Different Ways to Format Mac Drive

There are few file formats you can use to format a drive. But the right one depends on what you are going to use the drive for.


Some of the File formats and ways to Format mac drive are described below:

APFS (Apple File System)

This file system is bought for Mac by Apple with High Sierra, which is the default if you are using that specific version of macOS. The good thing about this file system is that it is more efficient and more reliable. You can choose an encrypted and case-sensitive version by your own choice but it can not be accessed by a Mac that is not running High Sierra.

macOS Extended

Apple File SystemPFS replaced macOS Extended as the default file system on the Mac when Apple launched High Sierra in 2017. You can encrypt your drive and the user needs to enter a password to access the drive. There is also an option of macOS Extended, which is used when you are likely to have file names that require capital letters.

MS-DOS FAT (aka FAT32)

This file system can be read and written by Mac, so you want to use this if you regularly share drives with any of your friends or colleagues and want them to access the files you place on the drive. But, this is an older file system that is limited to 4GB or smaller. Moreover, FAT32 offers no security and it is more susceptible to disk errors. Learn more about FAT32.


This file system is similar to FAT32, mentioned above. Mac can read drives formatted with this. The main difference between ExFAT and FAT32 is that it can store files over 4GB.


This is Windows’ default file system. Mac can only read NTFS but it can’t write to it. However, there are third-party tools that allow you to do so.

How to format mac drive

Here’s a method on how to format a drive:

  • Launch Disk Utility
  • Once Disk Utility is open you’ll see the list of available drives on the left.
  • Choose the drive you’d like to format

how to format mac drive

NOTE: Formatting the drive will erase the contents, so make sure you back it up first

  • Click on the Erase option
  • Disk Utility will automatically choose the format for you
  • If you’d like to use something else, click on the Formatting options to reveal the drop-down window
  • Choose the format you require depending on how you intend to use the formatted drive
  • After that rename the file

 chose format mac drive

  • Now click the Security Options button. Another window popped up that enables you to choose how you would like the drive to be formatted
  • For higher security move the slider and select your desired option

security option

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  • You can also overwrite the drive three times in the next step
  • Click on Erase and wait until the content is removed, and the drive gets ready to use.

erase drive

Now copy your files to the newly formatted drive. Learn Different Trends, Techniques & Features of Mac OS, Visit our How to / Mac Section.