How to Format SD Card on Different Devices?
Summary: This blog shares various ways to format your memory card. Learn step-by-step methods on how to format SD cards on Windows, Mac, digital cameras, and Android smartphones.
An SD card is a small and portable storage device used to store data, including photos, audio, videos, and documents. Sometimes, your card may require formatting due to device compatibility, low space, or it has stopped working properly. Formatting an SD card erases all the data stored on the card, giving you a clean slate to work with.
However, the process of formatting a memory card can vary depending on the device you are using, and it’s crucial to follow the correct steps to avoid any potential damage to the card or data loss situation. In this post, we’ll explain the steps to format an SD card on different devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, or Digital cameras. Before that, let’s see why you may need to format your SD card.
Why you should format the SD Card?
There are several reasons why you might need to format your memory card:
Your card is full
Formatting the SD card is the best way to erase all the data be it files, folders, videos, audio, etc. stored on your card. It is useful when the storage space is full on the card or you want to start fresh with a blank SD card.
Repair corrupted file system
Often, the file system on an SD card becomes corrupted or causes unexpected errors when you try to access the files saved on the card. Formatting the memory card repairs the file system and even restores the memory card to its original state.
With time, the performance of your SD card can degrade by slowing down the read and write speed. Formatting will optimize its performance by resetting the file system which in turn improves the read and write speeds of the card.
Change the file system
If you want to use the same SD card on different devices, you need to format the card beforehand to switch the file system to be compatible with other devices. For example, if you want to use your SD card on a Mac, you need to format it to exFAT or HFS+ file system that is compatible with macOS.
How to Format SD Card on Windows 11?
There are three methods to successfully format an SD card on your Windows system.
Method 1: Format SD Card Using Windows Explorer
One of the easiest ways to format a memory card on Windows is to use File Explorer. To do this, follow the below steps.
Steps to format SD Card via Windows 11 File Explorer
- Connect your SD card to your Windows system via a card reader.
- Go to My Computer and select your SD card.
- Right-click on your SD card and click Format.
- A format window will appear. Specify the file system and set a volume label for your SD card. Moreover, select Format options and click Start.
- Windows will start the formatting process for your SD card.
Method 2: Format SD Card Using Disk Management
The built-in Windows utility Disk Management can be used for managing disks and volumes on your system. It can be used to format or delete partitions, create new ones and change the sizes of partitions. Here’s how to use Disk Management to format a memory card.
Steps to format the SD card using Disk Management
- Insert the SD card into the card reader and then connect it to your Windows system.
- Go to This PC in the left pane, right-click on it, and select Manage.
- A Computer Management window will appear, go to Storage and click Disk Management in the left pane.
- Locate your SD card, right-click on it, and choose the Format option.
- Next, set a new Volume label, File system, and Allocation unit size for your SD card. Then click OK to format your memory card.
Method 3: Format SD Card Using Command Prompt
In Windows, Command Prompt is the default command line interpreter, which lets you control your system all from a single place. The Diskpart command lets you manage the disk partition and can be used to create, format, and delete partitions. Here’s how to use the Diskpart command in CMD to format the memory card.
Steps to format your SD card using CMD
- Connect your SD card to your computer
- Type CMD in the search bar at the bottom of the Windows screen, and click the Run as Administrator option under the Command Prompt from the search result.
- Type diskpart in the command prompt and click Enter.
- Next, type list disk to see all accessible disks on your computer and click Enter.
- Type select disk followed by the specific disk number of your SD card i.e. select disk 1 and press Enter key.
- Your SD card disk is selected. Next, type clean in the prompt and press Enter. It will delete everything from your SD card.
- Type create partition primary and hit Enter key.
- Next, type format fs=ntfs or format fs=fat32/exfat to format your SD card disk and press Enter Key.
- Next, wait until formatting is completed, type exit and click Enter.
How to Format SD Card on Mac?
Use the Disk Utility app to format any kind of drive, such as hard drives, SD cards, USB drives, etc. in your macOS. Here’s how to use Disk Utility to format your card.
Steps to format SD card on Mac using Disk Utility
- Connect your SD card to the Mac system.
