How to Format an SD Card on Mac

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SD Card

The greatest approach to safely repurpose an outdated SD card or securely wipe a brand new one is to format it. If you need to format an SD card on a Mac, comply with this information.

Bought a brand new SD card or simply repurposing a spare? It could be a good suggestion to format it first.

Formatting an SD card wipes the slate clear by eradicating any hint of older recordsdata. It additionally permits you to change the file system on an SD card (new or outdated), permitting different gadgets the flexibility to learn and write to them—together with Macs. There are dangers concerned, nevertheless, and you possibly can lose your knowledge or corrupt your SD card with out taking precautions.

If you’re not sure how to format an SD card on Mac and also you need to do it safely, comply with these steps.

Before You Format SD Cards on Mac

Before you’ll be able to format an SD card on macOS, you’ll want to ensure you have a card reader. Some Macs have them, however many don’t.

Luckily, SD card readers aren’t costly. If your Mac doesn’t have an built-in card reader, you’ll want to buy one.

Next, you want to know the correct file system to use. This is fairly straightforward to determine. For SD playing cards smaller than 32GB, use the FAT32 file system. Any playing cards greater than 32GB in dimension require the exFAT file system.

Once you’ve decided the file system you’ll want, you’ll be able to then start to format your SD card. The greatest methodology is to use the Disk Utility app, however third-party alternate options like SD Card Formatter can be found.

How to Format an SD Card on Mac Using Disk Utility

You don’t want any particular software program to format an SD card on your Mac, as you need to use the built-in Disk Utility app as a substitute.

Disk Utility permits you to format SD playing cards on your Mac safely. You may use the software to format USB flash drives, exterior exhausting drives, or inside drive partitions.

To format an SD card on Mac utilizing Disk Utility:

  1. Insert your SD card within the reader. If you’re utilizing a USB card reader, plug it into an out there USB port on your Mac.
  2. Open Disk Utility by way of the Launchpad folder on your Dock. Alternatively, press Cmd+Space and sort disk utility.
  3. In the Disk Utility window, press the view icon and choose Show All Devices.
    macOS disk utility view options
  4. The SD card ought to be listed within the External part on the left—choose it.
    • Unformatted SD playing cards shall be listed as UNTITLED or NO NAME. If you’re not sure how to select the proper drive, take a look at the storage capability. It ought to be shut to the sizing marketed on your SD card packaging.
  5. At the highest of the window, click on Erase.
    Disk Utility Erase SD Card
  6. Name your SD card. Keep it brief and keep away from particular characters and areas to guarantee most compatibility.
  7. Next, select the file system. Pick MS-DOS (FAT) for playing cards smaller than 32GB and exFAT for bigger SD playing cards.
  8. Click Erase.
  9. After a number of moments, you’ll see affirmation that the method is full. Press Done to exit.
    Disk Utility Erase SD Card - Process Complete

If the cardboard is formatted efficiently, you’ll be able to start utilizing it to retailer essential recordsdata or photographs. Alternatively, you’ll be able to take away it out of your Mac and use it on different gadgets that help your card’s new file system.

How to Format SD Cards on Mac Using the Terminal

If you favor to do issues the old school approach, you may as well format your SD card utilizing the Terminal app.

Note: You ought to use excessive warning earlier than you do that. Commands like diskutil will fortunately erase nearly any drive you specify within the Terminal. This is a step for superior customers solely—in the event you’re nervous, use Disk Utility as a substitute.

