Do you own a PC running Windows 10/11 as well as a Mac running a recent version of macOS? Want to move data between PC and Mac with the help of a USB drive but unable to do so? This guide should help you.
Should USB drive be NTFS, FAT32 or exFAT for PC and Mac?
Most computer users running a version of Windows operating system, usually format USB drives in the NTFS file system. While the NTFS file system is recommended on Windows PCs, Macs do not support it out of the box. On Macs, you must use third-party software to access the NTFS file system.
Coming to the FAT32 file system, both Windows and macOS support the FAT32 file system. However, remember that FAT32 does not support files over 4 GB in size. That is, if a file is greater than 4 GB, the FAT32 file system does not support it, and hence you cannot use a FAT32 formatted USB drive to transfer files larger than 4 GB.
So, if you want to transfer data between Mac and PC, it’s best to use the exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) file system. Both Windows and macOS support exFAT. It also supports files greater than 4 GB.
In short, you should format the USB drive in the exFAT file system if you want to seamlessly transfer data between Windows PC and Mac.
If you are not sure how to format a USB drive in the exFAT file system, follow the directions given below.
IMPORTANT: When you format a USB drive, all data on the USB drive will be erased. So, back up or move all data before formatting.
Format USB drive or external hard drive with the exFAT file system in Windows 10/11
Step 1: Connect the USB drive to your PC.
Step 2: Open This PC. Right-click on the USB drive you want to format in the exFAT file system and then click the Format option.
Step 3: In the resulting dialog, select exFAT from the File System drop-down menu, ensure that Quick format is selected, and then click the Format button. That’s it!
To know more ways to format a USB drive, refer to our three ways to format USB drives in Windows 10/11 guide.
Format USB drive in exFAT file system on Macs
Step 1: Plug in the USB drive to your Mac and back up all data to a safe location, as formatting the USB drive will wipe out all data on it.
Step 2: Use the built-in search to open the Disk Utility.
Step 3: The left pane of the Disk Utility shows your USB drive in addition to the internal drive.
Perform a right-click on the USB drive and then click the Erase option. If more than one USB drive is connected to your Mac, ensure you are right-clicking on the correct USB drive.
Step 4: Next, in the resulting dialog, select exFAT from the Format drop-down menu and then click the Erase button to format the USB drive in the exFAT file system.
Once the format is completed, click on the Done button.