How do you format your Mac's hard drive?

In this article, we'll explain how to use OS X's Disk Utility to format your hard drive.

If you want to format your hard drive, Disk Utility is a handy option baked into the operating system. Click on the magnifying glass icon in the top right corner of the screen to Spotlight open and type Disk Utility in the search field. Then press Enter to load the program. Also read: How to erase files from an external hard drive with your Mac.

If your Mac won't start up, you can also load the program by pressing Command+R to boot the device into recovery mode. You can then select Disk Utility from the menu. With the Disk Utility you can create, delete, purge, or modify partitions.


To erase an individual disk or partition, you must select it and go to the tab To clear to go. Give the volume a recognizable name so that you always know which partition it concerns, and choose a format. If you will continue to use the drive only in a Mac, you must: Mac OS Extended select.

If you want to have the drive indexed, you can Journaled tick, but otherwise it is not necessary. You can always enable the option at a later time via the button Activate journaling in Disk Utility.

If it's an external drive intended for use in a Windows PC, it's best to exFAT as format.

Then click Security options to securely erase the drive so that the erased data cannot be recovered just like that. Select a method to delete and click Erase to format the drive.


If you selected a hard drive instead of a partition, you will be given the option to partition the drive. This means dividing a larger drive into smaller chunks so that they are displayed and used as separate volumes. Creating partitions also has the effect of erasing the data, so this is something you should do while organizing a new or empty hard drive.

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