To format an SD card utilizing Terminal on Mac:

  1. Insert your SD card within the reader. If you’re utilizing a USB card reader, plug it into an out there USB port on your Mac.
  2. Open the Terminal app by way of Launchpad on the Dock. Alternatively, press Cmd+Space and sort terminal.
  3. To discover the distinctive identifier in your SD card, sort diskutil listing.
  4. Look for the phrase exterior and match the storage capability. In this instance, /dev/disk4 is the proper drive.
  5. For 32GB and smaller playing cards, sort the next (and change /dev/disk4 along with your right drive identify):
    sudo diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 SDCARD MBRFormat /dev/disk4
  6. For 32GB and bigger playing cards, sort the next (changing /dev/disk4 first):
    sudo diskutil eraseDisk ExFAT SDCARD MBRFormat /dev/disk4

    diskutil eraseDisk progress

  7. If prompted, sort your person password.
  8. After a number of moments, the command will end and your SD card shall be formatted and prepared to be used.
    diskutil eraseDisk complete

How to Erase an SD Card on Mac

If you intend on disposing of your SD card, it is best to utterly erase it first utilizing the dd command on Mac.

This course of is named zeroing out your card, because it entails writing over your SD card with binary knowledge—zeros and ones. This removes all knowledge from the cardboard, together with any file techniques and partition tables. You may use this software to take away protected partitions from SD playing cards that apps like Disk Utility aren’t in a position to take away.

Note: This will trigger irreparable knowledge loss because it wipes your SD card clear. You ought to solely try this in the event you’ve backed up any essential recordsdata first and also you’ve chosen the proper card to erase.

To take away protected partitions from SD playing cards:

  1. Open the Terminal app by way of Launchpad.
  2. Type diskutil listing.
  3. Find and make notice of the exterior drive that you really want to erase. The drive ought to be labeled /dev/diskX, the place X is the variety of the drive that you really want to erase.
  4. Make positive the drive isn’t mounted by typing the next (changing /dev/diskX with the proper drive label):
    sudo diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskX
  5. To erase the drive, sort the next (changing /dev/diskX):
    sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/diskX bs=1m
  6. Allow time for the method to full. Depending on the dimensions of your SD card, this course of may take a number of hours.
  7. The dd command will output a completion message—exit the Terminal app at this stage.
  8. Open the Disk Utility app by way of Launchpad and format your drive utilizing your most well-liked file system (eg. FAT32 or exFAT).dd zero out sd card

Formatting SD Cards Using SD Card Formatter

If you’d desire to use a third-party software to format SD playing cards on your Mac, you need to use the SD Card Formatter software.

Provided by the SD Association (the physique that controls the Secure Digital specification for playing cards), this free software rapidly and safely codecs SD playing cards on your Mac. One distinct profit to this software is that it’ll not by accident erase drives that aren’t SD playing cards.

SD Card Formatter additionally mechanically detects the dimensions of your card and chooses the proper file system to use. It’s simple to use—choose the cardboard, formatting choice, and new drive label, then press Format.

SD Card Formatter

SD Card Formatter is out there for latest macOS variations, relationship again so far as OS X 10.7 Lion. You can download SD Card Formatter from the SD Association web site.

Reasons Why an SD Card Won’t Format on Mac

There are a number of the reason why your SD card might refuse to format on your Mac. These embody:

  • Malware an infection
  • Unsafe or improper ejection.
  • The SD card has change into corrupted.
  • The SD card is protected by another means.

If you think any of those, you need to use the dd command to attempt to wipe the cardboard and begin from scratch. If this fails, nevertheless, you’ll have no alternative however to change the cardboard solely.

Using Your Formatted SD card

Now that you know the way to format an SD card on your Mac, you’re free to use it, wipe it, and repurpose it as usually as you want.

Just keep in mind to care in your SD playing cards correctly, storing them in a protecting case when not in use. You also needs to look to correctly eject or unmount your SD playing cards while you’re finished. Failure to accomplish that may end in knowledge loss or corruption.

If that occurs, nevertheless, strive the zeroing out course of utilizing the steps outlined above, then try to reformat the SD card. If you’ll be able to’t reformat it, you’ll want to change it with a good-quality SD card that fits your wants.

Some playing cards are rated higher for long-term use, whereas others have a smaller dimension and extra restricted lifespan. If you’re nervous about knowledge loss on an SD card, be certain to again up your essential recordsdata first.

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