How to Format Mac | Top 3 Ways in 2019

Are you looking for accurate information on how to format Mac? If yes, then you will find this article helpful as we have gathered a complete guide regarding formatting Mac.

Aug 27,2019 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

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“I am thinking about selling my Mac and it has personal data on it. How do I format my Mac High Sierra? What should I do to make it entirely new? ”

There are various reasons why people would try to format Mac. Maybe you are selling it or maybe you just want to empty up space. Whatever the reason is, the in-built Disk Utility is the only thing you need to carry out the task. But if you intend to use it afterward, you must gather up some additional information about the Mac file format too.

The biggest decision you have to make before you format Mac is to choose the right file format. Once you pick the right format for your needs, you can move on to how to format a Mac guide. Go through this article and you will know everything you should regarding formatting Mac safely.

Part 1. Overview of Formatting Mac

Formatting means deleting, erasing, or wiping out the existing data from a drive. This is done to make space for new data on the storage media. Formatting means erasing data on a drive while keeping the same format. You must have come across forums where people ask how to format NTFS on Mac. Typically, reformatting involves changing the NTFS or exFAT format to MacOS Extended format or APFS format as they are more compatible with Apple systems.

1. Reasons for Formatting Your Mac

The reasons which lead to formatting the Mac hard drive are listed below:

2. Benefits of Mac Formatting

Despite the reason for formatting, there are various benefits of carrying out the task too. The advantages of formatting the Mac hard drive include:

When you are about to format Mac hard drive, it is vital that you have a complete understanding of the Mac file system format too.

3. When to Format or Reformat Mac?

Under normal situations, you only format Mac as the intention is to wipe away the data and files from Mac. It is a low-level formatting process which only involves erasing the data on the system. It doesn’t overwrite the existing data or remove it completely. The traces of the data are still left even after formatting.

But when you change a file format system of a drive, it is called reformatting. The process is accompanied by the deletion of data on the drive as the format changes, the files saved on the drive becomes irrelevant. As you reformat MacBook Pro or any other version, a partition map is created on the selected drive and an appropriate file system is applied which works with Mac such as OS X Extended (Journaled) file system. It is considered as a high-level formatting process.

So, you only need to decide whether you want to use the drive for other data or simply want to free up space on the drive. Once you understand the difference, it will be easier to decide whether you prefer to reformat Mac or simple formatting.

Related: Further read and get to know the solutions to hard disk format errors on Mac.
- 2 minutes to read it.

Part 2. How to Format Mac in 3 Ways?

We have gathered up a list of methods on how to reformat/format Mac without any hassle. You can use any of the listed methods according to your requirements.

1. Reinstall Your Mac OS:

It is very well-known that reinstalling the Operating System deletes every data and setting on the system. Luckily, you can install the Mac OS from the Apple server or the recovery partition in your drive whenever you want. This will format HDD on Mac and you will be able to use it as new.

  1. Reboot your Mac and while it is starting up the press and hold the Command + R keys until you see the Apple logo on the screen.
  2. A macOS Utilities window will pop-up on the screen and you will see several options on the screen. You obviously want to format Mac HDD; therefore, you will have to choose the Disk Utility option first.
  3. When the Disk Utility Window opens up, click on the Erase tab and make sure that the format is compatible with the system. Then hit the Erase button at the bottom and wait while the drive is cleaned.

    erase-mac-drive

  4. Now quit Disk Utility and get back to the OS X Utilities screen. Click on the Reinstall macOS option and install the OS from Apple server or a bootable disk you have.

    reinstall-macos

  5. Enter the Apple ID is required and wait while the OS is reinstalled on your system.

Now, you can set up Mac once again as you want. The main advantage of using this method is that you can wipe the drive securely and restore the original version of macOS from the internet. Plus, you get to install the latest compatible macOS on your system.

2. Erase Mac Hard Drive

When you erase a hard drive, you basically format NTFS on Mac and change the format to a compatible one like AFPS or Mac OS X Extended (Journaled).

