Even with the evolution of cloud-based storage, SD or microSD cards still remain popular among all generations. Your digital cameras and smart devices – they all need an extension to the storage space, and with 2 grams weighing card, you can store it all. But, if you own a Macintosh, then you’d need to format an SD card on a Mac device before you can use it.

But why should I format my memory card?

That’s exactly the question I had in mind before attempting to use the SD card on my MacBook Air. It simply didn’t work for me as the format wasn’t the right. But with little research (thanks to Internet & Google) – I was able to find the solution.

In this article, I aim to help other Mac users to easily use an SD or microSD card on a MacBook Pro or Air. The steps shown in this tutorial are straightforward, and I won’t be using any third-party software or application. 

So, without further ado, let’s learn how to format SD card on Mac.

How to Format an SD Card on MacBook

Before you begin to format the SD card, please take a backup of all the files stored in it. Formatting will completely erase all the data from the SD card, and there is no way to retrieve it. The steps I am going to share are the same for both MacBook Pro & Air; however, not all Mac devices come with an SD card holder. 

All the latest version of Mac doesn’t have features like LAN, USB port, and card reader. You can buy a USB-C to SD Card Reader from the Apple store – which costs around $46. On Amazon, a similar product can be found from $20. I like the UGREEN USB C Hub 6-in-1 Type C adapter, which comes with a variety of options. A cheaper alternative to consider is Anker 2-in-1 Card Reader, which can read both SD and microSD cards.

Now, let’s move to the subject – formatting an SD card on MacBook Pro & Air.

1. Connect the SD or microSD card to your Mac computer.

2. Navigate to Disk Utility, which you can find in Applications > Utility. You can also use a shortcut; Command key (⌘), and then type “Disk Utility.” 

format sd card on mac

3. Good job! Now, in the Disk Utility, locate your SD card on the left side of the window. Typically, it is labeled as “NO NAME” or “UNTITLED” unless you’ve already given a name. Now click “ERASE” in the toolbar. 

4. A popup will appear. You can name/rename the SD card and then select an exFAT format. Check here which format to choose while formatting the SD card on Mac.

format sd card mac

5. Now hit the “Erase” button once you’re good to go! This will now start the process of formatting your SD or microSD card on Mac.

6. It won’t take much time. Once finished, click on “Done” to end the process.  

sd card formatting on mac

7. Once the formatting is done, right-click on the card icon and click the EJECT button. This way, you’ll safely remove the card from Mac.

check sd card format after formatting


Memory cards come in three different types – SD, SDHC, and SDXC. The latter two are used for camcorders and digital cameras (DSLR). If you’re attempting to format SDHC and SDXC card types on Mac, then it will make it incompatible with your DSLR and camcorder. 

If you want to prevent running into this situation, make sure the “Lock” switch on SD is unlocked. Once checked, you’re good to format or reformat the card on Mac.

Which SD Card Type to Choose When Formatting on Mac? 

It’s imperative to select the right format when formatting or reformatting your card on a Mac computer. Failure to choose to correct format may corrupt your SD card. Below are the available formats you will find in Mac.

The selection of format is a combination of two things; the size of the SD card and the version of Mac OS. These are the perfect selection you can make while formatting the card:

  • Select ExFat – if your card is 64GB or above, and running Mac OS Lion or later version
  • Select MS-DOS (Fat) – if the SD card is 32GB or smaller, and the Mac OS version is Snow Leopard or earlier.

Note: Don’t select Mac OS Extended as this make your SD card incompatible with some devices. 

SD Card is formatted – what’s next? 

After you’ve completely wiped off the data from SD card – now it is ready for use on digital cameras, Raspberry Pi, or any other compatible device.

Are you a gamers also? Read this…

If you own a Nintendo Switch, then you would definitely need the support of an SD card. Keeping your memory card updated is a great thing to do with your gaming gig. We have written detailed guides on SSDs, External Hard Drives and GPU performance tricks, do check it also:

If, by any chance, you run into any issues while formatting or reformatting the SD card on your MacBook Pro or Air, let us know in the comments below. I will try to help you with the best possible solution. 


Sabih is the founder and chief editor of The Usables. He's a creative thinker, entrepreneur and data-driven individual who loves to share his views with big audience. He likes talking about technology and playing video games. A foodie by choice and marketer by profession, and a proud father!

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