How to Format a Drive on Mac (Simple Steps)

How to Format a Drive on Mac

Formatting a hard drive on Mac can be helpful in many scenarios such as when youโ€™re moving your drive content to another Mac or planning to sell your Mac. You can make backups of important content of your drive and then format it to erase the remaining content. In this tutorial, weโ€™ll help you know how to format a drive on Mac on your own without losing anything important.

Before we begin, be mindful that your drive content will be erased completely after formatting. So, it thereโ€™s anything that you donโ€™t want to lose, keep its backup in some external drive or another computer.

How to Format a Hard Drive for Mac

The first thing you need to do is connect an external drive.

  • Search for Disk Utility through Spotlight. When the option list appears, click on the first option called Disk Utility
  • On the next screen, you will see the list of all internal and external drives on your Mac
  • Head to the top-left corner of the screen and click View
  • Click Show All Devices
  • Head to the left side of your screen to see which external drive is to be formatted
  • Select your desired drive
  • Navigate to the top menu and click Erase
  • A small pop-up screen appears which warns that formatting the drive will erase your data stored in it
  • You need to provide a format, scheme, and name for your selected hard drive
  • Select GUID Partition Map under the scheme option (this is what most experts recommend). However, there are other options such as Mac OS Extended (Journaled), APFS (Apple File System), exFAT, MS-DOS (FAT). These all help with the data and device type
  • Once you have provided the name, scheme, and format for the hard drive youโ€™re formatting, clicks Erase to confirm your decision

Doing so will immediately format your Macโ€™s hard drive by erasing all its data.

In case you receive an error message stating that โ€œErase process has failed. Click done to continue,โ€ itโ€™s not a big problem. So, donโ€™t worry. This type of error happens due to Time Machine which keeps on working on your Macโ€™s external drive. This is a scenario of conflict between the two processes.

You can easily get rid of this error message and the problem caused by it. All you need to do is simply disable Time Machine. Hereโ€™s how you can turn it off:

  • Go to System Preferences
  • Un-check the box that is sitting in front of the option: โ€œBack Up Automaticallyโ€
  • Select the options in front of โ€œShow Time Machine in menu barโ€
  • When a new window opens, select Cancel to disable Time Machine

Once the process is turned off, you can repeat the above steps to format your hard drive.

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