We get a lot of questions about flash drives. Like this question from Jim. He just bought a 128 GB flash drive for doing backups, but he has a question about his other drives.

“I have several others of less GB, it is possible to erase these and reuse them? How can I do this on my Mac OS? I hate to destroy these and throw them away.”

We’ve got good news for you, Jim!

Sure you can delete what is already on the flash drives. There are a few ways to this, but first be certain to copy what is already on the flash drives to another location before doing anything, so that you are certain you have saved copies of that information.

Since you’re on a Mac, the easiest way to get rid of the files is the put the drive into a USB port on your computer, then drag the files to the trash. You can even use select all by clicking into the drive, hitting the Command and A key, then dragging all files at once to the trash.

Another option is to format the drives. Put the flash drive into the computer. Go to Finder, Utilities, and the choose Disk Utility. Click the flash drive on the left of the screen. Click the Erase tab on the right pane, then click Format from the drop-down menu.

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Select the file system beside Format, usually you want to choose FAT for 32GB and smaller drives or ExFAT for larger drives. This format allows use on both Apple and Windows computers. You can choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) if you are using the drive strictly for Mac OS. Click erase at the bottom and confirm your choice. This will erase anything on those drives and clear them for future use.

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~ Audra