How to Format SD card on Mac? 7 Sample Ways

In the world of photography today, SD cards are a must for the majority of us. Everyone has experienced out for a shoot only to discover they either forgot their SD card or that it isn’t functioning properly. Making ensuring your memory cards are fully formatted and ready to use is crucial because of this.

Regular (re)formatting helps prevent file corruption and maintains your SD card running at its peak performance. It’s also helpful if you want to give someone one of your old SD cards but want to make sure all of your old files have been deleted from it first.

It is advisable to format the SD card with the device you will be using, if you know that device. (Most cameras offer the choice.) However, if your device lacks a format option, the next step is to use your Mac.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the process step by step after describing the easiest way to format an SD card on a Mac.

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Note: Everything on your SD card will be deleted if you format it. Before formatting, take sure to copy and save any crucial data.

How to quickly format an SD or MicroSD card on a Mac is shown here.

  1. Use an SD card reader or the SD card slot on your Mac to insert your SD card.
  2. Use Spotlight to access the Disk Utility programme by putting “Disk Utility” into the search field. As an alternative, you can locate it under the Mac Applications folder’s Utilities folder.
  3. Startup Disk Utility.
  4. Pick an SD card.
  5. Select “Erase” from the top menu bar.
  6. Decide on the proper file system format. (SD cards above 64GB should use EXFAT; SD cards 32GB or less should use MS-DOS FAT.)
  7. Press “Erase“.

Read More: How to Rename AirPods on Your Mac

How to Format SD Card on Mac

Disk Utility, a programme that comes with your Mac OS, may be used to format all types of drives (hard drives, USB drives, SD cards, etc.).

Here’s how to format your SD card using Disk Utility.

1. Connect the SD Card to your Mac

There are several ways to get your Mac to communicate with your SD card (or micro SD card). You can put your SD card right into the built-in SD card slot on your Mac if it has one. The greatest USB memory card readers are listed here in case it didn’t work.

You must need a USB card reader, such as the one shown above, or a bigger SD converter cartridge to format a micro SD card.

2. Open Disk Utility

Doing a Spotlight search for Disk Utility will open it the quickest.

The Disk Utility app is included with your macOS operating system, as was previously explained. It is accessible in a few different ways.

The easiest method is to open Spotlight and type “Disk Utility” while holding down Command and the Space Bar. By selecting the magnifying glass icon in the top right corner of your screen, you may easily start Spotlight.

Additionally, you can access it directly by going to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.

3. Select your SD Card

A drive other than your SD card should not be selected. “Secure Digital” will appear under an SD Card’s name.

Once launched Disk Utility, the left sidebar will provide a list of all your attached drives. Under “Fusion Disk,” your Mac’s internal drive will be listed together with any external USB or other linked drives.

At this point, it’s especially crucial to choose the right drive because you don’t want to mistakenly format (and erase!) anything else.

Your SD card will likely say “UNTITLED” or “NO NAME” if it is brand-new.

Check to see if you’re clicking on the SD card to ensure that.

1. The name is followed by the phrase “Secure Digital.” (In the figure above, it is circled in red.)

2. The amount of storage indicated on the right side of the screen is correct. (In this instance, the stated 64.18 GB is accurate.)

4. Click on the Erase Button

A group of buttons are located at the top of the screen. The “Erase” option is located exactly in the midst of these.

Simply select “Erase.” When you do, a pop-up window will show up.

5. Choose the SD Card Name

When you select Erase, a pop-up menu with options to rename the SD card and select the file system type will appear.

The name field can only be modified if you choose to. If you leave the card as UNTITLED or NO NAME, it will still function perfectly.

Having said that, it’s frequently advantageous to have a memorable name that sets your SD card apart from other drives or cards.

I enjoy deciding what camera the SD card will be used with will be called.

6. Choose the FileSystem Format

Select a filesystem format that your card can use: For cards 64GB or bigger, use Exfat; for cards 32GB or lower, use MS-DOS (Fat).

The Format drop-down menu lists a number of different file systems. The default operating system is Mac OS Extended (Journaled), however a digital camera cannot use this (or drone or another similar device).

You should select either ExFat or MS-DOS for SD cards and microSD cards (Fat). If your SD card is 64GB or bigger, choose ExFat. If it’s 32GB or less, select MS-DOS (Fat).

Note: Your SD card may contain a grayed-out option that reads MS-DOS if it has been pre-formatted (Fat32). Use MS-DOS (Fat) if you need Fat32 because it is the same thing (Fat).

