How to Format a Hard Drive on macOS

Clean your old hard drive using a Mac.
Ash Ash (337)
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

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.

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Starting with a silly and inventive opening that even showed Tim Cook (an almost convincing actor of course) getting out of a Delorean, the Apple Keynote at the WWDC21 (Worldwide Developers Conference 2021), the 32nd annual computer conference, was nothing short of exciting. Because Apple's new product releases tend to be announced during the Fall WWDCs, this Apple keynote did not announce any exciting new products or gadgets to be bought; instead the June 2021 Apple keynote focused on the new iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and macOS, as well as the new features, apps, and app changes that correspond to these updates. While there are no fun, new Apple products to announce, I am excited to say, it didn't make this Apple keynote any less awesome for Apple users. There are plenty of new features to be released that will have you all pumped about your Apple products and their new capabilities. I have been watching the Apple Keynotes, eagerly awaiting their new product launches, and working with Apple products for years. Some of the new features announced at the WWDC21, are this Apple enthusiast's most anticipated Apple features of all time. So, to put it simply, Apple's keynote at the WWDC21 has my stamp of approval, even if a few of these updated features are long overdue. 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.