How to quickly format an SD card on Mac

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There are times when an SD card starts to act strange. Once you’ve backed up your data, the only safe way to reset your SD card is to format it. Here’s how to quickly format an SD card on Mac.

If you’re a long-time Mac user, you might be familiar with Disk Utility. It is the application that allows you to manage and format internal and external storage. While it works great for SSDs and hard drives, it’s a bit weird when it comes to formatting SD cards.

RELATED: How to use Disk Utility on your Mac to partition, erase, repair, restore, and copy drives

Fortunately, there is a faster and easier way to format an SD card. SD Association’s own SD Card Formatter app allows you to format an SD card in just a couple of clicks. The app supports SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.

To get started, visit the SD Association’s SD Card Formatter download page. From here, click the “For Mac” button.

Select for Mac from SD card formatter download page

Scroll down and click “Accept” to accept the terms and conditions. Now the app will be downloaded to the Downloads folder.

Select Accept from the terms page

Go to the Downloads folder and double click the “SDCardFormatterv5_Mac” zip file.

Open the SD card formatter zip

This will expand to a folder with the same name. Double click on the folder to open it.

Open the application to format SD cards

Now, double click on the installation package.

Open the SD card formatter installer

Here, follow the process to install the SD Card Formatter app.

Once the app is installed, open it using the Applications folder or through Spotlight search.

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You can now connect the SD card to your Mac (using an external card reader or the SD slot, if your Mac supports the port) and go to the Finder to make sure you’ve connected the correct SD card.

SD card to format

Back in the SD Card Formatter app, the SD card will appear in the “Selected Card” section. You will also see the details of the SD card, such as the type and capacity of the SD card.

Select SD card in SD card formatter app

Now, if you want to reformat your SD card quickly, choose the “Quick Format” option in the “Format Options” section. If you want a complete overwrite, choose the “Format Overwrite” option. This option will take much longer (minutes instead of seconds).

Then from the “Volume Label” section, you can choose to rename the SD card if you want.

Select Format Options and provide a volume name

Once you’re done, click the “Format” button.

In the pop-up message, click the “Continue” option.

Enter your user account password and click the “OK” button to allow the app to reformat the SD card.

The app will now require permission to access the removable volume (the SD card). Here, click the “OK” button.

All you have to do now is wait. If you selected the “Quick Format” option, the process will take a couple of seconds and you will see the message “Format Complete” appear.

This popup window will display the details of the newly formatted drive. Click the “OK” button to exit.

And that is. You have already formatted the SD card.

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When you return to Finder, you’ll find the newly formatted drive, with the new name, in the sidebar. When you select the drive, it will be empty.

Newly formatted SD card in Finder

Now you can copy files and folders to SD card.


If you want to format a USB drive, we recommend that you use the Disk Utility application itself.

RELATED: How to erase and format a USB drive on your Mac



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