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3 Ways to Format SD Card on Windows/Mac/Android/Camera Safely and Quickly

Summary

When you want to free up more space or fix the unreadable or corrupted SD card, formatting SD will be a nice choice. This page collects the comprehensive guide to format the SD card on computer or phone, and even the protected SD card can be formatted in the ways.

SD card is a valuable storage device that you can use in your camera, smart phone, or other devices that support SD card inserting. You can use it to store files or as the data transfer tool between computers.

Format SD Card

Format SD Card

However, when your SD card is full of unwanted files, or SD card is unreadable or corrupted, formatting becomes very common to solve this solution.

The way that you format an SD card has been the same for a number of years. Nevertheless, this page collects the comprehensive guide to format SD card on Windows, Mac and Android. Moreover, you are able to format a write protected SD card here.

1Preparations before formatting SD card

Before you start to format SD card, you should grasp the basic information about it.

What does formatting SD card mean?

SD card formatting is the process of preparing a flash device for data storage. It cleans the SD card by removing previously existing data and information on the card (low level formatting) and creating a new file system (high level formatting).

SD formatting is different from deleting file. When you use erasing or deleting function in the SD card, the actual image data remains on the memory card, but will be overwritten when new images are taken.

SD format on computer V.S. on camera

Memory card formatting can be realized through the camera or through a computer. Both the 2 ways can clean all files and free up more space for use in the camera. In the latter case, a memory card reader that connects to the computer is required.

Formatting a card with a computer is often faster, while in-camera formatting is generally recommended for obtaining a file system that is optimized for the particular camera it will be used with.

Back up SD card data before formatting

Formatting will destroy the files in the SD card. For avoiding any regret, you had better backup your SD card data firstly.

If your SD card content is unreadable or corrupted, then you can get the SD card recovery here.

2How to format an SD card on Window/Mac/Android/camera (non-protected)

If your SD card is not write-protected, then you can follow the common ways in this part to get the SD card format. Even if your SD card is unreadable, corrupted, or damaged, you can format it only if your SD card can be detected by computer. (SD card is not reading?)

How to format SD card on Windows 10/8/7

1Get a SD card reader to connect to your computer. Back to your Desktop View, open up "Computer", and your SD card should be displayed in the "Devices with Removable Storage" section. Right click to select "format".

Format option

2In the format window, you need to make the following settings:

File system: FAT32 for 32GB SD cards and EXFAT for 64GB SD cards.

Format options: Leave the "Quick Format" checkbox unchecked for a thorough formatting, or check it if you prefer a quicker, but more superficial process.

Format SD card on Windows

Click "Start" to format your SD card on Windows computer.

How to format SD card on Mac

1Connect the SD card to your Mac > Click on the magnifying glass in the top-right corner of your computer screen. Type "disk utility" in the search box that opens, then click on the "Disk Utility" Application that comes up.

Find the SD card in the left side of the window. It'll be named something like NO NAME or UNTITLED.

Find SD card on Mac

3Click the ERASE tab in the middle of the window > "Format" > Select "MS-DOS (FAT)" if the card is 32 GB or smaller. If it's a 64GB card, please select "ExFAT".

Format SD card on Mac

Tip

Mac OS 10.6.5 or earlier does not support exFAT format, which most 64 GB SD cards are formatted to. This means that you won't be able to format or use exFAT card on your computer. In this case, we'd recommend either upgrading your OS to 10.6.6 or later, or using an SD card that's already formatted to MS-DOS (FAT) or FAT32 to complete the below steps.

How to format a SD card inside a camera

Formatting a memory card inside the camera in which it will be used is a very good means of maintaining a card's full capabilities.

While the exact formatting procedure and menu display may differ between cameras, and the following step guidelines will be able to perform the task for most cameras.

1Turn the camera off and insert the memory card you wish to format into the camera's memory card slot. After that, turn on camera with well charged battery.

