When you’re newish to a Mac. And you’re not sure how to get the formatting of your Western Digital SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD. Or SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD done.
Even though your SanDisk Portable SSD is formatted out of the box ExFAT.
Maybe you don’t want that.
Or the factory formatting is playing up on your Mac.
Or you want APFS formatting because you’ve heard that’s the BEST for an SSD on Mac.
Read on. In PICTURES, words and a video, take a guide though how to get it done.
SanDisk Extreme Portable: How To Format For Your Mac
1. Log Into Your Mac And Then Plug In Your Extreme Portable SSD.
2. Start Disk Utility.
3. Click On Your Extreme SSD In Disk Utility.
4. Pick Erase.
5. Name Your Extreme Portable SSD. Pick Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as Format. And GUID Partition Map for Scheme.
6. Click on Erase button.
That’s the first pass. Then if you want APFS formatting you can pick that the second time through.
Would You Like To Learn Through Words or From A Video?
Are you a visual learner?
Then this video is for you. See how the formatting of a SanDisk Extreme Portable is done on a Mac.
Here is a 4 minute 53 second video for you.
Video Credit: MacTakeAwayData
Before You Start The Formatting Of Your SanDisk Portable On Your Mac
Sign into your iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or M1 Pro. Then plug in your SanDisk NVMe SSD drive.
You get a USB C to USB type C cable in the box.
When you’re plugging into an older Mac. A Mac without a USB C port.
You’ll want to use the adaptor in the box. Put it on the end of your USB type C to USB C cable.
Just remember to check when you plug in that your cable is well seated into your Mac. And into your SanDisk Portable SSD.
Because if your cable isn’t plugged in right. Your Sandisk Portable. Or your Extreme Pro Portable won’t appear on your Mac’s desktop.
Check the adaptor plug is well seated and that the arrows match up.
Then you should see your SanDisk SSD’s drive icon on your Mac’s desktop.
Sandisk Extreme Portable Not Showing On Your Mac’s Desktop?
Open up a Finder window. And open up Finder Preferences.
Look under your Finder Preferences General heading. And make sure there is a check mark against ‘External Disk’ on the preferences window.
That’s the setting that says whether your Mac shows you your external drive on your desktop. Or Not.
What You Use To Format Your Extreme Portable SSD On Your Mac
Your Mac has software that’s already part of your Mac’s operating system. The software is called Disk Utility.
There’s nothing extra to pay to use it.
And that’s the software to use to format your Sandisk Extreme Portable. Or SanDisk Pro Portable SSD on your Mac computer.
How To Format Your SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD On Mac
Before you start. Pause One Second.
Do you have any of your own files or data on the drive?
Do you want that data? Then copy them off somewhere else first.
Your SanDisk Extreme Portable ships with some files already on there.
A folder with some pdf’s inside.
And a program file.
The program only runs on a Windows PC. It’s the hardware encryption software for the SanDisk Extreme Portable for a PC.
The PDF’s are about using that software.
If you don’t plan to use those files then carry right on reading this post. And with your formatting.
Think you might want to use these files?
Then copy them somewhere else first.
A quick copy and paste to a folder on your Mac. And you’ve got them saved if you want to use them in the future.
Because if you want that data back after you’ve formatted. Then you’ll be seeking the services of a Data Recovery company. Or buying yourself Data Recovery software.
And with no assurance you’ll recover your data.
Now you’re ready to start.
1. Start Up Disk Utility.
Disk Utility lives in the Application folder on your Mac. Inside a folder called Utilities.
You can open up your Applications folder from your Mac’s Dock. Or from a Finder window.
Scroll down to find the Utilities folder. And double click to start up Disk Utility.
Once Disk Utility is open.
Your Disk Utility window lists all the drives your Mac can see.
And they are under two headings.
Your internal drives you’ll see under ‘Internal’
Your external drives are under ‘External’. The arrows in the picture point out the headings.
You’ll find your Western Digital SanDisk Extreme under the External drives list.
One thing to check.
Be sure you can see two levels.
If not, go to the top of your Mac’s screen.
Then pick Disk Utility View. And choose ‘Show All Devices’.
You’ll then see all the levels you need to, to properly format your SanDisk Extreme USB drive.
2. Pick your Sandisk Extreme Portable.
Click your Sandisk Portable SSD at the top level
3. Click Erase.
Erase is what your Mac calls formatting.
Don’t panic. You’re going to set up how you want your SanDisk external SSD formatted for your Mac next.
You’re not actually erasing yet.
4. Set Your SanDisk Extreme Portable Mac Format.
On the next window that pops up you’ll have a chance to give your SanDisk Portable SSD a name.
Type that in where the screen says name.
Next. Set the format as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
And the scheme as GUID partition Map
If you don’t see those options then use the small up down arrows at the end of the field to pick these options.
