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How to erase, format an SD card on your Mac computer?


Formatting your SD card on Mac to the correct file system will make full use of its space. This post will help you format SD cards in steps.

First, check if your Mac has an SD card slot or not. Usually, a MacBook is equipped with an SD card slot, you can insert your SD card directly into the slot. Otherwise, you need to prepare an SD card reader. Alternately, if you have a camera, use a Mini USB cable connecting the closed camera to your Mac, then alter your camera to setup.

Then, you need back up data from your SD card. If your SD card is corrupted, you can use iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac to do an SD card data recovery.

Necessary checkings before formatting an SD card on Mac

To avoid your SD card not working for reformatting, please make the following checks before formatting:

  1. Check if your SD card is Locked
  2. Check if your SD card is write-protected

Then, get down to reformat your SD card on Mac.

How to format your SD card on Mac

Option 1: Format your SD card with Disk Utility

  • 1. Open Finder, go to Applications folder and Utilities folder, launch Disk Utility.
  • 2. Select the SD card at the left sidebar and click on the Erase button at the top toolbar.
  • Click Erase
  • 3. Give the SD card a name.
  • Set the parameter to format SD card
  • 4. Select file system.
  • Select file system to format

For SD cards, we usually select exFAT or MS-DOS(FAT) as the file system.

Which file system is better? It depends on the capacity of your SD card. If your SD card is 32GB or smaller, choose MS-DOS (FAT32). If it is larger than 32GB, exFAT is better.

• How to format an external hard drive for Mac and PC?

  • 5. Select a scheme: GPT (GUID Partition Table) or MBR (Master Boot Record).
  • 6. Set security options if you want to securely erase all data.
  • Use the slider to choose how many times to write over the erased data, then click OK.
  • 7. Click on the Erase button to format your SD card.

Format SD card

If you see “Operation failed”, it means Disk Utility cannot format your SD card, try solution 2.

If you formatted a wrong SD card, try iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery to recover data from that SD card.

Option 2: Format your SD card with Terminal

If Disk Utility is unable to format the SD card, things will be more complicated. You have to force to erase the SD card with Terminal. This method is also suitable for an experienced user who is fond of using Terminal to do work on their Macs. Follow the steps below to reformat the SD card on your Mac:

  • 1. Go to “Applications > Utilities > Terminal”.
  • 2. Enter the following command into Terminal: diskutil list
  • 3. You will get a list of all your connected drives to your Mac. What you need to note down is the specific identifier for the SD card you want to format. Once you find the proper drive to erase, just copy the identifier so you can use it for the next command.
  • 4. Type in the following command into Terminal: diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 diskname diskidentifier. Replace “diskname” to the new name you want to for the SD card. And change “diskidentifier” to the disk identifier of your card.
  • For example: sudo diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 MYSD MBRFormat /dev/disk2
  • 5. Press Enter to format your SD card.

If your SD card won’t format by Terminal command, try solution 3 as below.

Opition 3: Format your SD card with the third-party application

Download a professional SD card format tool called SD Memory Card Formatter to format your SD card. It will make your SD card formatting work easy and quick.

If your SD card still can’t be formatted on Mac, try another SD card to check if your SD card is corrupted.

See also:

  • How to troubleshoot SD card problems and SD card errors?

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