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Mac: USB stick causes problems - what to do?

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Fix problems with USB sticks on Mac
1st step:
2nd step:
3rd step:
4th step:
5th step:
quick start Guide

Nothing beats a USB stick to securely use data on the go. However, those on the Mac can be problematic..

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If a USB stick, SD card or external hard drive twitches on the Mac, it can have many causes. If the stick is not recognized at all on several devices, it is probably broken. Often, however, especially new devices cannot be formatted at all. Instead, the Mac reports: "The deletion failed". The reason for this is a setting in Disk Utility.

Fix problems with USB sticks on Mac

Follow our step-by-step instructions or take a look at the brief instructions .

1st step:

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First, connect the USB stick, USB hard drive or SD card to your Mac. Now open the hard disk utility via the Spotlight search (small magnifying glass in the upper right corner of the menu bar) and select the stick, hard disk or SD card . Click Erase to format the media. You can find detailed instructions on how to format a USB stick on a Mac here. If normal formatting fails , it is due to a preset on the part of Apple.

2nd step:

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The problem is that the hard disk utility only shows volumes, i.e. logical drives, by default. However, new USB devices must first be partitioned and formatted as devices . So click on the top left of " representation " and select " All Devices Show ".

3rd step:

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The hard disk utility now switches to a "tiered" view: You can see that the volumes - that is, logical drives - are now mounted below the devices (the "real" physical disks). Click the device and NOT the volume .

4th step:

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Now click on " Delete ". A window will appear in which you can select the formatting . For USB sticks and SD cards, choose a name, always " MS-DOS (FAT) " as the format and always " Master Boot Record" as the scheme in order to achieve maximum compatibility with other operating systems. With hard drives, you have to decide whether they should only be used on the Mac or as a replacement drive with Windows or Linux. If the data carrier is to be used on other operating systems, treat it like a USB stick. For pure Mac operation you can choose " Format: MacOS Extended (journaled) " and " Select “ Scheme: GUID Partition Table ”. Then click on " Delete " - formatting works now. What to do if that doesn't work, see the next step.

5th step:

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In some cases it unfortunately doesn't work at all to format a stick or an SD card with the hard disk utility. Then there are two causes: Either the drive is set up very strangely (from a Linux system, for example) - or it is defective. In the event of a defect, there is nothing more you can do. Otherwise you can download the small tool SD-Card-Formatter from the SD-Association. You can use it to reset memory cards and USB sticks to "factory settings" .

quick start Guide

  1. Open Disk Utility and select your storage medium .
  2. Click Erase to format the media. If that doesn't work, you'll need to change a preset.
  3. To do this, go to " Display " in the top left and then to " Show all devices ".
  4. Now click the device and NOT the volume .
  5. Finally click on " Delete " again and select a name and a format . If you click on " Delete " again, your USB stick will now be formatted.

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