How to Format USB to FAT32 on Mac

Home > HowTos > Troubleshooting Tips Updated by William on May 11, 2024 | Approved by Jennifer Allen

Some USB drives can’t be used directly with a Mac system until you format them to be compatible with the macOS extended file system. There are basically two ways to format USB to FAT32 on Mac; Terminal Command and Disk Utility and in case you lose important data while formatting, it is possible to recover the data using a data recovery tool. We’ll look at all these in detail in this article.

Reasons to Format USB to FAT32 on Mac

There are a number of reasons why you need to format USB to FAT32 on a Mac. Let’s look at some of these in detail.

Please note that it is recommended that you back up your USB drive first before you format it to avoid losing important data. Let’s look at the step-by-step guide to format USB to FAT32 on Mac.

Method #1: How to Format USB to FAT32 on Mac with Disk Utility

Follow the steps highlighted below to format a USB drive to FAT32 on Mac:

1. Connect the USB drive that you want to format into your Mac system.

2. Navigate through the menu to Applications and then Utilities. Click twice to open the program.

3. Choose the drive that you would like to format and click "Erase".

4. Although this step is optional but it is recommended. Rename the USB and select "MS-DOS(FAT)" as the format.

5. Select "Master Boot Record" for the scheme and click "Erase" to format USB to fat32 on Mac.

When the formatting process is completed, the USB flash drive is ready to use as a FAT32 file system and you can begin to save data on it again. Note that any previous data you have on it would have been erased during the formatting process.

Method #2: How to Format USB to FAT32 on Mac with Terminal Command Line

Follow the step by step guide to formatting a USB drive to FAT32 on Mac using Terminal Command Line:

1. Insert your USB drive to the Mac system.

2. Click "cmd + space" to run the spotlight. Type in "Terminal" and then click the "Enter" key.

3. Type in "diskutil list" to locate your USB drive.

4. Type "Sudo Diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 MBRFormat/"(put the name of the location of your USB flash on your Mac PC).

Please note the following:

When this process is completed, type in "diskutil list" in the command again to review the status of the USB drive and to see if it has been successfully formatted. You can start using your USB with the FAT32 file system to save data.

Method #3: How to Recover Lost Data after Formatting USB

It’s possible to forget to backup your data before your format your USB. When this happens, you lose all data saved on the USB prior to formatting. Well, you don’t have to fret if you experience this as you can recover your lost data from formatted USB on Mac. To do this, you need a trusted data recovery tool. We strongly recommend iBeesoft Data Recovery software as the best software available to recover formatted data from your USB drive.

iBeesoft offers an effective and powerful USB recovery software to help you resolve any data loss issues fast and completely. It is 100% safe and you can depend on it to completely recover lost files from Mac format USB FAT32 bootable.

Your Safe & Professional USB Format Recovery Software

(Trust Score 4.7 by 1695 Users)
  • It’s fully compatible with APFS drive/volume under macOS High Sierra and the latest macOS.
  • Completely recover files from formatted SD card, USB drive, hard disk, and other external devices on Mac.
  • Easily restore permanently deleted folders and files from emptied trash on Mac and restore deleted files from the hard drive and other storage devices.
  • The unformat flash drive program fully supports data recovery for all types of USB and it also supports various file formats, including exFAT, NTFS, FAT, and HFS, among others.
Download for macOS Download for Windows

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Recover Data from Formatted USB on Mac

The first thing is to download and install iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac on your system. It is fully compatible with the latest macOS and it is virus-free. Follow the step-by-step guide below to recover files lost after format USB to FAT32 on Mac.

1. Select the file type(s) that you want to recover format USB files on Mac. By default, all file types are checked. So, you have to uncheck files you don’t want.

2. Connect the USB drive and choose the directory to scan. In the open window, you’ll see external hard drives. Select an appropriate location where you have lost files and click the "Scan" button to launch the scanning for lost USB files.

3. Recover data lost after format a USB drive to FAT32 on Mac. All files will be displayed in the result window at the completion of the scan. Click the directory on the left side of your Mac screen to preview the files. Select the files you want to recover and click "Recover" to save the files on your Mac PC. If you can’t find the lost files you are looking for, try the "Deep Scan" for further search.

If you’ve been wondering how to format USB to FAT32 on Mac and recover data from formatted USB drive, the comprehensive guide highlighted above will help you.