How to Delete Files off A Flash Drive on A Mac (with Pictures)?

by Jenefey Aaron   Updated on 2021-05-13 / Update for  Mac OS

“I have a few video files on my USB drive but I can't delete files from flash drive on Mac. I am a Windows user but recently I did transition to a Mac. But it seems there are a few new things I need to know. So, do you have any idea how can I change the permissions of the files in order to delete them?”

Well, being one of the most advanced Operating Systems on the planet, Apple designed the macOS quite differently in order to make it stand apart. But being different didn't always helped the users, there are quite a few things that are unnecessarily complicated. Although, users wish to change them but sadly, there is no way around.

So, how to delete files off a flash drive on a Mac? It is a bit complicated task, you are required to use specific steps. So, read the article below in order to learn all the tricks and tips to delete files off of a Mac USB drive.

Part 1. Why You Can't Delete Files from Flash Drive on Mac

One of the widely asked question among the Mac users is how to delete hidden files off a flash on a Mac?

It is very frustrating if you are unable to delete files from an external drive as you are trying to clean it. Well, on Mac it is basically the issue of permission. You simply have to change a few things and then you will be able to erase the files successfully. They are discussed below.

Part 2. How to Erase Files from Flash Drive on Mac

Well, the question how to delete files off a flash drive on Mac? On a Mac, users are capable of removing frills from a flash drive, multiple ways.

So, take a look at all the methods one at a time, in details.

1. Directly Delete Files from Flash Drive to Empty Trash on Mac

This is the easiest way to get rid of those files from your flash drive. Dragging the files into the trash is the most convenient way and almost all the macOS users prefers this method.

So, here’s how to delete files from thumb drive on Mac,

Step 1: Simply, open your Mac and connect the flash drive.

Step 2: Then, open it and drag the files and drop them into the ‘Trash’ icon at the ‘Dock’.

send to trash

You can also make a right-click on the selected files and choose ‘Move to Trash’ from the drop menu. But dragging them to the trash is the most convenient for the users.

2. Erase Files from Flash Drive on Mac in Disk Utility

Now, we have Mac’s Disk Utility which can be used to erase files from a flash drive, effectively. The steps are pretty simple. Here’s how to delete files from USB flash drive on Mac,

Step 1: So, connect the flash drive to the Mac. Then, run ‘Finder’ from the Dock.

Step 2:Then, navigate to the ‘Applications’ folder and click on ‘Applications’ on the left side of the dock. Now, click on ‘Disk Utilities’ under ‘Utilities’.

disk utilities

Step 3:In the Disk Utility, choose your flash drive from the left side of the panel. Then, click ‘Erase’. Then choose a format. The ‘OS X Extended (Journaled)’ is the desired option. After that, click on the ‘Erase’ button at bottom right corner of the panel.


After you click on the ‘Erase’ button, all the files from the said USB drive will be erased completely.

3. Format The Flash Drive on A Mac

Just like there is an option to format the flash drives on the Windows platform, macOS is also equipped with a similar option. This procedure is pretty easy to execute. Here’s how to erase files from flash drive on Mac,

Step 1: You have to execute this procedure via ‘Disk Utility. So, press ‘Command + Space’ on the keyboard and launch ‘Spotlight’.

Step 2:Type ‘Disk Utility’ on the dialog box and hit ‘Enter’ to run the app.

Step 3:The connected USB drive will appear as ‘External’. Choose your flash drive by clicking on its name.

usb drive

Step 4: Choose the drive and click ‘Erase’.


The flash drive will be erased completely and you will also be asked to provide a name for it.

Part 3: How to Recover Deleted Files from Flash Drive

Now, it is possible that you have deleted some important files accidentally while erasing files from the USB drive. If you have done that, don’t worry.

Just stop using the drive immediately and use a professional data recovery software to recover those files successfully. Tenorshare 4DDiG for Mac Data Recovery is one of the best options to recover deleted files from flash drive Mac free.

UltData- Mac Data Recovery is effective with close to 100% recovery rate. Take a look at the steps below,

Step 1Step 1: You are required to download and install the program and choose the USB drive, then click ‘Scan’ to proceed.

choose usb for the scan

Step 2Step 2: The scan will take a few minutes. After the scan, all the recoverable files will be listed categorically and displayed on the screen.

preview the files

Step 3Step 3: Now, choose the desired files from the preview and click ‘Recover’ to restore those files, effectively.

recover files

Just be sure not to restore the files on the USB drive. Save them on the Mac’s hard drive; otherwise due to permanent data loss those files will be lost forever.


Therefore, Windows users will have difficulty to erase files from a USB drive that is effectively connected to the Mac. This is nothing more than a change to system. Mac operates is different way. But we have disclosed all the effective ways you can erase files on a Mac external drive, take a look. But for accidental deletion, you can make the recovery with Tenorshare 4DDiG for Mac Data Recovery which is a very effective program.

  Updated on 2021-05-13 / Update for  Mac OS

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