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How to format an SD card to FAT32 on a Mac without a virtual machine

Nomaan Ahgharian
April 30th, 2019 · 1 min read

If you have a need to format your SD card to FAT32, in my case following trying to flash OpenIP to WYZE camera, you can do it right from your mac.

We will use Disk Utility command line interface to achieve this. To get started, open a terminal window.

Find out the disk number for your SD card.

1diskutil list

This should give you something like the following.

1/dev/disk0 (internal, physical):
2 #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
3 0: GUID_partition_scheme *500.3 GB disk0
4 1: EFI EFI 209.7 MB disk0s1
5 2: Apple_APFS Container disk1 452.4 GB disk0s2
6 3: Apple_KernelCoreDump 655.4 MB disk0s3
7 4: Microsoft Basic Data OSXRESERVED 8.0 GB disk0s4
8 5: Windows Recovery 471.9 MB disk0s5
9 6: EFI NO NAME 104.9 MB disk0s6
10 7: Microsoft Reserved 16.8 MB disk0s7
11 8: Apple_HFS Free 38.3 GB disk0s8
12
13/dev/disk1 (synthesized):
14 #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
15 0: APFS Container Scheme - +452.4 GB disk1
16 Physical Store disk0s2
17 1: APFS Volume Macintosh HD 377.9 GB disk1s1
18 2: APFS Volume Preboot 54.3 MB disk1s2
19 3: APFS Volume Recovery 517.1 MB disk1s3
20 4: APFS Volume VM 2.1 GB disk1s4
21
22/dev/disk3 (external, physical):
23 #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
24 0: GUID_partition_scheme *31.3 GB disk3
25 1: Microsoft Reserved 33.6 MB disk3s1
26 2: Linux Filesystem 25.2 MB disk3s2
27 3: Linux Filesystem 268.4 MB disk3s3
28 4: Linux Filesystem 25.2 MB disk3s4
29 5: Linux Filesystem 268.4 MB disk3s5
30 6: Linux Filesystem 8.4 MB disk3s6
31 7: Linux Filesystem 100.7 MB disk3s7
32 8: Linux Filesystem 30.5 GB disk3s8

You need to look for the SD card size and name if it’s already formatted. In this case, disk3 is what we are looking for.

Simply running the following will format it to FAT32.

sudo diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 'VOL_NAME' disk3

⚠️ The volume name must be all caps otherwise you will see error: does not appear to be a valid volume name for its file system.

You should now have an SD card with FAT32 formatting.

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