk storage format tool mac' hoping that there are this kind of tools that could be used on Mac for formatting their hard drive or usb flash drive on MAC OS X, or sometimes you are searching for a bootable format tool on mac just as what HP Format Tool could perform the trick.

Some users may also want to erase the privacy files on their device by getting it formatted, is formatting true erasing on MAC? Could formatted files be retrieved? We will explain all this in this content.

Note: before any formatting or erasing the disk/pen drive, we would recommend you backup your data on your media that you want to format onto another device to avoid unintentionally data loss. We would not expect this happen that you accidentally reformatted your disk/usb stick and then later found out you had just lost some important files.

Also read: 5 best free backup software, or how to repair damaged usb drive on MAC

Table of Content

  1. HOT FAQs

8 MAC Formatters for USB/SD/HDD

Here is a list of disk or usb formatting tools for mac or ways of formatting disk/usb flash on MAC to get it done.

Tool 1 - Disk Utility provided by Mac OS, the best free tool to format device

Disk Utility - the best free mac format and erase tool that is provided by Apple Inc. for users to manage digital devices not only the internal media but also external drives like hard disk, usb flash and more.

Note: Erasing and formatting with Disk Utility would delete files on devices, the deleted files could be no longer accessible without some professional data recovery tools, which usually cost around $60-100.

How to format/erase usb disk or memory card on MAC using Disk Utility

Here are the steps that you may follow to get your device formatted/erased.

  • Get your device connected to MAC, and backup your data to somewhere else at first as the preparetion.
  • Open Disk Utility, which can be found in Applications -> Utility
  • View -> Show all devices
  • Select the one you want to erase/format, and then click the Erase button. (The same function that is to perform the function of 'Format')
    Open Disk Utility
  • Select a file system for it (if you want to format it fat32, select FAT. Exfat would be recommended since it is more powerful that fat32, later the difference would be explained)
    Choose a file system to format
  • Confirm Erase
    Confirm erase to get it formatted/erased

See the video guide here.

Pros: - More than just a format tool on MAC

  1. It is able to format a disk or usb flash to be hfs+, fat, EXFAT and more. (FAT VS FAT32 VS NTFS will be explained in the following parts)
  2. It provides repairing functions to repair your storage device if it became damaged - that stars itself among the rest tools.
  3. It is free of charge


  1. It does not provide NTFS file system while formatting.
  2. It is not truely data erasing since formatted/erased files could still be restored by other paid mac data recovery tools

File System Difference HFS+ VS FAT VS VS FAT32 VS EXFAT VS NTFS (Which one to use?)

File SystemCompatible with macOS?Compatible with Windows?Max. file sizeMax. partition size
HFS+YesNoNo limitNo limit
exFATYesYesNo limitNo limit
NTFSPartially(Not provided by Disk Utility in Mac when formatting)YesNo limit
td>No limit

Note: NTFS file system is not provided in Mac erasing/formatting inside of Disk Utility. If you want your device to be NTFS, you need to try other format tools or a Windows PC to get it formatted. Only by formatting could its file system be changed.

Which file system would you suggest for my device while formatting/erasing?->> EXFAT, which both works on MAC and Windows 10 compatible with no limit in file size and file storage size, volume size and you don't have to download other tools to get it formatted but just with the power of Disk Utility.

What if I want to use NTFS as my device file system, which tool shall I use to get it changed? Try some other mac format tools instead of Disk Utility. (We would tell you later in another article.)

How to tell which file system does my digital device apply?

Mac machines: right click your device in Mac -> Get Info -> General -> Format, and see what it shows, if it says 'MS-DOS FAT32', it means your drive is in fat32 file system, which is compatible with both Mac and Windows.

Windows PCs: You may get your device connected to Windows, and then right click it -> Property ->General, and you will see a photo that shows the information on file system.

File system is FAT32

Using Flash Drive On Mac

Note: if your device is damaged and shows RAW FILESYSTEM, you may follow this guide to get it repaired: How to repair drive raw file system

Damaged media raw file system

You may also want to read: how to change raw file system to ntfs; how to convert raw file system to fat32

Tool 2 - WD Drive Utilities, formerly WD Quick Formatter by Western Digital Corporation (Freeware)

WD Quick Formatter is able to reformat any hard drive (not limited to WD Hard drives) to hfs+ or exfat file system and data on the drive would also be erased while changing its file system. No chance for a recovery unless with some special data recovery utility.

Hp Format Flash Drive

WD Drive Utilities formerly WD Quick Formatter

WD Drive Utilities software allows you to configure, manage, and diagnose your WD drive. With WD Drive Utilities, you can

  • Run drive diagnostics
  • Manage RAID configuration (For RAID supported models)
  • Erase and format drive
  • Set drive sleep timer (on supported drives)
  • Register drive

(Information provided by WD)

You may download it here

If the above link expired, go to this page and get a download.

Problem is the same using Clementine 1.1 on a Mac Mini with Mac OS X 10.6.8 and an Apple bluetooth keyboard. Copy link dland commented Nov 14, 2014. Clementine is a multi-platform music player and library organizer inspired by Amarok 1.4. It has a fast and easy-to-use interface, and allows you to search and play music from your local library, internet radio, songs you’ve uploaded to cloud storage, and more! Clementine is a modern music player and library organizer Clementine is a multiplatform music player. It is inspired by Amarok 1.4, focusing on a fast and easy-to-use interface for searching and playing your music. Clementine 1.3.1. Compiling Clementine from source is easy on Linux. Download the source code package from the list above, and in a terminal window: cd bin cmake. Make sudo make install. Clementine player mac os x.