2Press the "Menu" button > Navigate to the "Format" or "Format Memory Card" item in the menu, which is always within the "Setup" screen.

3Select/highlight the "Format" or "Format Memory Card" item and then press "OK".

Format SD card on camera

The end of the formatting procedure will normally be indicated on the rear screen.

How to format SD card on Android phone

Every Android phone is a little different from the reset, but the settings are mostly the same.

1Open "Settings" > Scroll down to find "Storage" and tap it to view information like how much storage space you have left, and what's taking up the most space on your smartphone.

2Scroll down to the bottom of the Storage list to see your SD card options. You'll see the option of either "Erase SD card" or "Format SD card".

3Confirm and wipe your memory card by pressing the "Erase SD card" or "Format SD card" button.

Format SD card on Android

That will wipe your memory card clean, but the internal storage of your phone will stay untouched.

3How to format write-protected SD card

Sometimes when attempting to format an SD card you will receive an error saying that it is write protected.

For formatting write protected SD card, you need to look at the edge to find a little tab, which can be moved up and down. Move the tab into the opposite position to turn off the protection.

Then you can follow the ways in part 2 to start to format the card.

If the step fails or there is no tab in the SD card, do as the following:

1Run command option

Windows 8 and above: Right click the start button and Click "Command Prompt (Admin)".

Windows XP, Vista or 7: Click the start button and right click on the "Command Prompt" option and choose "Run as administrator" > Find the "Command Prompt" icon.

Commmand Prompt

2Type "diskpart" and Enter > Type "list disk" and Enter

A list of all the available disks on your computer will appear. Make a note of the disk number that resembles the same size as the SD card you are formatting

3Type "select disk n" (Where n is the number of the disk for the SD card) and Enter > Type "attributes disk clear readonly" and Enter > Type "clean" and Enter > Type "exit" and Enter to exit diskpart.

Format SD card Protected

Then you just need to follow the part 2 to reformat SD card again.

4How to format SD card with formatter (optimization)

Though formatting tools provided with operating systems can format SD card, but it may not be optimized for SD/SDHC/SDXC Cards and it may result in lower performance.

So you are recommended to use the SD Memory Card Formatter to do it with the following system requirements:

Platform

SDHC/SDXC/SD

Windows

Windows 10 Version 1607 (32/64-bit)

Windows 10 Version 1511 (32/64-bit)

Windows 8.1 (32/64-bit)

Windows 8 (32/64-bit)

Windows 7 (32/64-bit)

Mac

Windows 10 Version 1607 (32/64-bit)

Windows 10 Version 1511 (32/64-bit)

Windows 8.1 (32/64-bit)

Windows 8 (32/64-bit)

Windows 7 (32/64-bit)

Moreover, a "Protected Area" for SD/SDHC/SDXC Cards security shall be formatted by an appropriate PC application or SD host devices that provide SD security function.

Tips

1. The SD Memory Card Formatter doesn't support SD/SDHC/SDXC Card encrypted by the "BitLocker To Go" functionality of Windows.

2. Administrator Rights is required for both Windows and Mac OS to execute SD Memory Card Formatter .

1Download the SD card formatter

Download for Windows: https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/eula_windows/index.html

Download for Mac: https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/eula_mac/index.html

2Format SD card

Insert your SD card to the computer. Run this tool on your computer. Select the "Format options" as "Quick format" or "Overwrite format"

Format SD card with formatter

Bonus tips: Recover data from formatted SD card

If you lost data after formatting the SD card, you need Aiseesoft Data Recovery to do you a favor.

Data Recovery

Learn from the following video to recover data from formatted SD card or read this post to get the memory recovery.

Conclusion

This post is designed to format the SD card on computer, phone and camera, even if your card is encrypted. In addition, you can restore the files from the formatted SD card if you need it.

If any questions, please leave your comments below to let us know.

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May 08, 2018 15:50 / Posted by to File Recovery