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How to format your drive Mac OS Extended (Journaled) on macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) to macOS 10.15 (Catalina)

 

IMPORTANT: This article applies to the following macOS versions:

  • macOS 10.15 (Catalina)
  • macOS 10.14 (Mojave)
  • macOS 10.13 (High Sierra)
  • macOS 10.12 (Sierra)
  • macOS 10.11 (El Capitan)

Need Help?

It is important to keep the following in mind when formatting Mac OS Extended (Journaled):

  • It is required when using Time Machine for the operating systems listed earlier
  • Mac OS Extended (Journaled) does not work natively with Windows. If you need to go between macOS and Windows, format your drive ExFAT on macOS

IMPORTANT: Reformatting the drive will erase all data on the drive, so you should copy any data you want off the drive prior to formatting. 

  1. Open Disk Utility
    To open Disk Utility - Open Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility

  2. Click View in the upper left and select Show All Devices
    IMPORTANT:
    This option is not available or required on macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) or 10.12 (Sierra), proceed to step 3
  3. Select the non-indented entry, you will see Media in the name
  4. Click the button labeled Erase in the menu which will bring up this window.
    NOTE: If you don’t see Scheme, then make sure that all devices are showing and the non-indented entry is selected. Check step 2 to confirm Disk Utility is Showing All Devices.

  5. Provide a Name for the volume

  6. Set Format to Mac OS Extended (Journaled)

  7. Set Scheme to GUID Partition Map

    WARNING: Formatting the drive will erase all data on the drive, so you should copy any data you want off the drive prior to formatting.

  8. Click the Erase button, Disk Utility will start formatting the drive

  9. Once complete, click Done

  10. The drive should now be formatted Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and can be confirmed by selecting the indented entry which will now show Volume Mac OS Extended (Journaled) under the name you provided