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Some Mac users may need the ability to wipe a disk or hard drive from the command line on Mac OS, a task usually performed through the Disk Utility application from the GUI. The command line approach to wiping drives in macOS is a bit different, and it requires precise syntax to make sure you’re wiping the correct drive, making this method of wiping any drive only suitable for advanced Mac users.
This one guide will continue how to Erase and format an entire target disk using only the command line on any Mac with macOS or Mac OS X. You can choose any common file system format to which the disk is erased after it is erased, including ExFAT, FAT32, HFS + or JHFS +.
Note that this is for wiping the entire drive from the command line here, this isn’t just wiping a volume or partition on the target drive. The entire target disk will be erased, all data on the target disk will be destroyed using this approach, leaving no volumes or partitions or data. Don’t get that wrong or you will inevitably lose data permanently when it is erased and destroyed. Remember the command line is relentless, if you are not comfortable with the command line it would be much more convenient to erase and format a drive using Disk Utility in Mac OS X’s default interface.
How to Erase a disk from the Mac OS command line
To get started, you need to launch the Terminal application on the Mac which gives access to the command line. It can be found with Spotlight, Launchpad or in the / Applications / Utilities / folder.
To erase a disk from the command line on the Mac, we use the well-known “diskutil” command with the eraseDisk verb and other appropriate flags to specify options for how we want to erase the disk and identify which disk to erase. are deleted.
The basic syntax for wiping a drive from the command line in macOS is as follows:
diskutil eraseDisk FILE_SYSTEM DISK_NAME DISK_IDENTIFIER
For example, suppose you used “diskutil list” to list all mounted drives on a Mac from the command line and you determined that the correct drive to erase is identified as / dev / disk6s2, you want the disk name to be ” Flushed “and you want the new disk file system type to be Mac OS Extended Journaled (JHFS +), the syntax is the following:
diskutil eraseDisk JHFS + Flushed / dev / disk6s2
It is absolutely essential that you use the correct syntax when identifying the drive to be erased. Incorrect identification can result in the wrong drive being erased, permanently destroying all data on it. Do not screw this on up. If you are not sure, you can find the disk ID node with “diskutil info” DISK NAME “| grep Device”.
For quick reference, here are some examples of different disk wiping methods for different file system formats. As always, make sure to change the disk node as appropriate for your disk.
Format a drive to Mac OS Extended Journaled (JHFS +) from Terminal in Mac OS X
diskutil eraseDisk JHFS + DiskName / dev / DiskNodeID
Format a drive to Mac OS Extended (HFS +) from Terminal in Mac OS X
diskutil eraseDisk HFS + DiskName / dev / DiskNodeID
Format a disk to MS-DOS fat32 from the command line in Mac OS X
diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 DiskNameGoesHere / dev / DiskNodeIDHere
Format a drive to ExFAT from the command line in Mac OS X
diskutil eraseDisk ExFAT DiskName / dev / DiskNodeID
Again, each of these commands will erase the entire target disk and all data on it.
Users who want additional details or information about the other options available, including MBR and GPT settings, can request the man page with “man diskutil” and search for “eraseDisk”, or run the command without specific details such as:
diskutil eraseDiskUsage: diskutil eraseDisk format name | MBR| GPT
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