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How to Format Thumb Drive or Pen Drive on Mac

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 15, 2024 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

Pen drives, USB drives, or thumb drives – no matter what you call them, they all perform the same job related to data storage and management. In a matter of a few years, pen drives have drastically replaced CDs and other storage units. Now, we all use USB drives to transfer our data or maintain its backup. Though, there are times when we wish to format a pen drive on Mac. You can do it to erase drive data, troubleshoot a problem, reformat it, and do so much more.

Since Mac gives a one-stop solution to do it all, you won't face any problem like a pen drive not formatting on Mac. To further help you, we have come up with this detailed guide on how to format a pen drive on Mac with other related solutions.


Part 1. What is a Pen Drive or Thumb Drive?

Thumb drives (which are also known as USB or flash drives) are extensively used to store data via USB connectivity. As almost all the computers (be it Windows or Mac) have a universal USB slot, it makes the use of flash drives so effortless. You can just plug it into any system and access the stored content in no time. A pen drive can also be used as an installer at times or to maintain a backup of your data.

Dig deeper into What is a pen drive.

Part 2. How to Format Pen Drive on Mac

Just like Windows, Mac also allows a seamless solution to do pen drive format. To do this, you can take the assistance of Disk Utility, which is a dedicated system component in Mac. It can help you manage system partitions, erase an external unit like a thumb drive, and even repair your disk. To learn how to format a pen drive in Mac, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Firstly, connect your flash drive to the Mac by inserting it to the correct USB slot. Also, go to Mac's Finder > Applications > Utilities and launch "Disk Utility" from here.


  2. As the Disk Utility window would open, you can view the connected pen drive labeled under the "External" devices on the left. Simply select your pen drive to view its storage settings on the right.


  3. In order to format the pen drive, you need to click on the "Erase" button on its toolbar.
  4. This will open the following pop-up menu. From here, you can change the name of the pen drive, its format, and the scheme. There are different kinds of formats available for thumb drives, which are discussed later in this post.


  5. Lastly, you can change the scheme for the connected pen drive as well. While GUID and Master Boot support both Windows and Mac, the Apple Partition Map would only run on Mac.


  6. After making the appropriate selections, just click on the "Erase" button, and wait for the pen drive to be formatted entirely.


That's it! In the end, when you are informed that the thumb drive has been successfully formatted, you can unmount it safely from your Mac.

Let's get the ways of formatting USB to FAT32 together.
- 2 minutes to read it.


Video Tutorial on How to Format a USB Flash Drive on Mac

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Part 3. How to Check the Pen Drive Format

A lot of users choose to format the pen drive to change its format. If you also have the same requirements, then consider checking the existing pen drive format first. Chances are that it might be of an ideal format beforehand. Here's how you can check the format of thumb drive on Mac.

  1. Simply attach the pen drive to your Mac by inserting it into the USB slot.
  2. Launch Finder once the pen drive is detected by Mac. You can see its dedicated icon on the left panel.


  3. Select your pen drive from here and right-click to get its context menu. Click on the "Get Info" option to proceed.
  4. This will display a pop-up with crucial details related to the connected pen drive. Here, you can view the format of the selected USB drive.


While formatting a pen drive, users get an option to change its format. Ideally, Mac supports different pen drive formats for a USB drive that you can pick from, as per your convenience.

Part 4. How to Remove History on Mac Firefox

By now, you must be able to reformat thumb drive on Mac without any trouble. If you are finding it hard to access the pen drive content on Mac, then don't worry. The operating system is pretty user-friendly and will let you access the connected pen drive without any trouble.

  1. Firstly, make sure that the pen drive has been properly inserted on your Mac's USB slot. As soon as the pen drive is detected, you will get its shortcut on the desktop. Just double-click it, or right-click and open it.


  2. Alternatively, you can also access the USB drive content via Finder as well. Go to Mac's desktop and click on Finder > File > New Finder Window. This will open a new Finder Window on your Mac.


  3. On the left sidebar, you can see all the shortcuts and partitions. Under the "Devices" or "External" tab, you can see your pen drive's icon. Just double-click it to open its file system.


  4. In the end, after when you have finished working with the pen drive, you can unmount it. Select the pen drive's icon and right-click it to get its context menu. Click on the Eject option to safely remove it.


