SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD For Mac Ttitle Image

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.

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.

Sandisk Extreme Portable Plugged Into Mac

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.

Extreme Portable USB C Adaptor Arrows
Extreme Portable USB C Adaptor Arrows

Then you should see your SanDisk SSD’s drive icon on your Mac’s desktop.

Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD Icon
Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD Icon

Thinking about getting yourself a new SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD?

Click the link text. And pop on over to the review article on the site.

And Learn more about it on a Mac.

Sandisk Extreme Portable Not Showing On Your Mac’s Desktop?

Check THIS.

Open up a Finder window. And open up Finder Preferences.

Finder Preferences
Finder Preferences

Look under your Finder Preferences General heading. And make sure there is a check mark against ‘External Disk’ on the preferences window.

Finder Preferences Show External Disks
Finder Preferences Show External Disks

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.

Sandisk Extreme Portable Files On Drive
Sandisk Extreme Portable Files On Drive

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.

Utilities In Application Folder
Utilities In Application Folder

Scroll down to find the Utilities folder. And double click to start up Disk Utility.

Disk Utility In Utilities Folder
Disk Utility In Utilities Folder

Once Disk Utility is open.

SanDisk Extreme Portable Internal External
SanDisk Extreme Portable Internal External

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.

SanDisk Extreme Two Levels
SanDisk Extreme Two Levels

If not, go to the top of your Mac’s screen.

Then pick Disk Utility View. And choose ‘Show All Devices’.

SanDisk Disk Utility Show All Devices
SanDisk Disk Utility 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

SanDisk Extreme SSD Pick At Top Level
SanDisk Extreme SSD Pick At Top Level

3. Click Erase.

SanDisk Portable Erase
SanDisk Portable 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.

SanDisk Portable Format Setup
SanDisk Portable Format Setup

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.

SanDisk Portable Format GUID
SanDisk Portable Format 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.

You Ready?

5. Click On The Erase Button.

Sandisk Portable Format Cllick Erase Button
Sandisk Portable Format Cllick Erase Button

Click on the Erase button and your Mac will start formatting your SanDisk Portable SSD.

Sandisk Extreme SSD Formatting
Sandisk Extreme SSD Formatting

Wait a few moments and your Mac will be done.

SanDisk Extreme SSD Formatting Done
SanDisk Extreme SSD Formatting 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.

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD Right Click Eject
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD Right Click Eject

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.

Your SanDisk USB drive is already formatted in a format your Mac can read. It’s called ExFAT. And your Western Digital SanDisk ships to you in that format.

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.

What’s that?

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.

Pick APFS.

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.

Related Articles

How To Use SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD With Mac [Easy Guide]

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD Best Format For Mac (Examples)


  1. I didn’t use the top level the first time round deliberately (as the disk formatting I had was different to the post) but thanks for the confirmation that this was the wrong decision!

    I went back and changed it as suggested, ignoring the face that the initial format was different and just followed the appropriate options in your post and all is working well.
    Thank you

  2. Thank you so much for this helpful and informative tutorial. It was a real godsend, and I send many kudos and feelings of appreciation your way. Thanks to Paul Gregory for posting it precisely on the day I needed it. It was thorough and with both the video and the written explanations, it met both kind of learners’ needs! Just great!

    1. You are very welcome. And thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I am so pleased you found my post timely and precisely what you needed.

Comments are closed.