How to reformat usb on mac

Last Updated: Mar 6, 2024 by

If you’re a Mac user, you may have encountered the issue of trying to use a USB drive that is not formatted for Mac. This can be frustrating, especially if you need to transfer files or use the USB drive for storage. In order to use a USB drive on your Mac, you will need to reformat it. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to format a USB drive to NTFS on a Mac.

Check Compatibility

Before you begin the reformatting process, it’s important to check if your Mac is compatible with NTFS. NTFS is a file system used by Windows, and while Macs can read NTFS drives, they cannot write to them without additional software. If you plan on using the USB drive on both Mac and Windows computers, it’s best to format it to exFAT, which is compatible with both operating systems.

Backup Your Data

Before you reformat your USB drive, make sure to back up any important data on it. Reformatting will erase all data on the drive, so it’s important to save any important files before proceeding.

Open Disk Utility

To reformat your USB drive, you will need to use the Disk Utility application on your Mac. You can find this by going to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.

Select Your USB Drive

In the Disk Utility window, you will see a list of all the drives connected to your Mac. Select your USB drive from the list. Be sure to select the correct drive, as reformatting the wrong drive can result in data loss.

Erase the Drive

Once you have selected your USB drive, click on the “Erase” button at the top of the Disk Utility window. A pop-up window will appear, asking you to confirm the erasure. Click “Erase” to proceed.

Choose the File System

In the next pop-up window, you will be prompted to choose the file system for your USB drive. Select “ExFAT” if you plan on using the drive on both Mac and Windows computers. If you only plan on using the drive on a Mac, you can choose “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)”.

Name Your Drive

You can also choose to name your USB drive in this window. This name will appear when the drive is connected to your Mac. Once you have selected the file system and named your drive, click “Erase” to begin the reformatting process.

Wait for the Process to Finish

The reformatting process may take a few minutes, depending on the size of your USB drive. Once it is complete, you will see a message confirming that the process was successful.

Eject the Drive

Before disconnecting your USB drive, make sure to properly eject it from your Mac. You can do this by right-clicking on the drive and selecting “Eject” or by dragging the drive to the trash can.


Reformatting a USB drive on a Mac is a simple process that can be done in a few easy steps. By following this guide, you can ensure that your USB drive is compatible with your Mac and ready for use. Have you encountered any issues while reformatting a USB drive on your Mac? Let us know in the comments.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.