Macos – How to format a 2 GB SD card to FAT32 (preferably with Disk Utility)

disk-utilitymacossd card

I've been looking around for a way to do this for a while, but I haven't been able to find the answer. I need to format my 2 GB SD card to FAT-32, but I don't see the option in Disk Utility.

If I select the SD drive (Apple SDXC Reader Media) and go to 'Erase,' I have the following format options:

  • Mac OS extended (Journaled)
  • Mac OS extended (Journaled, Encrypted)
  • Mac OS extended (Case sensitive, Journaled)
  • Mac OS extended (Case sensitive, Journaled, Encrypted)
  • MS DOS (FAT)
  • ExFAT

Doing the same, but selecting the SD card itself (in my case, NO NAME), I get all the same results, minus Mac OS X's with encryption.

I have read that selecting MS-DOS will chose between FAT-16 and -32, depending on the SD card's size. However, I have a 2 GB one.

Format:            MS-DOS (FAT16)
Owners Enabled:    No
Number of Folders: 0
Capacity:          1.98 GB (1,975,546,368 Bytes)
Available:         1.79 GB (1,789,296,640 Bytes)
Used:              186 MB (185,991,168 Bytes)  --> (I have already backed up)
Number of Files:   512

Best Answer

If you're comfortable with using the Terminal, try this:

First, look at the partition table by running this command:

diskutil list

You should see something like this:

#:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *16.0 GB    disk1
1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk1s1
2:                  Apple_HFS Example                 15.7 GB    disk1s2

The partition we want to change is /dev/disk1.

We want to change the device to an MBR-formatted FAT32 partition. To do that, run this command:

sudo diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 NAME MBRFormat /dev/disk1

where NAME is the name you want to give to the disk.

As mentioned in the comments, you cannot put square brackets into the volume's name lest things mess up. To avoid having everything fail, simply ensure that there are no square brackets in the FAT32 volume's new name.

Note: The NAME can fail if not UPPERCASE in many cases.

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