You’ll see from the picture the default chosen by Disk Utility is Master Boot Record. That’s how your SanDisk comes shipped.
But you don’t want this for your Mac.
Be sure to choose GUID Partition Map.
Did you remember to copy everything you want off your SanDisk Portable SSD. Or SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD first?
If not then do that now. And then come back through the steps to here.
Even if you plan to have your Extreme Portable in APFS. Format the first time as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and the Scheme as GUID Partition Map.
Because you won’t see APFS as a format option until you do this first.
5. Click On The Erase Button.
Click on the Erase button and your Mac will start formatting your SanDisk Portable SSD.
Wait a few moments and your Mac will be done.
6. Quit Disk Utility.
Quit the Disk Utility application. And you’ll see that your SanDisk’s drive Icon will be on your Mac’s desktop.
You can now double click it to open up a finder window on your drive. Drag and drop your files to your newly formatted drive. Or copy and paste your files onto it.
Create folders as you please.
Before Plugging Out Your SanDisk
Remember to right click on your SanDisk external SSD. And pick Eject when your done with your drive.
Wait till the drive icon disappears off your Mac’s desktop.
Wait a few seconds more.
Your Mac writes what it needs to down to your SanDisk SSD.
There’s no flashing light on the drive to tell you when that’s done.
So, waiting a few seconds more is a good idea before pulling out your USB cable.
That way you won’t risk corrupting your files on your SSD.
Do I Need To Format SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD For Mac?
Generally, yes. Format your SanDisk Portable. Or Pro Portable SSD on your Mac for Mac. Several Mac users have had issues with the format the SanDisk SSD storage ships in.
And it’s a format that both your Mac and a Windows PC can read.
And this format is normally fine when you plan to share your SanDisk SSD storage between your Mac and a Windows PC.
Even so, format on a Mac even if you plan to use the ExFAT format.
Mac’s can be quirky about their drive formats.
And the SanDisk Extreme Portable ships with a Master Boot Record Scheme.
Fine for a PC. But your Mac might object over time to the drive. Which is a real pain when you’ve got files on the drive.
Formatting on your Mac is the safest option.
Why Format Your SanDisk Extreme SSD Portable As Mac OS Extended?
Because before you can change your SanDisk Portable to any other format on your Mac. You have to format as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) first.
The next best reason is because it’s the most common format used by Mac’s. This format is also known as HFS+.
And when your moving your SanDisk SSD Portable between older and newer Mac’s. This is the format lots of Macs will understand.
Format Your SanDisk Extreme For Drag And Drop
Or copy and paste.
And You’re not planning on sharing your drive with a PC.
Then format as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Or APFS.
How To Format Your SanDisk Extreme For Time Machine
Using your SanDisk SSD USB flash drive on your Mac for a Time Machine backup?
Know that Time machine CAN’T use the default ExFAT formatting of the SanDisk Portable SSD.
Time Machine will only backup to a drive formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Or APFS.
How To Format Your Sandisk Extreme As APFS?
APFS – Apple File System. Is the file system Apple created for Mac’s using SSD drives. Because before that Macs had a hard drive inside. And used an external hard drive.
APFS is a fast file system made to take advantage of the fast transfer speed of SSD’s. And you’ll get the benefit of flexible partitioning on your SSD.
You can create new partitions. Or change your partition sizes and not wipe the files you already have on there.
And when you need the fastest performance from your SanDisk SSD it’s the file system format to pick.
But APFS didn’t work for a Time Machine backup before Mac OS x Big Sur. But Since Mac OS x Big Sur you can format your SanDisk external SSD in APFS.
Just remember it’s not supported in earlier Mac OS’s releases with Time Machine.
When you want to set up your SanDisk Extreme Portable. Or Extreme Pro Portable as an APFS drive. You follow the formatting steps as described above.
Then step through them one more time.
The second time through the formatting, at step 4 you’ll see the APFS options.
APFS won’t come up if you don’t format as Mac OS Extended first.
And still pick GUID partition map as the scheme.
And away you go.
Changing your SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD USB cable
You might think the cable supplied with your SanDisk Extreme Portable is a little short.
But if you do buy yourself a replacement cable, be sure to get one that is a USB 3.2 Gen 2 cable.
As only that type of cable allows you to get the fastest speed out of your SanDisk SSD drive.
About Paul Gregory
I’ve been a system administrator for various corporates for 15 years. And as admin I’ve helped many with their Mac’s and there many Apple devices.
I’m excited by watching users, armed with a little knowledge take control of their Mac’s and their files. And why not?
When I’m not at work or working on the site I like to chill with few beers. And watch a bit of car racing. From Formula 1 to stock car racing. The competition is my thing.