Knowing when and how to format your SD card is the first step to preventing future loss of files or corruption of files.
This is because, just like every other thing has issues from time to time, SD cards can get infected with a virus. Or become corrupted or even just become full.
In such a situation, knowing how to format your SD card is the ultimate solution to fixing these problems.
As a photographer or videographer, you know it’s always best to start shooting with a blank card to avoid stories.
Hence, this article is handy for you as it shows you how to format an SD card on a phone, PC, MAC, and even a Camera.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
What Does it Mean to Format an SD Card?
Formatting an SD card means getting rid of all the existing data on that SD card. It will remove all the files and prepare the card for a new filing system.
So when you buy a new SD card, there’s no need to be worried about formatting it again because the card has been pre-formatted.
How to Format SD Card on Android Phone
If you’d like to erase all data on your phone, then it’s possible to do it with your phone. However, you have to be sure that your phone has the format feature.
Here we use the Infinix phone as an example.
- Go to the Settings app on your phone, select storage
- Under Storage, select SD Card.
- Click on it to select “Format.” Then tap “Format SD Card” to confirm.
Formatting SD cards on mobile phones differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. The key point here is to find the SD card on your mobile phone settings, and you’d be good to go.
How to Format SD Card on PC
Formatting your SD card on your PC is a better option compared to using your mobile phone.
Here’s what you’ll need.
- PC running on Windows 10
- Micro SD card adapter / USB micro SD card reader (If using a micro SD card): This will enable your computer to read your memory card. At the same time, the adapter allows you to insert your SD card into the SD card port on your computer.
- SD card port (built-in) or SD card reader: If you are using a standard-size SD card, you’ll need a port in your computer or a USB card reader.
If you have all of these ready, here’s how to format your SD card on your PC
- Insert the SD card into your computer
- Open the File Explorer on your computer and locate your SD card. Right-click it and select the “Format” option
- If your SD card has a file capacity of less than 64GB, set the File System to FAT32. If it’s 64GB or higher, set the File System to exFAT. Then select “Start” to begin.
- You will be prompted that you’d lose all existing files on your SD card. Select “OK” to ignore the warning and begin formatting the card
- When it’s done, you will receive a message saying that the Format is complete.
Can I format Write-Protected SD Cards on My PC?
The answer is yes, you can. Sometimes when trying to format an SD card, you’d see a message saying that it is write-protected or read-only.
Most cards have a little tab on the edge that allows you to move it up or down. If your card is write-protected/read-only, move the tab to the opposite position (i.e., if it’s up, move it down; and if it’s down, move it up).
However, if it doesn’t have any tab, follow the steps below.
- Insert the SD card into your computer
- Right-click the Start menu and select Windows PowerShell (Admin) on Windows 10 or Command Prompt (Admin) on Windows 8. If you’re using Windows 7 or an earlier version, select the Start menu, right-click Command Prompt, and select Run as administrator. You may need to navigate through the menu to find the Command Prompt icon.
- In the Command prompt, type “diskpart” and press “Enter”
- Type list disk and press Enter. A list of all the available disks on your computer will appear. Look for the disk number that is similar to the size of the SD card.
- Type select disk # (# here is the number of the disk for the SD card) and then press Enter.
- Type “attributes disk clear read-only” and press Enter.
- Type “clean” and press Enter.
- When the process is complete, “type exit” and press Enter.
- Close the Command Prompt and format the SD card using File Explorer as explained above.
How to Format an SD Card on your MAC
If you’re using a Macbook, you’re not left out, as you can also format an SD card on your MAC.
Here’s how to do so conveniently.
- Insert the SD card into the SD card slot
- Open “Finder”
- Click “Go” and choose “Utilities.”
- Double-click “Disk Utility.”
- Select the SD card
- Click the “Erase” tab
- Click the “Format” dropdown arrow and choose “ExFat” to format the SD Card so it works on Windows and Mac.
- In the “Erase” dialog box, click “Erase”
- Your SD card has been formatted.
How to Reformat SD Card Using Windows
Reformatting an SD card means you are changing the initial file system type. And to do this, you need to insert the SD card into your Windows computer and perform a good-quality format.
Follow the instructions below to reformat your SD card
- Insert the SD card into the SD card slot on your PC
- Open your File Explorer and select “This PC”
- Select the SD card
- Select “Manage”
- Choose “Format”
- In the Format SD Card dialog box, select the File System dropdown arrow and choose FAT32.
- You can either select the Quick Format checkbox if you’ve formatted the SD card before or clear the Quick Format checkbox to format the SD Card for the first time.
- Select Start.
- In the Warning dialog box, select OK.
How to Format Camera SD Card
One of the most effective ways to format your SD card is by using your camera. This is because it minimizes the chances of errors and gives you a high-level format.
However, the process of formatting an SD card with a camera differs according to the camera. So, to do a good job, you’d have to go through the camera’s instruction manual to find information on how to use the camera to format the SD card.
Regardless, below are general steps you can take to format an SD card with a camera.
- Back up the files on the SD card to your computer or cloud storage service. And ensure the camera is fully charged.
- Turn off the camera and insert the SD card into the proper slot.
- Turn the camera back on
- Select “Menu” on the camera
- In the display, select the “Setup” menu and choose “Format,” “Format Memory Card,” or something similar.
- Then select “Ok”
- Wait for the camera to format the SD card entirely. It may take a few minutes, so you’d have to be patient.
- When the SD card is formatted, turn off the camera
- Remove the SD card afterward.
Why You Should Format Your SD Card
Below are the major reasons you should format your SD card.
#1. If it’s a brand-new card.
When you get an SD card newly, it’s important your format it for the first time before you use it.
#2. Create more space.
If your SD card is full, instead of removing a few photos and videos and then coming back to the no-space message later on, you can upload the data and reformat it. It’s always better to start a shoot with an empty card.
#3. Prepare Your Card For Another Camera
File structure and type differ from one camera to the next. So, the best way to stay safe and avoid unnecessary glitches is to format your card.
#4. Avoid corrupt card
More especially, if you don’t know when your card was formatted, it’s best to just format it again. Corrupt cards can make your camera freeze.
I hope you’ve learned the best ways to format your SD card regardless of the type of device you have.
If you have any questions, kindly let me know in the comments section.
All the best!
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No matter what kind of device you happen to be using an SD card with, you’ll need to format it at some point in time. Formatting an SD card erases all the card data, giving you a clean slate to work from.
You can format your SD card using the Settings menu on most Android devices. Warning: Formatting your SD card will erase all data on the SD card. You will not be able to retrieve it once it is formatted. Make sure you back up all data on the SD card you want to keep.
Go to your phone’s “Settings.”
Select “Device Care/Device Maintenance.”
Choose “Storage” and hit the “Advanced” button.
Under the “Portable” storage menu, select “SD Card.”
Hit the “Format” button, read the following message, and choose “Format SD Card.”
Formatting a microSD card permanently removes all of the files stored on the card.
From the Home screen, tap Apps > Settings > Storage.
Tap Unmount SD card to release the microSD card from device use. …
Once released, tap Erase SD card > Erase SD card > Erase everything.
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