How to Format USB Stick on Mac


If you will have just lately switched from a Windows PC to an Apple laptop, you might be possible experiencing some minor glitches even throughout essentially the most fundamental procedures. Windows and macOS are two totally different working techniques, so when you’ve at all times used Windows for years, Apple’s working system could not appear so intuitive.

As we stated, throughout the transition from Windows to macOS, even essentially the most fundamental operations can appear sophisticated. If you have been completely ready to format a USB stick on Windows, this process may appear just a little harder on macOS. But we guarantee you that this isn’t the case, simply get used to it.

For this purpose, we have now determined to write a sequence of articles that may show you how to throughout the transition from Windows to Mac. This information will focus on the process that enables you to format a USB stick on Mac.

Format USB stick on Mac

Let’s begin by saying that by formatting a USB stick, you’ll delete all of the recordsdata inside it and recreate a brand new file system. All this occurs each on Windows and on macOS. So, earlier than continuing with formatting the Pendrive, again up the recordsdata inside the important thing after which take a couple of minutes to select the file system that most closely fits your wants.

macOS file system

When you format a USB stick along with your Apple laptop, macOS permits you to select between 4 totally different file techniques:

  • Mac OS prolonged (journaled),
  • MS-DOS (FAT) , exFAT
  • Mac OS prolonged (case delicate, journaled),

They appear acronyms written at random and tough to perceive, however we guarantee you that it’s not that sophisticated. Here are the variations between the assorted macOS file techniques :

Mac OS prolonged (journaled)

It is the file system developed by Apple, appropriate for formatting the inner disk of the Mac, exterior arduous drives, and USB sticks used with macOS. This file system on Windows and Linux permits studying however not writing. It helps partitions with a most dimension of 2TB and allows you to handle recordsdata with a most dimension of 2TB.

Mac OS prolonged (case delicate, journaled)

It has the identical features because the file system seen above, however on this case, it could distinguish between uppercase and lowercase letters (e.g., filename.png and filename.png). Many functions don’t help this operate.


The file system developed by Microsoft is appropriate with a lot of the units on the market. Highly advisable when you intend to format a USB stick to be used on macOS and Windows or different units, comparable to TV, automobile stereo, console, and so on. It helps partitions with a most dimension of 32GB (2TB in idea) and doesn’t enable you to handle single recordsdata bigger than 4GB.


It is none apart from the evolution of the FAT. Again, this can be a file system appropriate with most units (older merchandise could not help exFAT). The limits of FAT are tremendously exceeded. exFAT helps diploma partitions up to 128PB (petabyte) and permits you to handle recordsdata bigger than 4GB.

If you intend to format a USB stick that you’ll solely use on Apple computer systems, we suggest utilizing the Mac OS prolonged (journaled) file system. For extra compatibility, use MS-DOS (FAT). If you need to use the USB stick on Mac, Windows, and different units, however you want to handle single recordsdata bigger than 4GB, use exFAT.

How to format USB stick on macOS

At this level, it’s time to transfer on to the sensible half and eventually see how to format a USB stick on Mac. Here’s all you want to do:

At this level, in a really brief time, macOS will format the USB key by deleting any recordsdata inside it and recreating the file system chosen throughout the process described above.

Security choices

Before you begin formatting the USB stick, you possibly can set the diploma of safety you need the USB drive to be formatted. In this fashion, you possibly can determine what number of occasions the information on the USB key will probably be overwritten to keep away from a potential restoration of the latter. To do it:

  • Click on the “Security Options …” button ;
  • Move the cursor within the “Security Options” window, then click on on the “OK” button.

This setting will have an effect on the time it takes to full the formatting of the USB stick. A really excessive diploma of safety will take for much longer than a decrease diploma of safety.


This is all you want to know if you would like to format a USB key on your Mac. As you possibly can see, this isn’t a sophisticated process in any respect. You want to know the appropriate steps to full the operation efficiently in a couple of minutes.