Part 5. How to Recover Deleted History on Mac

If you are lucky, then you would be able to format a pen drive on Mac without facing any setback. Though, chances are that you might get the "Pen Drive Not Formatting" error on Mac as well. Try following these simple yet smart solutions to fix the pen drive not formatting issue on Mac.

• Reinsert the USB drive

If you have not properly inserted the USB drive to Mac, then you might encounter this issue. To fix this, just remove the pen drive and clean the USB slot on your Mac. After a while, insert it once again, and check if it has been detected or not.

• Reinsert the USB drive

If you have not properly inserted the USB drive to Mac, then you might encounter this issue. To fix this, just remove the pen drive and clean the USB slot on your Mac. After a while, insert it once again, and check if it has been detected or not.

• Check the format

Some formats of the pen drive, like NTFS, are not supported by Mac. You can go to the thumb drive's properties to view its format. In case if it has an NTFS format, then you need to use a third-party tool to access it or format the flash drive on Windows instead.

• Fix the USB drive

There might be some problem with the USB drive storage as well. In order to fix this, go to Mac's Applications and launch Disk Utility on it. Select the connected pen drive and click on the "First Aid" option from its toolbar. This will check the USB storage and would try to fix its file system as well.


• Reset PRAM

The Parameter Random Access Memory on Mac can also lead to the pen drive, not formatting issue. Luckily, it can easily be fixed by restarting Mac. Power it off or simply restart it from the Finder. While Mac is restarting, press the Command + Option + P + R keys at the same time to reset its PRAM.


• Update macOS

If your Mac is running on an outdated version, then it might encounter compatibility issues with the connected pen drive. The easiest way to update its drivers and firmware is by upgrading it to a stable version. Just click on the Apple menu on Finder and select "Software Update". This will make your system look for the recent macOS update that is compatible with it.


Part 6. How to Perform Pen Drive Data Recovery on Mac

Sometimes, users end up formatting a pen drive by mistake as well. If you also have accidentally deleted data on Mac or have formatted a pen drive, then take the assistance of Recoverit Data Recovery Mac. Developed by Wondershare, it is one of the most advanced and trusted data recovery tools for Mac. The latest update of Recoverit 8.0 has been released that is equipped with tons of high-end features. You can now recover all kinds of data from a Mac or a pen drive with a single click.

  • Using Recoverit 8.0, you can get back your lost photos, videos, documents, compressed files, and numerous kinds of data easily.
  • The application is known to produce exceptional results in less time. It also features a user-friendly and intuitive interface that does not require any prior technical knowledge.
  • It supports data recovery on all types of USB drives. This includes pen drives from brands like Kingston, SanDisk, Sony, HP, Samsung, and more. Also, it supports leading file formats like NTFS, HFS, FAT, exFAT, etc.
  • The interface will let you preview the extracted data first. Later, users can selectively save their files to a location of their choice.
  • Recoverit supports data recovery under every possible scenario like formatted drive, accidental deletion, malware attack, and so on.

If you want to perform pen drive data recovery using Wondershare Recoverit 8.0, then simply follow these basic steps:

Step 1: Connect your USB drive and select it

Firstly, connect your pen drive to your Mac and make sure it is detected by it successfully. Subsequently, launch Wondershare Recoverit 8.0 and pick a location to scan. In this case, it will be the connected USB drive. If you want, you can browse to a specific location as well.


Step 2: Scan for any lost content

During the data recovery process, you are expected to wait for it to be completed. The interface will let you know the progress on the screen. Kindly don't disconnect the pen drive from Mac as of now to get better results.


Step 3: Recover your data

In the end, when the data recovery process is completed, you will be notified. Now, you can preview your photos, videos, and documents on the interface and select the files of your choice. Click on the "Recover" button and save them to a trusted location. It is recommended not to save them back to the USB drive.



By following this informative guide, you would certainly be able to format the pen drive on Mac. Apart from that, we have also discussed ways to fix issues like pen drive not formatting as well. Though, if you have accidentally formatted your flash drive, then take the assistance of Recoverit Data Recovery. Being one of the best data recovery tools, it will certainly help you in an unforeseen data loss scenario. You can download its freely available version and keep it handy to do pen drive data recovery during any unwanted situation.

Recoverit author

Sue Wayne

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