iOS 18, iPadOS 18 Developer Beta Users Can Now Format External Drives Via Files App

Apple introduced several new features with new operating system updates for its suite of devices, namely the iPhone, iPad and Mac at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2024 on June 10. The iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 updates bring artificial intelligence (AI) features, a new Calculator app, enhanced Photos app and other quality-of-life updates. However, one feature which Apple did not advertise and has gone under the radar is the ability to format external drives via the Files app.

Format external drive via Files app on iOS 18

Both iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 updates, for the iPhone and the iPad respectively, bring native support for drive formatting. This means users can now format externally connected drives directly via the Files app. This feature is said to have been introduced with the OS developer beta updates which are currently available to registered developers.

Disk formatting options in iOS 18

The ability to format external drives builds upon the erase functionality which Apple introduced with iOS 17. While users could only erase the drives externally connected to their Apple devices, they can now format them too, enhancing the disk utility features present in the Apple operating system.

To format a drive, one simply needs to tap and hold on an external drive volume and select the Erase option. A new menu appears below the textbox which lists different formats. Apple allows users to choose from three formats: ExFAT, MS-DOS (FAT) and APPS (Apple File System). APFS also provides options for Case Sensitive or Encrypted format.

According to the company, APFS is “recommended for macOS, iOS and iPadOS.” It also mentions that MS-DOS (FAT) is compatible with other devices including PCs and cameras. Gadgets 360 staff members were able to confirm the existence of this feature in the iOS 18 Developer Beta update for the iPhone.

iOS 18, iPadOS 18 compatibility

Apple says devices including the iPhone XR and newer models, up to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, will get the iOS 18 update. On the other hand, the iPadOS 18 compatible models include the iPad Pro (12.9-inch) or later, iPad Air (2019) or later, iPad (2019) or later, and iPad mini (2019).

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