How do I format a microSD/SD card?

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To reformat a secure digital (SD) card / microSD card. Sometimes a microSD/SD card may require formatting before the card can be used with a Garmin device.

NOTE: These instructions are only for formatting a SD card and/or a microSD card. It is not recommended to format any Garmin Mass Storage device unless otherwise directed by Garmin Product Support or these FAQs. If the microSD/SD card is inserted into a Garmin Mass Storage device, e.g., a nuvi, the Garmin nuvi will show up as one drive. The microSD/SD card should show up as a separate drive. Make sure not to format the device, just the microSD/SD card.


To format a microSD/SD card:

  1. Open Spotlight (CMD-SPACE on keyboard)
  2. Type Disk Utility (in Spotlight search box)
  3. Click Disk Utility to open the application
  4. Click the drive to format on the left side of the disk utility
  5. Click the parent of the SD card (it normally has the size in the name)
  6. Click on the Partition Tab
  7. Under the Volume Scheme select "1 Partition". (OS 10.7 Lion this is called Partition Layout)
  8. In the format area, select MS-DOS (FAT)
  9. Click Options
  10. Select MBR (Master Boot Record)
  11. Click OK
  12. In the Name field type a name/title for the SD card (Do not leave the name called "Untitled")
  13. Click Apply to format the card

On occasion some individuals running OS 10.6 may receive an error in the process. If an error occurs:

  1. Click the Erase tab
  2. Select MS_DOS (FAT) from the format drop down
  3. Click Erase
  4. After the erase is complete follow steps 1-13 for formatting the card


Format the microSD/SD card to a FAT or FAT32 format. A 2 GB or less card can be formatted in FAT or FAT32. Anything larger than a 2 GB should be formatted in FAT32 and anything above 32 GB should be formatted exFAT322

For mass storage devices and for media transfer protocol devices (MTP):

  1. Place the SD card into the SD card slot in the device
  2. Open My Computer if on Windows XP or Computer if on Windows Vista / 7/8
  3. Locate the Removable Disk 1 icon underneath the Garmin drive
  4. Right click on the Removable Disk icon
  5. Click on Format

These steps will Format the microSD/SD card to be readable by the Garmin device.

1The majority of microSD/SD cards are identified by the computer as Removable Disk:

2It’s standard practice for SD card manufacturers to format 64 GB MicroSD cards to exFAT. exFAT is supported by the following operating systems:

  • Windows XP will read exFAT32 if Microsoft update KB955704 is applied.
  • Windows Vista with Service Pack 1,
  • Windows 7,
  • Windows 8
  • Mac OS 10.6.5 (OS X Snow Leopard)
  • Mac OS 10.7 (OS X Lion)
  • Mac OS 10.8 (OS X Mountain Lion)
  • Mac OS 10.9 (Mavericks‎)
  • If the operating system doesn’t support exFAT a 32 GB (or smaller) MicroSD card will be needed.


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