7. Click Erase

Disk Utility will convert your SD card to the proper file system, restore all accessible storage to its maximum capacity, and erase all the data you have stored on the card once you select “Erase.”

How do I format my SD card to FAT32 on a Mac?

By following the directions above and choosing MS-DOS (FAT) from the Format dropdown menu, you can format an SD card to MS-DOS (Fat 32).

You can also utilise a Command Line in Terminal or the free SD memory card formatter programme. Both are outlined below.

Free SD Card Formatter for Mac

The SD Association offers a free programme that simplifies the process of formatting an SD card if you’re concerned about making the wrong decision or unintentionally wiping the wrong storage.

Free SD Card Formatter instantly determines which file format your card requires and ignores non-SD cards. Additionally, it enhances the card’s performance and brings everything back to SDXC standards.

There is only one screen used for the entire procedure, and that screen has two formatting possibilities.

  • Both Quick and Overwrite completely erase all stored data, rendering it impossible to ever recover.
  • Quick releases space without really destroying any raw data.
  • The name on the card serves as the Volume label, which you can modify here.

There are versions for both Mac and Windows, and it is free.

Using Mac Command Line to Format SD Cards

You can format SD cards using MacOS Terminal if you’re familiar with it. When you see volume identifiers like disk2, just make sure you can identify which disc you’re seeing.

Being careless with these phrases makes it very simple to accidentally wipe the wrong SD card.

  • Launch Terminal. (Using Spotlight to find it is the quickest.)
  • Type $ diskutil list while your SD card is connected to your Mac.

This will display a list of your system’s accessible drives.

  • Pick an SD card. (Confirm that you are certain which drive it is.)
  • Use the reformat command to format your SD card while maintaining the same file system: Reformatting disk2 with $diskutil

(In this case, disk2 is the SD card.)

Use the following command to format your SD card and modify the file system: Using the command sudo diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 MBRFormat/dev/disk2

The SD card is located in dev/disk2, and the format is set to FAT32. MBRFormat instructs disc utility to format with a Master Boot Record.

  • Hit Enter.
  • To confirm that the card was successfully formatted, type “diskutil list” one more after the procedure is finished.

A Few Things to Note

  • ExFat is not supported by MacOS versions prior to 10.6.6 (Snow Leopard).
  • Check to verify if the tiny switch on your SD card is in the “Read-only” position if you receive a “operation failed” warning in Disk Utility or the message “Cannot format write protected card” in the SD Card Formatter programme. Slide the switch to the end of the card that is plugged into the computer to release it.
  • Once more, use extreme caution while choosing your SD card in Disk Utility or Terminal.

Remember, if the option is available, it’s usually advisable to format your SD cards in the device you’ll be using them in.

However, you now know how to utilise your Mac if you need to! If you use an Apple device, see our list of the top picture editing programmes for Macs.


Can you format an SD card to FAT32 on Mac?

Yes, the first step is to put the SD card in your Mac. Step 2: Launch the Mac counterpart of Windows Disk Management, Disk Utility. 3. Choose your card, then click Erase. Step 4: Enter a new name and, if the card capacity is 32GB or less, select MS-DOS (FAT)/FAT32; otherwise, select ExFAT.

Why can’t I format SD card to FAT32?

Your SD card probably has too much space on it, which is the most frequent problem. If a flash drive has more capacity than 32 GB, formatting it into FAT32 in Windows 10 can be challenging. This is because it has lasted so long as a file system.

How do I delete files from my micro SD card on a Mac?

By clicking on them, you can choose which files or folders you want to remove. NOTE: While clicking and selecting the desired files or folders, hold down the APPLE key to pick multiple items. 5. Move the chosen files or directories to the trash.

Do you need to install an app to format an SD card on a MAC?

To format SD and microSD cards on a Mac, no additional software needs to be purchased or installed. You can format memory cards using the Disk Utility app that is a component of macOS.

Installing the free SD Card Formatter app from the SD Association has the advantages of removing the possibility of inadvertently formatting the wrong drive and perfectly adhering to the official SD specifications.

Can data be recovered after accidentally formatting an SD card?

If you inadvertently format an SD card, you might be able to retrieve your data. You will require a data recovery app, which you will need to download and install.

What Format Type should you choose when formatting an SD card on Mac?

Select MS-DOS for SD and microSD cards with a capacity of 4GB to 32GB (FAT32). Select ExFAT for SD and microSD cards with 64GB or more.

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