Is it OK to format my tomtom?

Updated February 21, 2017

A handheld global positioning system (GPS) unit, TomTom is available in a variety of models and styles, including as an application for smartphones -- among them Apple's iPhone. The device, just like similar units, includes the ability to restore its storage space, via formatting, in the event of a problem or to delete unwanted maps and data. It's all right to format the device if TomTom Customer Support directs you to do so.

Format Request

If a representative from Customer Support -- available at 866-486-6866 -- prompts you to format your TomTom, it's OK to proceed. TomTom does not recommend formatting your GPS without contacting Customer Support. The Customer Support hotline is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.

Contacting Via Email

You can also contact Customer Support via e-mail. Click the "TomTom Log in" link ( and enter your username and password. Follow the on-screen prompts to contact a representative.

Backing Up Data

To backup any stored maps before formatting, connect the TomTom to your computer using its Universal Serial Bus (USB) cable and click "Mange my device" on the "Home" screen. Click "Items on device" then "Maps." Click "Copy items to computer" to start the process. If you don't back up stored content, formatting entirely erases your data. If you're experiencing issues directly related to a stored map or other content, skip the backup and proceed to the next section.

Formatting Procedure

To format your TomTom in Windows, connect the device to your computer, then click "Start" and "Computer." Right click the removable disk icon for your TomTom and select "Format." Click to check the box next to "FAT32" if it's not already checked. Make sure "Quick Format" is not checked. If it is, click the box next to it to uncheck it. Click "Start," then "OK" to begin formatting.

On a Mac, connect the TomTom to your computer and click "Go" on Finder's main menu. Select "Utilities," then double click "Disk Utility." Click the TomTom volume you want to format, then select "Erase." Click the down arrow next to "Volume Format" and select "MS-DOS (FAT)." Click "Erase," then "Erase" again after the warning about formatting the volume appears.

Warning and Restoring Data

Formatting your TomTom erases any maps, routes and other content stored on the device. Only format your TomTom as a last resort at the direction of a Customer Support Representative.

Once the formatting is complete, leave the device connected to your computer and restore backed-up content. Click "Manage my device" on your TomTom's "Home" screen, then click "Items on computer." Click "Applications and Voices" then select "Remove items from computer." Your TomTom returns to the "Home" screen. Click "Update my device," then click the files listed for you to restore. Click "Update and install," then "Done" to begin. Your TomTom once again returns "Home." Click "Add Traffic, Voices, Safety Cameras etc." then click "Items on my computer." Click "Maps," then "Add." Click "Postcodes" and select "Add." The restore process begins, returning you to the "Home" screen when complete.

Reset Procedure

To solve most problems, you simply need to reset your TomTom. Press and hold the "On/Off" button until the unit restarts. This process takes 15 to 20 seconds to complete. Make sure your TomTom is fully charged for approximately two hours before completing the reset procedure; otherwise the process may not complete properly, resulting in recurrence of the error requiring the reset.

To check your TomTom's battery indicator, click the bottom right corner of the screen while in "Driving View" or "Home." The "Battery and Satellite Connections" screen appears, with a battery indicator in the upper right-hand corner. If every bar of the indicator is green, the battery is fully charged.

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About the Author

Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.