How to Use a USB Flash Drive With a Mac

Written by marshal m. rosenthal
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How to Use a USB Flash Drive With a Mac
A USB flash drive must first be formatted for the Mac's operating system before it can be used. (flash drive close image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com)

A USB flash drive functions in a similar manner to that of an external hard drive when it is attached to the Mac. The USB flash drive will not be recognised by the Mac's OS X operating system until it has been formatted first. You can format a USB flash drive on a Mac using a program that is included with the OS X operating system. The procedure is straightforward and does not require any experience in formatting drives.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Insert the connector on the USB flash drive into a USB port on the Mac. Double-click the "Applications" folder to open its window on the desktop. Scroll down to the "Utilities" folder. Double-click on the "Utilities" folder to open its window on the desktop. Scroll down to the "Disk Utility" program. Double-click on the "Disk Utility" program to launch it.

  2. 2

    Select the icon of the USB flash drive from the list of drives in the left column of the "Disk Utility" program. Click the "Erase" button at the top of the "Disk Utility" program's window.

  3. 3

    Name the USB flash drive in the "Name" column at the centre of the "Disk Utility" program's window. Select "Mac OS Extended" from the "Format" drop-down menu.

  4. 4

    Click the "Erase" button at the bottom right of the "Disk Utility" program's window. Click the "Erase" button on the pop-up window that appears.

  5. 5

    Wait as a progress bar appears at the bottom of the "Disk Utility" program's window and fills in from left to right. Quit the "Disk Utility" program once the progress bar is completely filled in.

  6. 6

    Double-click on the icon of the USB flash drive that is now on the desktop to open its window. Drag a file, folder or program into the window to copy it to the USB flash drive.

  7. 7

    Drag the icon of the USB flash drive to the "Trash" once the progress bar has appeared and disappeared to signify that the copying is done. Remove the USB flash drive form the USB port of the Mac.

Tips and warnings

  • A USB flash drive can be formatted so that it can be recognised by a PC's operating system as well as that of the Mac's.
  • Inexpensive USB flash drives are prone to developing problems and suddenly ceasing to work.

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