How to Format FAT32 on Mac : The Easiest Way

Whether it comes to sharing documents or software between a PC and a Mac, users have never had it easy. If you own a Mac and a PC and frequently share content between the two computers with an external storage drive, formatting your device to FAT32 is the best option. Here’s what you need to learn on how to format FAT32 on Mac and make your storage device universally usable.

The easiest and most convenient method on how to format FAT32 on Mac is through its built-in Disk Utility feature.

Step 1: Connect your external storage device to the Mac

connecting storage device to Mac

Simply connect the USB end of the external hard drive to one of the USB ports on your computer and wait until the system recognizes the connected device.

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Step 2: Click Go on the top tool bar and open the Utilities option from the drop down menu.

Utilities Mac OS X

You can also press the Up arrow key, the Command key and the alphabet U on the keyboard to launch the Utilities menu.

Step 3: Navigate and open Disk Utility from the list of apps

Disk Utility App Mac

Step 4: Select the storage device you wish to format to FAT32

storage device in Disk Utility Mac

On the far left window of the Disk Utility app, you can see all the storage devices that are currently connected to your computer. Click and select the storage device that you will be using to learn how to format FAT32 on Mac.

Step 5: Select the Erase tab and choose the disk format

Fat32 format Mac

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Click on the Erase tab located at the center of the Disk Utility window. The Erase option will enable you to select the format for the storage device and also rename it.

MS-DOS (FAT) represents FAT32 format on Mac OS X

MS-DOS (FAT) represents FAT32 format on Mac OS X

Click on the bar next to the Format option and select MS-DOS (FAT), and type in the name you want to give your storage device in the Name tab.

Step 6: Prepare to erase the storage drive

Once you have selected the FAT32 format and renamed your storage device, click on the “Erase…” button at the bottom of the window. The next step will begin formatting of your storage device, so ensure that you have created a backup of any important data which is stored on the device.

Erase storage Mac

A warning window will pop up, prompting you once last time to confirm whether you wish to format the storage drive. Click on Erase and let the formatting process begin.

Step 7: Use your format FAT32 on Mac

Once you hit Erase, you can see the track the progress of the formatting with a loading bar at the lower right area of the window. Once the process is complete, the storage device will be visible on your desktop.

progress bar storage format Mac

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Important Note:

While FAT32 is the go-to file format to use the storage device as boot storage for windows, it does come with some limiting features. For instance, FAT32 format restricts you to a maximum per-file size of 4GB, which can be severely limiting for some.

If you are looking for a way to use a storage device between PC and Mac without any limitations, simply choose the file format as eXFAT instead of FAT32. You can find the easiest way to format eXFAT on Mac here.

If you need some more assistance in learning how to format FAT32 on Mac, watch the detailed tutorial video below:

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