- Now, press Command + Space Bar to open Spotlight finder and type Disk Utility. Or you can go to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.
- In the left pane of the Disk Utility screen, you can see the list of internal and external drives in your Mac. Look for your SD card listed under Fusion Drive or the external section and click on it. If your SD card is new, its name may be ‘UNTITLED’ or ‘NO NAME’.
- Next, click on the Erase button at the top of the screen.
- In the pop-up window that appears, you can either change the name of your card or leave it as it is.
- Choose the file system format of your card from the Format drop-down menu. Hit the Erase button.
- The erase process will start.
- Wait for some time, once the process is completed, your SD card is ready to use.
How to Format SD Card on an Android Device?
Formatting the memory card in an Android smartphone is a simple process and can be done in just a few simple steps. However, before formatting, it is necessary to back up your important data stored on the card into the cloud storage services or copy them into the phone’s internal storage. Here’s how to format the card in various Android versions.
Steps to format SD card on Android 16 and below till Android 8.0 (Oreo)
- Insert the SD card into your Android smartphone.
- Open the Settings app, scroll down, and tap on Battery and Device Care option (in some Android, it is Battery and Storage).
- Next, select Storage from the list of available options.
- On the Storage screen, swipe the screen to see SD card details (in some Android phones, the SD card will appear at the bottom of the screen).
- Next, click on the three dots at the top and select the option of Format. (In some Android phones, click on three dots, then Advanced, select your SD card, and then choose Format option).
- In the pop-up window, click Format to confirm and initiate the formatting process.
Steps to format SD card on Android
- Insert the SD card into your Android phone’s SD card slot.
- Open Settings > Storage.
- Tap on the SD card and tap Format or Erase SD card depending on the option available on your Android.
- Confirm your action by tapping on Format SD card.
How to Format SD Card on Camera?
Formatting an SD card in your camera is important to reduce the issues in saving your photos and videos as well as reduce the risk of file corruption due to low storage space and clicking photos when the camera is on low battery, etc. Here’s how to format SD cards on some popular brands of cameras, such as Canon, Nikon, and Sony.
I Steps to format the memory card on the Canon camera
- Insert your memory card into the Camera.
- Turn on the camera, press the MENU button, and reach the ‘Wrench’ tab using the INFO button.
- Next, select the ‘SET’ button and move further to choose the ‘Format card’ option.
- Now choose the option of how you want to format your memory card i.e. Low-level format or quick format.
- Select OK and then press the SET button to initiate the formatting.
II Steps to format the memory card on a Sony camera
- Turn on the camera after inserting the memory card into it.
- Press MENU and use the control wheel to select Setup, then choose Format.
- Chose which memory card you want to format.
- Use the control wheel to click Enter to start the formatting.
III Steps to format the memory card on the Nikon camera.
- Insert the memory card into the Nikon camera.
- Press the MENU button on the top-right of the camera.
- Move the wrench icon to the Setup menu item.
- Now, select the Format Memory Card option and choose whether you want to format the SD card or the Compact Flash card.
- Confirm your choice by pressing Yes.
Formatting an SD card is a straightforward process, whether you’re using a Windows computer, Mac, an Android device, or a digital camera. However, it’s important to remember that formatting an SD card will erase all data on the card, so it’s crucial to back up any important data before proceeding forward. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you should be able to format your SD card easily, regardless of the device you’re using.
1. How to fix the “SD card won’t format” error?
There can be various reasons why SD card format errors occur, such as a corrupt card, bad sectors or virus infection. To resolve the SD card won’t format error, you can refer to this blog.
2. What are the signs that show my SD is corrupted?
Your SD card is corrupted if you see the following signs:
- Photos on your SD cards are missing.
- Your SD card is not accessible.
- Unable to see the stored photos or videos.
- Unable to add, delete, or copy anything on SD card.
3. How to fix the error ‘SD card is blank’?
You can try the following methods to fix the SD card is blank error:
- Run CHKDSK on SD card.
- Restart your device.
- Connect your card to any other machines.
- Format your SD card.
4. How to recover photos from a formatted SD card?
You can recover photos from the formatted SD card until you have overwritten them.