iPadOS 18 brings support for formatting external drives

iPadOS 18 could bring a much-requested feature: formatting external drives directly on your iPad. This eliminates the need to rely on a Mac for this task.

iPadOS 15

Previously, formatting an external drive connected to your iPad meant borrowing a friend’s Mac or tethering to your own. But iPadOS 18 streamlines the process. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Connect your external drive to your iPad using a compatible adapter.
  2. Open the Files app.
  3. Locate your external drive in the sidebar menu.
  4. Tap and hold on the drive’s icon to reveal a contextual menu.
  5. Select the “Erase” option.

Choosing the right file system: APFS, ExFAT, or MS-DOS (FAT)?

iPadOS 18 empowers you to choose the file system that best suits your needs. Here’s a breakdown of the three available options:

  • APFS (Apple File System): Ideal for use within the Apple ecosystem (iPads, iPhones, Macs). It boasts features like encryption for enhanced security and case sensitivity for better file organization (useful for programming or web development).
  • ExFAT (Extended File Allocation Table): This versatile file system offers broad compatibility across various devices, including Windows PCs, Macs, and even some gaming consoles. If you plan on using the drive on multiple platforms, ExFAT is a solid choice.
  • MS-DOS (FAT): The granddaddy of file systems, MS-DOS (FAT), is compatible with older systems that might have limitations on storage capacity. However, it’s not recommended for modern devices due to its limitations in handling large files.


Consider compatibility and security

The best file system for you depends on how you plan to use the external drive. If you primarily use Apple devices, APFS offers the best performance and security features.

But if you need cross-platform compatibility, ExFAT is the way to go. MS-DOS (FAT) is a niche option for specific situations where you need compatibility with very old systems.

A more capable iPad

The ability to format external drives directly on iPadOS 18 signifies a significant step forward for iPad users. It empowers them to manage their storage more effectively, especially when on the go.

This new feature, coupled with iPadOS 18’s other enhancements, makes the iPad an even more capable and versatile device.

Read more:

About the Author

I'm a passionate tech enthusiast here to break down the latest trends, gadgets, and software. Whether you're a seasoned programmer or just curious about the digital world, I aim to deliver insightful articles that are both informative and engaging.