6 Solutions on How to Clear an SD Card in 2020

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Whenever we use our SD cards, you’ll most likely use the for file management either through moving files, copying files, or even deleting files. After all, they are mostly storage drives meant for mobile devices.

However, although it’s likely that SD cards will contain important files, you will want to learn

how to clear an SD card

at some point.

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While you might argue that it’s as simple as clicking the delete buttons on each file, there are many other options that might be easier. This article will enumerate those options and when you can use them, starting with the most simple one.

How to Clear an SD Card – Select 1 of 6 Here
How to Recover Your Files from a Cleared SD Card
Closing Words

How to Clear an SD Card – Select 1 of 6 Here

1. Format Button (Mac/Windows PC)

Perhaps the easiest way to learn how to clear an SD card is to use the Format button present in most operating systems including Mac and Windows.

There are no prerequisites to using the Format button, making it perfect for a quick fix for your current goal. You only have to follow these steps:

  1. Connect your SD card to the Windows PC or Mac in any way you want.
  2. On your Windows or Mac, launch a session of File Explorer(Windows) or Finder (Mac).
  3. Now since the SD card is already recognized, there should be a drive for that SD card under removable disks. Right-click on that drive to enter the directory.
  4. From the resulting dropdown menu, select Format.
  5. Now follow the onscreen instructions. There should be a different set of instructions for Windows PC and Mac.

That’s pretty much everything you need to know in order to learn how to clear an SD card using the simplest of methods. It’s not the most effective method though since there are cases when these won’t work. If that’s the case, we have another solutions.

2. Erase SD Card (Android)

It’s a bit more complicated than with simply using the Format button on desktops, but this one is still simple enough for beginners to easily understand.

It makes use of the Erase SD card function of your smartphone which is similar to the Format button, only this time, it is exclusive to Android phones.

This might be a bit inconvenient to you, especially if you’re not an Android user, but it’s still a viable option. Here’s how you can use this:

  1. Go to the Settings of your Android phone.
  2. Head to the Storage section of the Settings.
  3. Scroll down until you see an option for Erase SDcard usually under the External Storage section.
  4. Finally, confirm your decision by tapping on the ERASE SD CARD.

This will automatically lead to the formatting of your SD card, though this time it would mostly affect only your SD card and won’t touch the internal storage.

The disadvantage of this is that as we have already mentioned a couple of times, it is only applicable only to Android phones.

There is a method on how to clear an SD card that can be considered better and more effective, but it involves a complicated method.
Erase SD Card (Android)

3. Disk Management (Windows PC)

What we’re talking about when we said complicated is the use of the Disk Management utility tool. So what is this Disk Management?

Disk Management
is a built-in tool for partitioning drives on the Windows operating system. It has been around for around 20 years now and is sure to be helpful in many cases, especially if you’re finding out how to clear an SD card.

It is capable of creating partitions, shrinking partitions, converting one type of partitions to another, and most importantly, formatting partitions. Here’s how to clear an SD card using the Disk Management tool:

  1. On your keyboard, press Win key to access the Start menu.
  2. On the search bar, type in “Disk Management” then select the one that will pop up first.

On the Disk Management window, you will see a list of Volumes which should include your SD card, that is if you’ve already connected it to your Windows PC.

  1. Simply locate the Volume that represents your SD card then right-click on it.
  2. From the resulting menu, click ..
  3. There will be a new window popping up. Now just indicate the other configurations you want to make on that window. However, make sure to tick the checkbox to Perform a quick format.
  4. Finally, click the OKbutton then click the OK button again if prompted.

The Disk Management window will format your SD card this time instead of just the File Explorer, like what we did with the first option.

This would be a more effective way on how to clear an SD card than our first entry since it makes use of a disk partitioning tool like Disk Management.

The only downside to this is that the desktop that you will use should be Windows, otherwise there won’t be a Disk Management utility. There’s a different utility tool for when you use Mac, but let’s stick to Windows for now.

4. Diskpart (Windows PC)

When we talk about the disk partitioning tools of Windows, surely we won’t be excluding the very useful tool, Diskpart similar to Disk Management.

