Disk Formats For Macos

Disk Formats For Macos Average ratng: 9,3/10 9115 votes

MacOS Sierra 10.12 is the thirteenth major release from Apple, released on 20th September 2016 as a free upgrade via the Mac App Store.It is a digital download of approx 5 GB. Whilst the process of downloading and installing an OS through the Mac App Store is straightforward enough, it’s painful for people with a slower internet connection, or if they’ve multiple Macs in their home. FAT32 is the cross-platform format for Windows and Mac OS X. The format is good for handling the files between both OS under 4GB size. The USB drivers come with the FAT format by default. ExFat: ExFRat is the upgraded version or FAT32 file system, that supports more than 4GB in a single file. The SSD drives are formatted in ExFat by default to support both Windows and Mac OS X. Dec 29, 2015 How to Format an External Drive in OS X. Connect the drive to the Mac. Open Disk Utility. The easiest way to do that is hit CMD and the spacebar at the same time and type in Disk Utility to find the program. Select the drive you want to format. If you don't plan on using the. Jan 02, 2016  With Disk Utility, you have 3 main formats that you can erase your disk to. MS – DOS (FAT) MS-DOS (FAT) is the most popular format amongst external hard disks, as it’s both readable and writable by nearly all operating systems, Windows and OS X included.

For Mac owners, one of the most annoying/inconvenient aspects of owning a Mac is the external drive compatibility. In many cases, we learn that the native format of external drives that work seamlessly with our Macs simply won’t work (or will just work in some limited form) with Windows PCs and other devices (like your PS3 for example).

In this post, we’ll try to clarify this situation and then we’ll show you how to erase/format any external drive on your Mac.

To start, here’s a brief explanation on the different disk formats that you can choose from when formatting an external drive on your Mac and the different pros and cons of each.

Choosing the Right Format

Mac OS Extended (Journaled)

Pros: This drive format is the perfect choice for working exclusively across Macs. It supports some of the most important features of the system, such as Versions, as well as allowing your drive to work as an OS X bootable drive. There is no size limit for the files you can transfer between Macs using this format.

Cons: This drive format can be read by Windows PCs, but you won’t be able to write files on it. This allows you to transfer files from your Mac to your PC but not the other way around.


Pros: Also known as FAT32, this format allows you to use your drive universally across Macs and PCs with no restrictions when reading or writing files on both systems. Another great plus of this format is that it is recognized by most non-computer systems, such as video game consoles (like the PlayStation 3 for example) TVs and more.

Cons: The big issue with the FAT32 format is that it doesn’t support files larger than 4 GB, so if you plan to transfer or simply copy files that are larger than that size, you are out of luck.

Cool Tip: We’ve previously written about the differences between NTFS and FAT32, and how to convert FAT32 to NTFS. You might want to check them out.


Pros: The exFAT format is perhaps the best choice among all these, but it still suffers from a few drawbacks (noted below). As for its pros, it behaves just as the FAT32 format but with one great plus: It supports file sizes larger than 4 GB, allowing you to easily move them between you Macs and PCs.

Cons: As mentioned above, since this format is relatively new, its main drawback is that most consumer electronics (including TVs, cameras, and video game systems) don’t support it. So for example, if you want to put a movie on your drive to watch on your TV, you are out of luck.

Formatting/Erasing Your USB Drive on Your Mac

Now, let’s learn how to format any external drive on your Mac using Disk Utility. Getting os x for a hackintosh 10.

Important Note: If you have important data on your USB drive, make sure to back it up before formatting your it.

Step 1: Connect your USB drive to your Mac and make sure it shows as mounted on your system.

Step 2: Head to the Utilities folder within the Applications folder and open Disk Utility. Once open, you will see your USB drive on the left sidebar of Disk Utility. Click on the icon for your external USB drive (the top one as shown on the picture below) to select it.

Then click on the Erase tab at the top of the window.

Step 3: On the Format: section, select your desired format, then give your USB drive a name in the Name: field and then click the Erase… button.

Optional Step: If you would prefer to erase the data on your USB drive securely to prevent any data recovery program from extracting it, click on the Security Options… button. On the

Disk Formats For Macos Mac

Secure Erase Options panel you can use the slider to select between a Fast (regular) erase or the Most Secure one, which will rewrite over your data 7 times to ensure it is completely deleted.

And there you go. Now you know exactly which format is the most convenient for your needs and best of all, you also know exactly how to apply it to your external drive.

The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.Also See#hard disk #How-to/Guides

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Disk Utility User Guide

Disk Utility on Mac supports several file system formats:

  • Apple File System (APFS): The file system used by macOS 10.13 or later.

  • Mac OS Extended: The file system used by macOS 10.12 or earlier.

  • MS-DOS (FAT) and ExFAT: File systems that are compatible with Windows.

Apple File System (APFS)

Apple File System (APFS), the default file system for Mac computers using macOS 10.13 or later, features strong encryption, space sharing, snapshots, fast directory sizing, and improved file system fundamentals. While APFS is optimized for the Flash/SSD storage used in recent Mac computers, it can also be used with older systems with traditional hard disk drives (HDD) and external, direct-attached storage. macOS 10.13 or later supports APFS for both bootable and data volumes.

APFS allocates disk space within a container on demand. The disk’s free space is shared and can be allocated to any of the individual volumes in the container as needed. If desired, you can specify reserve and quota sizes for each volume. Each volume uses only part of the overall container, so the available space is the total size of the container, minus the size of all the volumes in the container.

Choose one of the following APFS formats for Mac computers using macOS 10.13 or later.

  • APFS: Uses the APFS format.

  • APFS (Encrypted): Uses the APFS format and encrypts the volume.

  • APFS (Case-sensitive): Uses the APFS format and is case-sensitive to file and folder names. For example, folders named “Homework” and “HOMEWORK” are two different folders.

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  • APFS (Case-sensitive, Encrypted): Uses the APFS format, is case-sensitive to file and folder names, and encrypts the volume. For example, folders named “Homework” and “HOMEWORK” are two different folders.


You can easily add or delete volumes in APFS containers. Each volume within an APFS container can have its own APFS format—APFS, APFS (Encrypted), APFS (Case-sensitive), or APFS (Case-sensitive, Encrypted).

Mac OS Extended

Choose one of the following Mac OS Extended file system formats for compatibility with Mac computers using macOS 10.12 or earlier.

  • Mac OS Extended (Journaled): Uses the Mac format (Journaled HFS Plus) to protect the integrity of the hierarchical file system.

  • Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted): Uses the Mac format, requires a password, and encrypts the partition.

  • Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled): Uses the Mac format and is case-sensitive to folder names. For example, folders named “Homework” and “HOMEWORK” are two different folders.

  • Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled, Encrypted): Uses the Mac format, is case-sensitive to folder names, requires a password, and encrypts the partition.

Windows-compatible formats

Choose one of the following Windows-compatible file system formats if you are formatting a disk to use with Windows.

  • MS-DOS (FAT): Use for Windows volumes that are 32 GB or less.

  • ExFAT: Use for Windows volumes that are over 32 GB.

See alsoPartition schemes available in Disk Utility on MacAbout Disk Utility on Mac