How to Format TF Card [TF Card VS Micro SD Card Discussed]

How Do I Format TF Card? [I Also Compare TF Card VS Micro SD Card]

Do you have a TF card that you wish to format? Read on and get to know how to format a TF card and also learn the difference between TF card vs micro SD card.

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Oct 16, 2020 • Filed to: SD Card Solutions • Proven solutions

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"I have got my first TF Card by SanDisk, but I can't seem to format it on my Windows. Can someone tell me how to format a TF card?"

If you have also got a new TF card, then you can encounter a similar doubt regarding its formatting or usage. Since TF cards are a bit different than SD cards, a lot of people are confused about their working. To help you understand what a TF card is and its formatting process, I have come up with this guide. Besides that, I have also included a comparison between TF cards vs Micro SD cards to help you clear your doubts.

Format TF Card Banner

Part 1: What is a TF Card: TF Card vs Micro SD Card

Unlike SD cards that have been around since 1994, TF cards are relatively newer and were first released in 2004 by SanDisk and Motorola. It stands for Trans Flash card and is more compact than a standard SD card. Mostly, SanDisk is known to manufacture TF cards in different formats and sizes. Presently, TF cards come in all kinds of storage like 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB, and so on.

Is a TF Card the Same as a Micro SD Card: Know the Difference

When we talk about the TF card vs Micro SD card, there are a few parameters that can distinguish them.

TF Card vs SD Card Size


Part 2: What is the Best TF Card Format

Now when you know the difference between TF card vs micro SD card, let's get into some details. While the overall composition of them can be different, their application is almost the same. You can format the TF card in popular file systems like exFAT, FAT, or NTFS. Out of them, exFAT is the most popular and recommended file system for TF cards due to its compatibility and diverse application.

The Best TF Card for Dash Cam

A lot of people also use a TF card for their dash cameras. I would suggest getting a SanDisk 64 GB or 128 GB High Endurance TF card for it. Some other versions of TF cards that you can buy for your Dash Cam are SanDisk Extreme Pro, Plus, or V30. Just make sure that it has a fast transfer speed and can accommodate enough videos of the camera recording.

Why you might wish to format your TF card?

Ideally, there could be all sorts of reasons for formatting a TF card, including the following:

Please note that TF cards are mostly not inserted to computers in their exact form (due to their compact size). Therefore, you might need to first insert them into an SD card jacket so that they can easily be detected by your Mac or Windows PC.

Put TF Card in SD Card Jacket


Part 3: How to Format a TF Card in Windows

After learning what is a TF card, let's quickly consider different ways to format it. If you have a Windows PC, then you can discover numerous techniques to format a TF card. I would recommend these 2 trusted methods that can format any TF card in a jiffy.

Method 1: Directly Format the TF Card via Explorer

You might already know about this technique as it is commonly used to format TF and SD cards. In this, we will take the assistance of Windows Explorer to format the card in a preferred file system.

  1. At first, just insert your TF card into an SD card jacket and connect it to your Windows computer.
  2. Now, go to its Explorer > My Computer or This PC to find the connected TF card under the External device section. Simply right-click its icon and choose to format the TF card.
  3. Once the dedicated formatting window will open, you can select a preferred file system or partitioning style. Click on the "Start" button and wait for a while as it will wipe your SD card.

Format TF Card Windows

Method 2: Format a TF Card via Disk Management

Apart from the Explorer, you can also take the assistance of the Disk Management application to format your TF card. This is an inbuilt Windows application that can manage your disk space and format any internal partition or external device easily.

1. Before you proceed, make sure that your TF card is connected to the system and that it has been detected.

2. Now, go to the Start menu, open the Run prompt, and load the "diskmgmt.msc" command to access it. You can also just look for Disk Management on the search bar adjacent to the Start menu.

Open Disk Management

3. As the Disk Management application would be opened, you can view the connected TF card storage under the External Devices section. Right-click the storage and select the "Format" option from the context menu.

Select Memory Card

4. Here, you can rename the TF card and select the file system or the partitioning style for it. You can also choose to perform a quick format form here.

