How to Format SD Card and Get Rid of its Data

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Android users can easily expand their devices’ storage capacity by using an SD card. An SD card’s capacity can range from 2GB to 128 TB. This mini storage disk is perfect for devices that essentially have a smaller capacity to start with. However, one drawback SD cards have is the ease at which they can get corrupted. If this happens, it comes in handy if you know how to format an SD card. Additionally, there are a couple of reasons why SD cards require reformatting and there are a couple of ways to format an SD card.

If you are experiencing some errors in accessing the card on your phone or PC, this article will comprehensively outline the steps you need to take to fix your SD card.

Read also: SD Card Not Recognized and Won’t Show Up: The Best Fixes


Inside This Article

  1. Format vs Reformat an SD Card
  2. Benefits of Formatting an SD Card
  3. Guide on How to Format an SD Card
    1. Format an SD Card Using an Android Device
    2. Format SD Card on Windows PC
    3. How to Format SD card on Mac PC
  4. Final Thoughts


Format vs Reformat an SD Card

Format SD Card
Photo from Pixabay

Removable storage disks have to be formatted first before they can be used as an extended storage device. This will allow the computer to create a directory whereby the computer recognizes the disk and be able to save files on it. SD cards are no different in this respect. However, formatting an SD card for the second time would result in the deletion of whatever files were saved in it.

Sometimes, SD cards get corrupted by malware rendering files inaccessible to the user. This is one reason why there is a need for a user to reformat an SD card. Another reason why an SD card needs reformatting is due to a change in the file system. That means an SD card is going to be used on a Mac PC after it was used on a Windows PC.


Benefits of Formatting an SD Card

There are benefits to performing a reformatting of an SD card. For one, it allows your storage disk to continue performing at its peak because the system file is regularly refreshed. Doing a regular reformating of an SD card also results in less susceptibility to getting your files corrupted. Moreover, if you wish to give your SD card to someone permanently, reformatting ensures the files are completely deleted from the disk and are, therefore, unrecoverable. However, experts suggest reformating an SD card twice if the intention is to give it away.

So, how do you format a storage disk card?


Guide on How to Format an SD Card

The following sections will guide you on how to format an SD card and how to format a micro SD card on an Android device, Windows PC, and Mac PC. Terminologies may differ but the steps are pretty much universal across platforms.


A. Format an SD Card Using an Android Device

Many Android devices use an SD card or a micro SD card to store photos, videos, music, and documents. In case your device is showing an error message while trying to access any of these files on an SD card, here are the steps you need to know to format an SD card:

  1. Open your Settings interface and scroll down to the Device Care option.
  2. Select Storage from the list. Then, click Advanced.
  3. Tap on your SD card name when displayed.
  4. Tap Format. Confirm the action by tapping Format SD Card.

Give your device a moment to format the (micro) storage disk card. Once done, you can start saving your files once again on the disk. You may also have to redownload some of them, including apps, as these files have been deleted during the process.

Read also: 15 Best MicroSD Cards for Android Phones (2020)


B. Format SD Card on Windows PC

Let’s say you are a photographer and you mount the SD card on your PC only to get an error message on the screen. It prompts you the SD card has been corrupted and requires reformatting. It’s a bummer. The files may have been corrupted and are already gone. Nonetheless, you still have to save the SD card. Here’s are the steps you need to take:

  1. Mount or insert the SD card on a card reader on your Windows PC or laptop.
  2. Open Windows File Explorer then click on This PC.
  3. Select the icon corresponding to your SD card. Next, on the options on top of the screen, select Manage.
  4. Choose the Format option.
  5. From the Format SD Card dialog box, format the SD card using FAT32 under the File System dropdown options.
  6. If you have formatted the storage disk card before, choose Quick Format. If it’s the first time the card is subjected to the process, uncheck the Quick Format option.
  7. Click the Start button to begin the process. A warning box will prompt you to either abort or continue; select OK to continue.


C. How to Format SD Card on Mac PC

As hinted earlier, SD cards used on a Windows PC have to be reformatted if they are to be used for a time on a Mac PC. If this is true for you, here are the steps you need to take:

  1. Insert the SD card on a card reader on your Mac.
  2. Launch Finder then select Go. Choose Utilities.
  3. Next is to double-click the Disk Utility option.
  4. From the list, select the name of your SD card and then click the Erase tab.
  5. Click the Format option to open the menu. Select ExFat.
  6. Choose Erase from the dialogue box.

Give it a moment as the computer erases the directory in the storage disk and makes a new one. Once done, you’d be able to use the SD card on both Windows and Mac PCs. You can also contact Apple Support for further assistance not covered by this section.

Contact Apple Support


Final Thoughts

We know that you might be bummed out if there is a need to reformat your SD card as a result of file corruption or computer virus. We feel you. If there is a way to salvage some files, you can back them up first before formatting or reformatting your storage disk. On the other hand, we hope this article has given you new insights on the need to format and reformat storage disks. More importantly, we hope you refer to this article when the need to format and reformat a storage disk arises on your end.