iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 Include Support for Formatting External Drives

Apple wants iPhone and iPad users to be able to format external drives connected to their device, without the need for a Mac, based on the latest find in the iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 developer betas (via MacStories).

iPadOS 18 on iPad Feature
Writing in his ByteBits substack, Kaleb Cadle said he made the discovery of new file format options while tinkering with the Files app:

Now in the Files app on iPadOS 18, when we right click or hold press on an external drive and select "Erase", new options appear for reformatting the drive. Currently, the format options here are APFS (with options for Case Sensitive or Encrypted), ExFAT, and MS-DOS (FAT), the same format options available in Disc Utility (with the exception of macOS extension formats which wouldn't make much sense for this feature on iPadOS). This is a major improvement for iPad power users and it will be interesting to keep an eye out for new improvements to this functionality and others within the Files app over the course of the iPadOS 18 beta cycle. It seems Apple may be taking a similar tact to the way they incorporated much of the functionality of the Preview app into the Files app via Quick Look, but now with functionality from Disc Utility.

files app format drives

File format options in the Files app on iPadOS 18 (Image: Kaleb Cadle).

iPadOS 18 and iOS 18 are currently in beta. Apple plans to release the second betas to developers on Monday.

Update: Added iOS 18 beta references after confirmation that the formatting options are present on iPhones as well as iPads.

Related Roundups: iOS 18, iPadOS 18
Related Forums: iOS 18, iPadOS 18

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Top Rated Comments

cicalinarrot Avatar
3 weeks ago
Gee, I never realised iPads couldn't autonomously perform basic OS tasks like this.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kylo83 Avatar
3 weeks ago
but you can’t eject a drive
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Carrotstick Avatar
3 weeks ago
Wow, this should have added when the files app was introduced.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Alfred.Woodden Avatar
3 weeks ago
Fantastic and FINALLY!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DaniTheFox Avatar
3 weeks ago

but you can’t eject a drive
This eject is a thing from the past. On iOS and iPadOS you never had to do it.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MrENGLISH Avatar
3 weeks ago
Maybe in another 15 years we’ll finally be able to replace our Macs with an iPad ?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)