You might need to format your SD card for a number of reasons. This allows your card to stay clean and operating at its best speed. It only takes a couple of taps or clicks but the procedure can vary depending on the device you are formatting your memory card on.
This article will give you step-by-step instructions on how to format an SD card on various devices.
When to Format An SD Card and When to Reformat It
Formatting refers to the very first time that an SD card is formatted. On the other hand, reformatting refers to the subsequent times you format the SD card. However, if you dig deep into the technicalities, the formatting procedure creates a directory structure or a file system that stores files. But, if the SD card is formatted for a second time, the same file system is used but the previous files are deleted.
Reformatting changes the SD card’s file system type. This is required when your SD card needs to be used with a device that runs on a different operating system. For instance, you need to reformat an SD card used with a Windows system to use it on a Macbook.
Reasons Behind Formatting SD Card
- If you regularly click a lot of pictures and delete or transfer them to your computer, in that case, you can format the SD card once every month.
- Formatting your card keeps it operating at its peak performance and decreases the chances of your files getting corrupted.
- While using the SD card, if you encounter a problem, that means your SD card probably has a corrupted file system or a virus. In this case, you need to format the SD card to get rid of the virus.
- In case you decide to hand over the SD card to someone else, you can format it to clear its memory for the new owner’s usage. You should format it twice to make sure your files can’t be recovered.
How To Format An SD Card On Windows PC?
- Formatting SD Card Via Windows Explorer
- Formatting SD Card Via Disk Management
- Formatting the SD Card Through Command Prompt
Method #1. Formatting SD Card Via Windows Explorer
Step 1. Insert your SD card into the SD card reader of your computer or if you don’t have one use an external adapter.
Step 2. Click on the “This PC” icon on your Desktop. The Windows Explorer will open up, right-click on your SD card, and then click on Format.
Step 3. A pop-up will appear where you can specify the file system of your SD card. Assign a new label to your SD card.
Step 4. Once done, click on Start followed by OK to confirm the operation.
Note: FAT32 format is for SD cards having a memory less than 64GB and exFAT is for SD cards with a memory of more than 64GB.
Method #2. Formatting SD Card Via Disk Management
Step 1. Insert the SD card into the card reader connected to your PC or laptop.
Step 2. Right-click on “This PC” and click on “Manage.” Now, enter “Disk Management.”
Step 3. Locate your SD card and right-click on it and choose “Format.”
Step 4. Click on “Yes” to proceed with the formatting. In the respective fields, enter a new label and choose a file format for your SD card: FAT32, exFAT, or NTFS. Once done, click on “OK.”
Method #3: Formatting the SD Card Through Command Prompt
Step 1. Press the Windows key + R key to open the Run dialog box.
Step 2. In the Run utility, type in “cmd” and press the Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys together from the keyboard. This will run the command prompt with administrative permissions.
Step 3. Click “Yes” if prompted whether you want to allow the Command Prompt to make changes to your computer.
Step 4. Now, type in the following commands one by one and press Enter after each to execute them:
list disk //This command lists down all the available disks
select disk 0 //Replace ‘0’ with the disk number of your SD card
create partition primary // Creates a partition in the clean SD card
Step 5. Next, type in either of the commands given below based on the file format you want to format your SD card to:
OR format fs=exfat
Step 6. The last command you need to execute is: assign letter=E
This command assigns a letter to the SD card/drive. You can set it to anything you like, just replace the ‘E’ in the command with whichever letter you want to assign to this drive.
How To Format SD Card On Your Camera?
Step 1. Back up the data on your card to a cloud storage device.
Step 2. Turn your camera off and insert the card into it
Step 3. Turn the camera on and navigate to Menu
Step 4. Now, in the “Camera Display” section, select Setup > Format/Format Memory Card
Step 5. Select OK and the camera will start formatting your card.
Step 6. Once the formatting is finished, turn off the camera. Now, the formatted memory card is ready for use.
