How to Format a Hard Drive on macOS

Clean your old hard drive using a Mac.
Ash Ash (362)
10 minutes

Whether your troubleshooting an old hard drive—or preparing or backing up an SD card for a Raspberry Pi—you'll probably need to format that. We've got you covered! Today we're looking at the best ways to format a hard drive on macOS.

These processes will work for hard drives, external drives, and flash drives alike. First things first, make sure the drive you want to format is connected to your computer.

If you, instead, need to format a hard drive in Windows, we have a separate guide for that.

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Format hard drive on macOS

Navigate to Applications > Utilities and choose Disk Utility.

Select the drive you want to format from the left-hand navigation menu. Click Erase in the bottom right-hand corner.

Select a file system to format the drive with. If you're not sure, Mac OS Extended (Journaled) is a safe bet. Choose a new name for the formatted drive and click Erase.

Run diskutil list on macOS
File System Abbreviation
Mac OS Extended (Journaled) JHFS+
Mac OS Extended HFS+
MS-DOS fat32 FAT32
ExFAT ExFAT

Navigate to Applications > Utilities and choose Terminal.

Type diskutil list and press enter. This will provide a list of hard drives attached to the machine. Locate and note the name of the drive you want to format.

You can use the diskutil eraseDisk command to format a harddrive. Run the following command, be sure to make adjustments for your drive. Replace JHFS+ with any file system you need (check the chart above for a list of file systems you can use). Replace CleanDrive with the new name for your formatted drive. Put your disk name in place of /dev/disk1

diskutil eraseDisk JHFS+ CleanDrive /dev/disk1

Congratulations! Your hard drive has been formatted.

Check out the new WWDC22 Apple Keynote Highlights
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With a superhero, futuristic theme and a focus on next generation technology, Apple WWDC22 (Worldwide Developer's Conference 2022) approached Apple's newest software and technology from the mindset of world-change, equality, and ethical impact. Introduced with the statement "Code one, code all," Apple largely focused on providing education, jobs, and equal opportunity to developers, while employing a fun superhero theme complete with Craig Federighi doing a full on superhero run and combing his hands through his hair. While WWDC22's introduction was slightly less exciting and action-packed than in previous years, it focused on big-picture issues that are indisputably more important than some flashy WWDC introduction. Don't worry, though, if you were hoping for some flashy new products to buy this Fall, you won't be disappointed. Though the Apple Summer WWDC's tend to be more about software and less about hardware, there are two new products announced that you can spend the next four months or so drooling over! If you are as eager as I am to scope out those two new, next generation products, let's get into it! Note: Not every new Apple feature is listed in this article. The purpose of this article is to give you an easy-to-read version of an otherwise long event, since I know not everyone has two hours on a Monday to watch the Apple Keynote.