Format External Hard Drive or USB Drive for Mac

Tracy King updated on Sep 10, 2020 to Partition Master | How-to Articles

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 volumes with NTFS format.

So, if you want to use a USB flash drive or an external hard drive with NTFS format on Mac, you should first reformat the devices to 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 on Windows PC using third-party USB format tool 

Now, you can 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 Disk Utility on Mac.

  1. 1. Connect the USB or external hard drive to your Mac computer.
  2. 2. Launch the Disk Utility by clicking "Applications" > "Utilities".

Format USB, external hard drive on Mac.

  1. 3. Locate and click on your USB or external hard drive in Disk Utility and then click on "Erase".

Format external hard drive/USB on Mac.

  1. 4. Next to "Format", click the contextual menu and select "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)".
  2. 5. Reset the drive name and click "Erase", confirm the operation on the next pop-up window.

Format external hard drive or USB drive for Mac.

  1. 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 to make 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. If you stored important data on the USB or external hard drive, you can try this tool to convert NTFS to FAT32 without formatting.  

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 Windows 10 is supported


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 Hard Drive Partition - Step 1

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

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 2

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

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 3

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

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 4

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

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose EaseUS Partition Master?

"I've used Partition Master Professional many times to create, delete, format, move, rename, and resize partitions."PCWorld

"Partitioning tools have come a very long since the days of complicated command line utilities and EASEUS Partition Master is one of the most advanced programs available."TECH ADVISOR

"I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes."Lifewire

Will the "Migrate OS" feature transfer the Windows system files only or the whole C drive?

To ensure that the migrated system will boot normally, the Migrate OS feature will transfer all the files in the system and the boot partitions. Generally, the boot partition is the C drive so the transfer will include all the files in C.

Does EaseUS Partition Master license apply to multiple computers?

The license of Partition Master Professional and Server editions can be used on 1 computer only, while that for for the Technician and Unlimited editions can be used on multiple machines.

What is the difference between EaseUS Partition Master Trial version and the Free version?

Free is for home users only, with most basic functions available such as partition resize and clone. While trial can help you understand how this product works and test what a full license can do on a business or server OS machine.

Will it cause any data loss after resizing the partition in EaseUS Partition Master?

Generally, it will not cause any data loss or boot issue by resizing a partition. However, in order to protect your data, we suggest that you backup the partition before resizing, in case of any unexpected situations such as power outages, computer hardware failures, etc. You can use EaseUS Todo Backup to backup the partition and its trial version is fully functioned for 30 days.

What should I prepare before resizing the partition?

On the partition that is going to be operated, there might be some files being occupied by other programs. To ensure a successful operation, we suggest that you close all the unnecessary software before resizing that partition. Otherwise, EaseUS Partition Master will detect the partition being locked by the other software and require a reboot to resize the partition under boot mode.

About EaseUS Partition Master

All-round disk & partition management software for personal and commercial use. Let it manage your storage drive: resize, format, delete, clone, convert, etc.

Video Tutorial

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