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What is exFAT and How it performs on Mac?

Updated on Thursday, July 18, 2024

iBoysoft author Jessica Shee

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Jessica Shee

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Summary: This article answers the question "Can Mac read exFAT" and the answer is yes. Find out what exFAT is, how an exFAT device performs on Mac, and how to get exFAT on Mac.

Can Mac read exFAT

Mac offers full read-write support for exFAT. Any devices with an exFAT format can be mounted automatically in the Finder and the desktop after being plugged in. Then Mac users have access to all files stored on an exFAT device like any device with a macOS-compatible file system.

What is exFAT?

exFAT (Extensible File Allocation Table) is a proprietary file system introduced by Microsoft in 2006 and optimized for flash memory such as USB flash drives and SD cards. According to Microsoft, The central design goals of the exFAT file system are to:

1. Retain the simplicity of FAT-based file systems. The entire FAT family is lightweight and a better option for equipment that requires low memory and low power consumption.

2. Enable large files and storage devices. The exFAT file system allows a cluster of 32MB and 512TB recommended maximum disk size.

3. Incorporate extensibility for future innovation. The exFAT is designed with extensibility to be able to catch up with the innovations in disk storage.

How does exFAT perform on Mac?

exFAT vs. NTFS, the NTFS file system is read-only on Mac (NTFS for Mac can help with that), but macOS fully supports reading and writing exFAT external drives starting from Mac OS X10.6.5 in 2009. The newer versions of macOS including macOS Mojave, macOS Big Sur, and macOS Monterey all can recognize and mount exFAT external devices.

All consumer devices, including flash drives, digital cameras, camcorders, digital photo frames, modern flat-panel TVs, and portable media players, with an exFAT file system are supported on Mac.

The read and write speed of exFAT is equivalent to its performance on Windows.

How to get ExFAT on Mac?

It is easy to format your external disks on Mac with exFAT, such as changing APFS to exFAT and converting HFS+ to exFAT without the help of a third-party solution. Follow the steps below:

  1. Open Disk Utility by going to Finder > Applications > Utilities.
  2. Select the drive from the side panel where all detected drives are.
  3. Click the Erase tool at the top.
  4. Select ExFAT in the format list box after you enter a label for your drive and keep the GUID as the default scheme.
  5. Click Erase and wait until the formatting is complete.

Read Also:

What's the Best Allocation Unit Size for exFAT (Change & Check)

How to Convert exFAT to NTFS on Mac & Windows 11/10/8/7?

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