Diskpart is another function on Windows, though it is more specific this time since it is a command-line utility function.

Like Disk Management, it’s been around for around 20 years as well. It was once called fdisk but has now evolved as the Diskpart utility.

While Disk Management allows you to manage your disks, Diskpart only conducts various commands on your disks, including the clearing of disks. Without further ado, here’s how to clear an SD card if we’re going to use the Diskpart:

  1. Access Diskpart but pressing the Windows key to go to the Startmenu, searching for “diskpart” then selecting the first option that pops up.

You may also just type in “cmd”, open the first option, then type in “diskpart” and press Enter to access the Diskpart command line.

  1. Once you’re on the Diskpart command line, type in list disk then press Enter.
  2. There will be a list of disks appearing on the Command Prompt window.
  3. Locate the disk that represents your SD card, remember its letter, then type in “select disks” replacing the letter d with the letter for your SD card, then press Enter.
  4. Once the SD card is selected, type in “clean all” and press Enter.

This will automatically remove all the data within that drive. That’s pretty much how to clear an SD card using the Command Prompt or the Diskpart in particular.

It may take some time, but it won’t be too long. The duration depends on how large the SD card is though, so we can’t be so sure.

If you want to conduct a light format, you can use the clean command instead of clean all. It would take much faster but is often less accurate.

Regardless, you should now know that the Diskpart utility is a great option on how to clear an SD card. But this, too, also has the downside of being exclusive to Windows. Fortunately, we have a method for Mac users as well.
Diskpart (Windows PC)

5. Disk Utility (Mac)

Previously, we have discussed how you can use Disk Management and Diskpart, two of the disk partitioning functions of the Windows operating system.

This time, we will be learning how to clear an SD card out of the functions of the Mac operating system. This mostly involves the use of Disk Utility.

Disk Utility can be considered as the alternative of Disk Management and Diskpart as a disk partitioning tool of Mac. Here are the steps on how to clear an SD card using Disk Utility:

  1. Connect the SD card on your Mac desktop through a card reader.


Mac OS 10.6.5 and older versions do not support exFAT file systems, so we suggest upgrading your OS or using another SD card if it didn’t work at your first try.

  1. On the top-right corner of the Mac computer, click on the icon of the magnifying glass.
  2. Now type in “Disk Utility” then open the first option that comes up.
  3. There will be a list of disks on the left side of the resulting window. Select the one for your SD card.
  4. Once the SD card is selected, on the middle of the Disk Utility window, head to the Erase
  5. Now head to the Format drop-down menu.
  6. Configure the format process by selecting the appropriate file system. Choose MS-DOS (FAT)option if you have an SD card of size 32 GB smaller, otherwise choose ExFAT.
  7. Now there will be a confirmation message. Simply click on the Erase button to confirm your decision on how to clear an SD card.

At this point, the Mac operating system’s Disk Utility will automatically clear the SD card. That’s pretty much everything you need to know in order to learn how to clear an SD card on a Mac operating system.

6. Using a Third-Party Tool

We have one last method, but it’s not exactly something that would save your day. It’s more of a last resort kind of thing if you’re in a situation where you can’t use any of the aforementioned options.

This involves using a third-party disk partitioning tool so it might not work well for you. Either way, it’s still one way on how to clear an SD card if there’s no other choice.

How to Recover Your Files from a Cleared SD Card

Although there are benefits in learning how to clear an SD card, there are also downsides such as data loss. Unfortunately, there’s no 100% prevention for this kind of problem, but you can solve this issue when it happens.

Fortunately, we have a solution if that happens to you, and it involves using the software
FoneDog Data Recovery

FoneDog Data Recovery is a specialized software designed to recover files from different kinds of storage drives and file systems. We suggest using this if you wanted to learn how to clear an SD card but ended up messing with your files.

Closing Words

There’s no guarantee that you can learn

how to clear an SD card

, but these six methods should give you enough success chance to avoid struggling with your current problem.

However, take note that when trying to learn how to clear an SD card, you will have to make sure that you have a backup of your files in case data loss occurs. If not, then we’re afraid to tell you that a third-party recovery tool would be your only choice.

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