How to Format a USB Drive on Mac 2024? (3 Quick Solutions)

Have you tried using a USB on your Mac, only to find that you could not write files to it at all?

How to Format a USB Drive on Mac? Most computers are Windows-based, and thumb drives tend to be formatted for Windows. You’ll have to reformat your flash drive unless it was specifically designed to run on macOS.

Here’s how to format a thumb drive on a Mac. (Format A USB Drive 2024)

Disk Utility supports different file system formats


This file format can be used on multiple devices, including PCs and gaming consoles. This format is compatible across multiple platforms, including PCs and gaming consoles. This format is ideal for cross-platform use.

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This format is very compatible, but also somewhat limited. You can, for example, only store files smaller than 4GB. Avoid FAT32 unless a specific system calls for it.

Mac OS Extended Journal (Journaled).

It is recommended that devices used with Macbooks use this file system. The Mac format is used to preserve the integrity of the hierarchical file system.

Mac OS Extended (case-sensitive, journaled).

The format is very similar to journaled, except that the folder names are all case-sensitive.

The file format, for example, differentiates between a folder called “MYFOLDER” and a folder entitled “Myfolder.” We recommend using the “Journaled Format” unless this is required.

Two Simple Ways to Reformat USB Drives

You can reformat a thumbdrive in two different ways:

  1. Disc Utility Tool
  2. The Terminal

Check the format of the USB drive before formatting it.

Click on the Finder directory, and then look for the device in the left-side menu. Click on the “Get Information” button by right-clicking on the device’s name.

You’ll see information about the device once you click “Get Info.” You can view the format of your device under “Format.”

How to Format a Flash Drive Disc Utility for Mac

Open Disc Utility Tool

  • Press the “Command Button” and “Space” together on the keyboard to launch “Spotlight Search” or any other search app you have installed. We love Alfred.
  • Click the magnifying-glass icon and then type “Disc Utility.”.
  • Open the “Disc Utility Tool” by clicking on the first suggestion.

If for some reason you can’t bring up “Spotlight Search,” navigate to the “Finder directory” and click “Applications.”.

Navigate to the “Utilities” folder in the “Applications folder”. The “Disc Utility tool” can be found in the “Utilities folder”.

2. Reformat the USB drive.

  • The “Disc Utility” tool looks like this:
  • Choose the USB drive you want from the menu to the left of the screen.
  • Click “Erase” in the toolbar at the top. Then, you’ll need to choose a drive name and format. Mac OS Extended is the recommended format. However, depending on your needs, you can choose the option that best suits you.
  • It is important to read “Security Options” before formatting your USB drive. You will be asked to choose how you want to delete your data.
Reformat the USB drive

You might be aware that certain disc recovery software can recover the data you deleted if you use the fastest method possible. We like disc drills.

Choose “Most Secure” if you do not want to recover your data. If you choose a more secure erase, it could take longer to format the drive.

Click “Erase” once you have selected all your options.

That’s it! You have successfully formatted your USB.

Smaller devices that have a few files can be formatted quickly. Formatting can take longer if you have many files or if your erased data is not secure.

How to format a USB drive on a Mac with the Terminal

The terminal can perform almost everything that you would do in the GUI. The Terminal is a simple way to navigate your Mac and perform certain tasks.

How to format a USB drive with Terminal

Note: Terminal is only for advanced Mac users. It requires precise syntax.

1. The magnifying glass will appear. Type “Terminal” into the search box. A window with the below title will appear.

If you cannot open “Spotlight Search,” navigate to “Finder” and click on the “Utilities’ folder. You’ll then find “Terminal.”

2. Enter the following command to display all mounted devices in your system:.

diskutil list

3. Select the device you wish to format from this list and then use the Terminal.

Format the drive using the syntax below:


4. You can give any name to your device by entering it as the disc name.

To find your Disk identifier, refer to the list you found after typing the command diskutil list.

You’ll find it in the IDENTIFIER column.

Your preference will determine the file system you choose. The syntax is as follows:.

  • Formatting for MacOS Extended Journaled (JHFS+)
  • Formatting MacOS Extended (HFS+).
  • Formatting MS-DOS FAT to FAT32
  • Formatting ExFAT to ExFAT

You can use the following command to rename your disc to “MyDisk” and format it as macOS Extended Journaled:

diskutil erasedisk JHFS+ MyDisk disk2


MacOS only supports a limited number of USB formats, which is not so different than using USB drives with other operating systems.

Now you can format the USB drive using the Disc Utility or Terminal. Player’s choice!

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