How To Format An SD Card on an Android Phone?
Step 1. Go to Phone Settings and look for Device Care
Step 2. Choose Storage and press the Advanced option
Step 3. In the Portable storage section, choose SD card
Step 4. Tap on Format and then on Format SD card for confirmation
These steps are very general and can vary as per your phone model. The takeaway from this method is that you need to go to your phone’s Settings and find the SD card.
How To Format An SD Card on Mac OS?
Step 1. Connect your SD card to your Mac system. Do this by inserting the SD card into the slot meant for it/ data card reader/ external adapter.
Step 2. Go to Finder and click on Applications. Then, click on Utilities.
Step 3. Click on the Disk Utility app to open it.
Step 4. In the Disk Utility screen, look for your SD card in the External section. If the SD card has not been formatted already, name it “UNTITLED”/ “NO NAME.”
Step 5. Click on your card and select the “Erase” option from the functions section located at top of the Disk Utility window.
Step 6. A pop-up window will come up, click on “Format” from the drop-down menu.
Step 7. Now, choose the format type you want. Here, you can name your card but it is optional.
Step 8. Next, select the “Erase” function.
Step 9. The next screen will read “Unmounting.” Now, wait till the process is finished.
How To Format SD Card on Switch?
Step 1. Insert the SD card into your Nintendo Switch and then, turn on the Switch.
Step 2. Select Settings from the Home screen
Step 3. Tap on System from the bottom of the Menu
Step 4. Select Formatting Options
Step 5. Tap on Format micro SD card option
Step 6. Now, choose the Continue button and you’re done.
How to Format a Write-Protected SD Card?
If the SD card is write-protected, first remove the write-protection of the card to format it. You can do this via the given procedures:
- Turning Off the Physical Write-Protection Switch
- Via an Anti-Virus Software
- By running diskpart
Method #1. Turning Off the Physical Write-Protection Switch
Step 1. Disconnect the SD card and find a small switch located towards the side or bottom of the card.
Step 2. Check if the switch is in the “On” position. If it isn’t, switch it to the “Off” position to unlock the SD card.
Method #2. Via an Anti-Virus Software
Step 1. Download an antivirus software if you already don’t have one. Open the anti-virus software on your system
Step 2. Insert the SD card into the card reader of your laptop or computer.
Step 3. Now, the anti-virus software will scan and clean your SD card. This will remove the write protection.
Method #3. By Running DiskPart
Step 1. Connect your SD card to the PC.
Step 2. Press the Windows key + X to open the Run utility. Type in cmd in the Run dialog box and click on OK.
Step 3. Type in the following commands one by one and press ‘Enter’ after each of them:
select disk X //(X denotes the disk number of your SD card)
attributes disk clear readonly
Step 4. Wait until the removal gets finished. Next, type Exit and hit the enter button
This will remove the write protection. Now, you can go to File Explorer and follow the steps given in the above subheads to format your SD card.
Now, you know how to format your SD card on your phone, camera, Windows PC, Mac OS, etc. Formatting your memory card is an easy procedure but you should also follow certain good SD card practices to make it perform better.
Firstly, choose to format over erase, always format a new card before using it, and regularly backup your card’s data so that you don’t lose anything.
Do you need to format a new SD card?
SD cards are used with a number of devices having different Operating Systems like Windows, Mac OS, etc. You never know when something unpredictable occurs with the data read/write procedure. To avoid an OS compatibility issue or data error, we recommend you format a new SD card before using it.
How do I format my SD card on my camera?
Press the camera Menu button
Press the multi-controller button and go to Camera Settings 1.
Now, using the multi-controller select the Format Card option
Press OK to start the format procedure.
How do I format my SD card for internal storage?
Navigate to your phone’s Settings and tap on Storage
Now, select the SD card and tap the three-dots followed by Settings
Tap on Format as internal and then select Erase & Format
Your SD card will get formatted as your phone’s internal storage.
Lastly, reboot your device.