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Format External Hard Drive or USB Drive for Mac

Posted on Jan 15, 2018 by Tracy King to Partition Master

Summary:
Here you can learn how to format USB flash drive or external hard drive for Mac using Windows disk management tool or third-party USB format tool in simple steps.

What is the best file system for USB or external hard drive on Mac?

Windows and Mac OS X use different file systems. Windows uses NTFS and Mac can't write files to NTFS formatted volumes. So, if you want to use a USB flash drives or an external hard drive which is formatted to NTFS on Mac, you should first reformat the Mac OS Extended file system. It is the best way to ensure full Mac compatibility of a new external hard drive or flash disk. Usually, FAT32 which can be read and wrote on Mac is recommended for maximum compatibility. And if you need to transfer files larger than 4 GB between Macs and Windows computers, exFAT or MS-DOS (FAT) is better. 

How to format USB flash drive or external hard drive for Mac

But how can you format USB flash drive or external hard drive for Mac? Don’t worry! This page will show you two ways to do this job: 

Format USB or external hard drive for Mac using Mac disk utility 
Format USB or external hard drive for Mac using third-party USB format tool on a Windows PC

Now, you can learn the detailed guide and follow these two solutions to format any hard drive, flash drive, USB drive, SSD or any other external storage drive so as to make them work on your Mac now. 

Method 1. Format USB or external hard drive for Mac using Mac Disk utility

Windows offers users built-in disk management tool to create, delete, resize, merge and format partitions. You can try the following steps to format USB or external hard drive for Mac with this free tool in Windows 10.

  1. 1. Connect the USB or external hard drive to your Mac computer.
  2. 2. Launch the Disk Utility by clicking Applications > Utilities.
  3. Format USB, external hard drive on Mac.
  4. 3. Locate and click on your USB or external hard drive in Disk Utility and then click on Erase.
  5. Format external hard drive/USB on Mac.
  6. 4. Next to Format, click the contextual menu and select Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  7. 5. Reset the drive name and click Erase, confirm the operation on the next pop-up window.
  8. Format external hard drive or USB drive for Mac.
  9. Just wait for the process to complete and then you'll get compatible HFS+ file system on your external hard drive or USB, which will make your device compatible and workable on your Mac.

Method 2. Format USB or external hard drive for Mac using third-party USB format tool on a Windows PC

If you need a simpler format tool to format USB or external hard drive to FAT32 for making them work on Mac, you can apply a third-party format tool to format them on Windows PC. EaseUS partition software is a popular disk partition management tool which is available for all hard disk related jobs such as format disk partition, extend system partition, settle low disk space problem. Now you can try it to format USB or external hard drive on your Windows PC by following the steps below. And if you stored important data on the USB or external hard drive, you can try this tool to convert NTFS to FAT32 without formatting.  

Step 1. Connect the USB or hard drive to your computer, launch EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the disk you want to format and choose "Format partition".

Choose Format partition option to format USB flash drive or external hard drive for Mac

Step 2. A mini window pops out, on which you can edit the partition label and choose a file system - FAT32 which works best on Mac.

Edit the file system of the formatted USB flash drive or external hard drive

Step 3. Click "Apply" to confirm and format your hard drive or USB flash drive.

After this, you can connect your external hard drive/USB to Mac computer and use it to save data by then.