Methods To Format USB Drives for Mac & PC Compatibility

Summary: Many users reported that the purchased flash drive can be used smoothly in Windows system, but cannot be used on Macs. In fact, what many people don’t know is that Macs can share USB drives with Windows! In this article, we wil discuss about the methods to format USB drives for Mac & PC compatibility.


Many users feel that the reason why the USB drive does not work on both Windows system and Mac is that the file formats used by the Windows and Mac systems are different, which cause the difficulty of data interoperability.

Among the four commonly used formats for USB drives, the native file system of Mac OS X uses HFS+, but Windows does not support HFS+. NTFS is the native file system of Windows, but Mac OS X has limited support for NTFS, which can only be read but not written. The most commonly used file format in USB drives is FAT32, which can be used directly by Windows and Mac OS X, but FAT32 is an older file system, so there are more restrictions on the size of a single file.

ExFAT is an advanced version of FAT32. There is no file and partition size limitation of FAT32. Except for older versions of Windows and Mac, basically the later Windows and Mac can support this format. So if you want to share a USB drive between Mac and Windows, a relatively simple method is to change the format of the USB drive to ExFAT.

The following article will introduce how to format USB drives to ExFAT for two different systems so that the USB drives can be shared by mac and windows.

Method To Format USB Drives for Mac & PC Compatibility

Format USB Drives to ExFAT on Mac

  1. Connect the USB drive that you want to format.
  2. Enter Disk Utility in the search box and launch Disk Utility.
  3. Choose the USB drive to be formatted on the left and click the Erase button on the top.disk utility-erase 2
  4. Enter the name of the drive in the appearing window, then choose ExFAT from the Format drop down selection, and tap Erase.
  5. After the USB formatting is complete, click Done and quit Disk Utility.

Format USB Drives to ExFAT on Windows

  1. Plug the USB drive into your PC and double-click This PC on your desktop.
  2. Find and right-click your USB drive, then choose Format… in the appearing drop-down menu.format a usb flash drive
  3. In the Format window, check the box of Qucik Format and choose exFAT from the Format system drop-down sectionformat-exFAT
  4. Tap the Start button. Then a warning will appear to let you know that all data on the drive will be erased, just click OK.
  5. After that, Windows will remove all of the data from your USB drive and a message will pop-up, saying Format Complete.
NOTE: If you regret deleting data from your flash drive or forget to back up the important data, you can use our Bitwar Data Recovery Software to recover your data. 

Friendly Reminder

This article has recommended the methods to format USB drives for Mac & PC compatibility. But it is reminded that before formatting, you need to pay attention to protecting the important data in the USB drive and back up the data, because formatting will clear all the data in the USB drive. Of course, if you accidentally forget to back up data and cause data loss, don’t worry, remember to use Bitwar Data Recovery Software to recover lost files immediately.

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