Format Memory Card

5. As you would proceed, you will get a warning that all the stored data on your card would be deleted. Simply confirm it and wait for a while as your TF card would be formatted in the selected file system.

Formatting Confirmation on Windows


Part 4: How to Format a TF Card on Mac

Just like Windows, it is pretty easy to format a TF card on Mac as well. For this, you can take the assistance of Disk Utility, which is an inbuilt Mac application. It can help you format your TF card in different file systems or even repair it (if it is corrupted). Here are some simple steps that Mac users can follow to format their TF card.

1. To begin with, just connect your TF card to your Mac using an SD card jacket and wait as Mac would detect it. Later, you can go to Finder > Applications > Utility to launch Disk Utility or look for it in the Spotlight search.

Open Disk Utility on Mac

2. From the sidebar, you can view different partitions and the connected devices. Now, select your SD card (under the External section) and click on the "Erase" button from the right panel.

Format Memory Card Mac

3. As a dedicated window will launch, you can rename your card and change its file system or partitioning style from here. You can click on the "Erase" button when you are ready and confirm your choice to successfully format the TF card.

Select File Format Disk Utility


Part 5: Expert Tips for Managing your TF Card

By now, you would be able to format your TF card in the desired file system on either Mac or Windows PC. Though, if you wish to make the most of it or resolve unwanted issues with your TF card, then follow these tips:

Tip 1: Format your TF card in every 6-12 months

If you want to improve the overall efficiency of your TF card, then consider formatting it every once in a while. Most of the experts recommend formatting the card every 6 to 12 months on your Mac or Windows PC.

This will make sure the file system on the card is well-maintained and it doesn't have any corrupt storage.

Tip 2: Recover the lost files from your TF card

In case you have formatted your TF card by mistake or deleted some of your important files, then you can use a data recovery tool. I would recommend using Recoverit Data Recovery as it supports all the leading TF cards out there.

You can get back your lost or deleted photos, videos, audio files, documents, and so much more. The application is extremely easy to use and would even let you preview your data before restoring it.

Step 1: Select your TF card

You can start by connecting your TF card to the system and launch Recoverit Data Recovery on it. Now, from its welcome screen, you can simply select the connected TF card and start the process.

Select Data Recovery Source

Step 2: Wait for the scan to be over

Sit back and wait for a while as Recoverit Data Recovery would try to extract the lost content from your TF card. You can view the progress from an on-screen indicator and can even halt or stop the process in between.

Recoverit Data Recovery Process

Step 3: Preview and recover your data

Once the recovery process is completed, the extracted content would automatically be listed under different sections. You can also use the search option to look for any specific content of your choice. In the end, you can preview and select what you wish to save and click on the "Recover" button. You can now choose a location to save the data, which can be your computer's local storage instead of the TF card as well.

Preview Recovered Data

Tip 3: Check the Health of your TF card

Every now and then, you can scan your TF card on your Mac or Windows using any reliable native or third-party anti-virus tool.

If you own a Mac, then you can try Disk Utility to run a First Aid scan on it. Windows users can take the assistance of the Defender or the Check Disk utility to do the same.

Tip 4: Remove your TF cards safely

You should handle your TF cards safely to avoid any unwanted issues on them. For instance, if you are using it on your smartphone or camera, then turn off your devices before taking out the TF card. Also, Windows users should go to the taskbar and select the option to safely remove the TF card beforehand.

Safely Remove TF Card

Tip 5: Keep enough free storage

A lot of users make the rookie mistake of keeping their TF card overly occupied. Ideally, you should make sure that at least 20% of its storage is free. In this way, you can easily manage your TF card, store data in it, or import/export your content faster.

I'm sure that after reading this guide, you would be able to know what is a TF card and how to format it. As you can see, I have listed different techniques to format a TF card on Windows and Mac.

Besides that, I have also clarified the difference between TF cards vs micro SD cards in detail. Although, if you have formatted your TF card by mistake, then you can simply consider using Recoverit Data Recovery to get back your lost or deleted content instantly.

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Eleanor Reed

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