How to Format External SSD for Mac [Newest & Effective Ways]

Cici updated on Apr 19, 2024 | Home >Computer Instruction

Are you looking for the best solution on how to format external SSD for Mac? If so, I hope this article will help you immensely. This article will show how to format an external SSD for Mac on Windows and macOS.

What Format Should My External SSD Be for Mac? 

Before we go to how to format the external SSD for Mac, we need to figure out the best format for Mac. Four formats can be used for Mac: exFAT, FAT32, APFS, and HFS+. Let's follow the table to compare which one is the best external SSD format for Mac.

Comparison APFS exFAT FAT32 HFS+
  • More reliable
  • Better Storage Management  
  • Support Windows and Mac
  • Works well on large drives
  • Better compatibility
  • Suited for small drives
  • Support fusion drives
  • Incompatibility with the Time Machine
  • No support for Fusion drives
  • No journaling feature
  • No file compression
  • No encryption
  • No snapshot
  • No checksums
File Size
  • 8EiB (Exbibyte)
  • 16EiB (Exbibyte)
  • 4GB
  • 2GB

All four types are suitable for external SSD. The best performance on Mac is APFS. It is perfect for SSD and flash drives. exFAT and FAT32 are compatible with both Windows and Mac. So, if you want to transfer data or share files on Mac and Windows, you can format SSD FAT32 or exFAT. And HFS+ file systems are suitable for mechanical drives.

If you want to know more about these four differences, click the button below to learn more.

After understanding the correct external SSD format for Mac, it's time to choose the method of formatting it for Mac. 

Get to know the most popular and reliable External SSDs for Mac
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How to Format External SSD for Mac

If you want to format external SSD for Mac directly on your Mac, you can use the built-in tool on Mac. Disk Utility is a simple tool on Mac that can format external SSD for Mac. It can manage or format external SSDs or change the file system. It is also straightforward to operate compared to using terminal commands. Let's take a look at the steps below.

Step 1. Connect the external SSD to your Mac.

Step 2. Open "Utilities" in the Mac Finder and look for "Disk Utility."


Step 3. Select the external SSD on the left side and click "Erase" on the page.


Step 4. Name the external SSD and select the format you need.


How to Format External SSD for Mac on PC

If you want to convert NTFS to FAT32 directly for use on Mac, you can also format the external SSD for Mac on Windows. And the easiest way is to use a professional format tool on Windows: EaseUS Partition Master Free. It can format to exFAT or FAT32 easily. The simple operation makes it suitable for novices. You can format an external SSD for Mac according to the following operation.

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the partition on your external hard drive/USB/SD card which you want to format and choose the "Format" option.

Format External Hard Drive/USB/SD Card - 1

Step 2. Assign a new partition label, file system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3/EXT4/exFAT), and cluster size to the selected partition, then click "OK".

Format External Hard Drive/USB/SD Card - 2

Step 3. In the Warning window, click "Yes" to continue.

Format External Hard Drive/USB/SD Card - 3

Step 4. Click the "Execute 1 Task(s)" button in the top-left corner to review the changes, then click "Apply" to start formatting your external hard drive/USB/SD card.

Format External Hard Drive/USB/SD Card - 4

Do you find it easy to use EaseUS Partition Master? As an all-in-one disk performance optimizer, it has more powerful functions. For example, it can check diskconvert primary partition to logical, rebuild MBR, etc. Besides, if you want to know more solutions to format on windows, you can click the link below. 

related articles

How to Format SSD in Windows 11

SSDs don't need to be formatted every time, but they have to be formatted before you use them, and that is for a reason. You need to format them to clean the bad sectors, erase old data, and prepare it for fresh usage.



After learning this guide, how do you format external SSD for Mac? First, you must choose a format for your external SSD that can be read and written on Mac and then format it on Windows or Mac. Formatting on Windows is the easy and fast way with the help of EaseUS Partition Master. On Mac, Disk Utility is a good choice.

Get to know the most popular and reliable External SSDs for Mac
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FAQs of How to Format External SSD for Mac?

In addition to the detailed steps about formatting an external SSD for Mac, here are some questions and answers about external SSDs and Mac.

1. How do I get my external SSD to work on a Mac?

The most crucial point is that your SSD file format needs to match the file format of your Mac. Then open "System Preferences" and select "Startup Disk." Then select "Restart."

2. Can I format a new external hard drive for Mac?

You need to format, erase, or reconfigure a new external hard drive for Mac to read or write data. Most external hard drives are NTFS. But Mac does not support it.

3. Should I use APFS or macOS journaled?

It depends on your macOS. APFS supports macOS 10.13 and higher. At the same time, Mac OS Extended is used by macOS 10.12 or earlier. APFS is better for SSD and hard drives.

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Updated by Cici

Cici is the junior editor of the writing team of EaseUS. She accepted the systematic training on computers at EaseUS for over one year. Now, she wrote a lot of professional articles to help people resolve the issues of hard drive corruption, computer boot errors, and disk partition problems.

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