Formatting is the process of erasing and initializing a persistent data storage device. Be it a floppy drive, a hard drive, a solid state drive or a USB drive. In this article we'll see how to format a USB flash drive in macOS.
To get started, plug in the USB drive you want to format. Depending on what type of data there is, the drive may or may not show up on the desktop. Press both the command key and the space key at the same time to open spotlight search. Then, search for "Disk Utility" and press the enter key to open it. This utility is already installed in every Mac and helps us format, partition, give info about a storage volume and a lot more. The first thing to do here is to see physical devices instead of formatted volumes. To do that, click on view and select show all devices. Doing that will categorize all storage devices into two groups. Internal and external. Do not touch the drives in Internal section unless you exactly know what you are doing as that could destroy your Mac. As you can see under external we have our Kingston USB drive that we wish to format. In your case, the name of the drive should match the manufacturer.
If multiple drives are connected to your Mac, try disconnecting the one you wish to format and identify the one under Disk Utility. To format it, simply hold control key and click on the drive. In this menu, click on "Erase". Then, type in a new name you wish the formatted drive to be identified as. I will simply name it "16 GB" as this is the only drive that I own with 16 gigabytes of capacity.
If you intend to use the drive only on Apple computers then leave the format as "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)". This would result in a drive that does not work in Windows 10. However, if you intend to use the drive on Microsoft Windows 10, change the format to ExFAT. This results in a drive that works both on Windows and macOS.
Once this is done, simply click on the Erase button to start the formatting process. This could take anywhere from a second to a couple of seconds depending on the speed of the drive. Once you see "Operation successful" down here. Click on the done button to close the dialog. Now you should see the freshly formatted volume under the drive in the sidebar. And also, the icon for the volume on your desktop.
As we have successfully formatted our USB pen drive, click on the red button to close Disk Utility. There are several reasons why one would format a storage device. But be always cautious and keep a backup of the data, as no one wants to loose it.
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