  1. Reboot the Mac and press Command + R keys during startup until you hear a chime. Wait as the OS X Utilities window appears on the screen.
  2. Switch to the Erase tab and select the volume which you want to erase. If you have no partition, then select the main hard drive.
  3. Choose the format as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and ensure that the GUID Partition Map Scheme is used.

    select-journaled-format8

  4. You can choose whether you want fastest erase or most secure erase under the Erase Free Space option. Drag the slider according to your preference and hit the Ok button.

    choose-secure-erase

  5. Finally click on the Erase button and the Disk Utility will erase the entire drive in a while.

When you use this method to format Mac, so are only erasing the data and files on the system without making any changes in the OS.

3. Wipe Mac SSD

When you are trying to wipe the Mac Solid State Drive, you need to remember that the Mac SSD is the best-integrated circuit you can get your hands on. As it uses flash memory, the information is retained on the drive more firmly than other Storage Media. Therefore, you will have to use the Cryptographic-Erase instead of standard erase for Mac SSD to format Mac disc.

  1. While rebooting your Mac, press and hold the Command + R keys to enter the Recovery mode. You will see an Apple icon or hear a chime when you enter the Recovery mode.
  2. Related: Go there and get more approaches to booting Mac into Recovery Mode.
    - 3 minutes to read it.
  3. When the OS X Utilities window appears on the screen, choose the Disk Utility option.
  4. In the Disk Utility window, specify the drive that you want to delete and click on the Erase option.

    switch-to-erase-tab

  5. Select the Mac OS Extended (Encrypted) format under the format list. Then press the Erase button and set a password for the encrypted partition. Make sure that you use an easy password for as you are most likely to need it soon enough.

    select-encrypted-format

  6. Let the drive get erased and turn into an encrypted format. Once the process finishes, again access the Disk Utility and change the format to Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  7. When you press the Erase button, open the Security option in the pop-up window and you will see the secure erase option. The level of erase determines the security, i.e. 35 Pass Erase is the most secure option.

    35-pass-erase

  8. Finally, press the Ok button and proceed with the wiping process.

The main advantage of using this method is that will blank the slate securely. There will be no data left on the SSD whatsoever.


Part 3. How to Recover Formatted Data on Mac?

When you are trying to format Mac windows, it is obvious that you are going to lose some important files. But there is no need to panic; we can deal with loss using Recoverit Data Recovery softwarefor Mac. This tool is specially designed to retrieve the lost data on your system.

Mac Word file recovery

Recoverit - The Best Mac Formatted Recovery Software

  • Recover various data on Mac or Mac-connected devices.
  • Scan and preview the files before you recover the data.
Download | Mac Mac Version Download | Win Windows Version

After you learn how to format Mac, it is important that you know how you can get the files back on your Mac. Here is the guide you need to follow:

Step 1: Select a location

Run the program and specify a location from where the files were deleted. In case you don’t know where the files were located, choose the “I can’t find my partition” and hit the Start button.

select-scan-location

Step 2: Scan the location

The software will scan the drive and display the results on the screen sorted out according to their format. You can also pause the scan at any time.

scan-location

Step 3: Preview and Recover

Select the files that you want to recover and have a preview of the files. You can perform a selective recovery of the files, select as many as you want and hit the Recover button at the bottom of the interface.

recover-email

In this way, you can easily get your documents that were disappeared back on Mac. In case if the quick scan was not able to fulfill your requirements, then you can do a deep scan as well. Recoverit would extract data from your Mac’s storage. While the deep scan would take more time than the first scan, the results would also be far better.


Part 4. Tips for Formatting a Mac

The long-time users know that NTFS or exFAT format on Mac are not compatible. These formats are more suitable for Windows users. Hence, unless you want to transfer the files from Windows to Mac, it is advised to not use these formats on Mac. Here are some other tips related to formatting Mac that will come in handy:


Conclusion

In this article, you almost learned everything on how to format HDD on Mac. You can choose the method as per your requirements. And if somehow you end up losing some important files, Recoverit is here to help you as it can recover data from formatted hard drive. So, if your friends, family, or close ones need help with formatting Mac, forward the guide to help them.

Sue Wen

staff Editor

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