Tool 3 - Freecome Hard Drive Formatter or also called FHD Formatter for MAC by Freecome Technologies (Freeware)

Format Usb Flash Drive Windows

This freeware is able to format digital device to be hfs+, fat32 as options while choosing a file system to format/erase.

It is called Freecom Mobile Drive CLS FHD Formatter Utility 1.15 or FHDFormatter for Mac.

Download sites: we checked the websites and only found the download is available on softpedia and softinformer. See the download link here

Bottomline: we would recommend you stay with the first two freeware Disk Utility or WD Disk Utility.

Tool 4 - SD Memory Card Formatter for Mac - free

SD Memory Card Formatter for Mac is introduced by as a external device storage formatter that is able to format usb flash, memory card on MAC for free. See details and download url at this page

Download url:

Tool 5 - BitRaser, formerly named Stellar Disk Wipe by Stellar Information Technology(30 days free trial, Paid utility)

This one is useful that could erase confidential information on your devices. It has both Mac edition and Windows edition. And admin console, network erasure is still available as enterprise solution offered by Stellar. Highly recommended paid tool.


File eraser and Drive Eraser for different users need. Mobile eraser available too.

Tool 6 - AweEraser by Magoshare (Paid utility)

Tool 7 - Super Eraser by DoYourData (Paid utility)

Tool for erasing data on digital device on MAC. The erased/formatted files could not be restored. It needs a pay.

Free alternative of DOYOURDATA Super Eraser Mac - Mac Disk Utility

Tool 8 - MacClean360 by DoYourData (Paid utility)

It is a Mac cleaning tool that could clean files on Mac for digital devices. You may use the first Tool 1 Mac Disk Utility or WD Disk Utility as free alternative instead of this paid tool.


Mac Disk Utility and WD Disk Utility is highly recommended for no matter formatting a device or erasing a device, or repairing device errors.

If you want to erase files or erase drive permanently without any chance of recovery, try the Tool 3 - BitRaser provided by Stellar Information on Mac, if you don't mind erasing the device on Windows, freeware IM-Magic Partition Resizer Free could erase files/drive permanently.

Also read: 4 free tools to delete files or erase drive permanently on Windows

How to format usb flash or disk fat32 on Mac

Since Mac Disk Utility provides the formatting file system fat, exfat, you may want to know what's the difference between fat and fat32, or exfat?

See this is a photo that shows what's available when formatting the media in Disk Utility.

Choose a file system to format

More mac fat32 format tools? See how to format sd/usb fat32 on mac

  1. Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
  2. Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted)
  3. Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled)
  4. Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled, Encrypted)
  5. MS-DOS(FAT) ----This is fat32, what you need
  6. ExFat - recommended since it both works on Mac and Windows OS and it has no limit in file size and partition size.

Mac Disk Utility already provides an option when choosing a file system - MS-DOS(fat), WHICH IS FAT32 WHAT YOU WANT.

Note: Mac OS (FAT) is compatible with both Windows PC and Mac platforms, however, there's a limit to trasnferring files over 4GB.

The Answer - choose MS-DOS(FAT) ----This is fat32, what you need. However we would suggest you use EXFAT.

Formatting VS Erasing (Is formatting or erasing permanent data deleting?)

Formatting, is to make a media a new place for data storage that you may change its file system while you format it. Formatted drive data would be marked as available for new data to take its space.

There are three levels of formatting

  1. quick format (no disk error checking and repairing)
  2. full format (includes repairing bad blocks)
  3. low-level format (it could only be performed by professional low level format tool, which is usually shorten the life of device)

Erasing, is to remove information on your device, which is more simplier than formatting, however it is not true wiping out all the information since erased files could be restored with help of free data recovery software.

Well, the truth is data could also be destoryed if you continue using your device after the formatting or the erasing and saved a huge number of files. If no data was saved to formatted/erased media, data could still be restored with professional tools.

How to erase data permanently on mac with freeware

Since erased files or erased media could still be recovered in Mac Disk Utilities and WD Disk Utlities, you may want to query how to erase data permanently on Mac? Is there any freeware that could do the permanent deleting?

The answer: BitRaser is a 30 days free program for erasing files permanently on Mac, we failed to find other free tools for the permanent erasing at this time.

Option: Erase data permanently with freeware on Windows OS using freeware IM-Magic Partition Resizer Free that provides 'Wipe Partition' to get everything truely deleted and removed without a chance of recovery.

Also read: 4 free tools to delete files or erase drive permanently on Windows

HP USB DISK Storage Format Tool for Mac Download

Is there HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool Mac available? Can I use HP USB Format Tool on Mac?

So far as we know that the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool, also called HP USB Format Uility by users is only for Windows OS for example Windows 10/8.1/7/Vista/XP and there was no news coming from the developer that a MAC edition would be released.

HP USB Disk Format Tool is provided by HP for disk formatting and making a bootable usb, however this program only provides Windows editions which is compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, 7, Vista, and XP.

The Answer: There is no mac edition of HP USB Format Tool, however here are some free solutions if you want to use it on MAC.

Formatting in HP USB Disk Format Tool, could be replaced by Disk Utility in Mac that you may save downloading HP USB Format Tool for Mac.

Creating bootable usb in HP USB Disk Format Tool, could be replaced by a bootable MacOS high sierra usb install drive, see the following video

Another option: see how to create a bootable installer for MacOS on

Also read: HP USB Format Tool Review and Error Fixing

Last updated on June 17, 2020

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