How to format a hard drive on macOS

Clean your old hard drive using a Mac.
  • by Ash (132)
  • Time to complete: 10 minutes

Whether your troubleshooting an old hard drive or preparing 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.

1

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.

2

Run diskutil list on macOS
File SystemAbbreviation
Mac OS Extended (Journaled)JHFS+
Mac OS ExtendedHFS+
MS-DOS fat32FAT32
ExFATExFAT

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.