How to Fix “Erase Process Has Failed on Mac” Issue: Expert Solutions

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Erase Process Has Failed on Mac

“I get a message saying erase process has failed on Mac. I get it when I try to format my Mac with Disk Utility. What’s the best way to fix this issue? Need a piece of expert advice urgently. TIA”

Erase Process Has Failed on Mac

In fact, the above is not an issue you would come across every day. However, if you notice that message on your Mac, things can be pretty frustrating for you.

This issue appears when you try to format your external hard disks, such as Macintosh HD. This issue can also emerge as a result of a hardware or firmware issue.

So, let’s learn to diagnose and fix the issue with practical solutions.

Part 1: Erase Process Has Failed on Mac: Potential Causes

Before getting into the fixes, it is always better to know the potential causes behind the issue. To give you a good idea, we list those potential causes below.

  • The hard disk of your Mac has become faulty.
  • The Mac’s system has a malware infection.
  • You were trying to format an external hard disk but removed it during the process.
  • You were trying to format a disk in Mac that is not logically present.
  • A security process interferes with the formatting.
  • Your Mac is running on an outdated macOS.
  • The essential components of the Disk Utility are not initiated as they should be

When you see “Erase Process Has Failed on Mac,” you cannot proceed with the formatting process. So, you will not be able to erase the drive on Mac with Disk Utility.

As a result, you will need to find special fixes to overcome this issue. The main purpose of this article is to explain those fixes.

PS: let’s learn more about how to clear the cache on Mac.

Part 2: Most Common Solutions to Fix “Erase Process Has Failed on Mac”

There are indeed several reasons behind Erase Process Has Failed on Mac issue. So, there should be different ways to address these issues. That said, mentioned below are the suggested fixes to address this issue.

Solution 01: Use Terminal to Erase the Disk

If you cannot format the disk using Disk Utility, you can perform the same through the Terminal option. It is a pretty clean and straightforward option to erase your disk.

  • First, you should go to the Finder and then choose Applications. After that, choose Utility and launch the Terminal with administrator privileges.
Use Terminal to Erase the disk
  • After launching the Terminal app, you should enter the command “diskutil list” and hit Return. You can now see detailed information about your Mac’s volumes. You can then note the disk you intend to format.
diskutil list
  • That’s it. After noting the identifier, you should use the “Erase Disk” command to proceed. That will erase the disk. However, if you need to erase a volume, you should just enter the command “erase volume.”
  • The complete command you should use is “diskutil erase disk.” So, if you need to format disk1 with HFS+ format, you should use “diskutil eraseDisk HFS+ DISK disk2“. After that, please hit the “Enter” key.
diskutil eraseDisk HFS+ DISK disk2
  • Once you have done that, you should wait for the process to take place. The disk will be formatted with the compatible version.

Solution 02: Update your macOS

As mentioned above, you can encounter an “erase process has failed on Mac” error due to outdated firmware. If that is the case, you should fix it simply by updating the firmware to the latest version.

You can download the latest update for macOS through your Mac’s App Store. If not, you can click on the Apple logo at the top of the screen.

Then, go to the option called “System Preferences.” Go to “Software Update,” and check for available updates.

Upate macOS to fix Erase Process Has Failed on Mac

Solution 03: Erase the Volumes That Are Selected

When users see this message when they format the entire disk. As a result, you will have to consider formatting the selected volumes instead of the disk. With this approach, you can diagnose if the issue is related to a volume or a disk.

Mentioned below is how to do it.

  • First, you should open Finder and choose Applications. Then, go to Utility and launch Disk Utility.
  • Once the Disk Utility is opened, you can go to the top-left corner. In the dropdown menu, you will be able to select all the volumes or external devices.
Disk Utility
  • You can then select a volume from the sidebar but not the disk. Then, you should click on the option called “Erase” and format it.
Erase the Volumes That Are Selected
  • In the same way, you can erase the entire disk. Eventually, you will be able to identify if the issue is related to the disk or volume.

Solution 04: Change the Level of the Security to Format the External Drive

If you still see the Erase Process Has Failed on Mac error, this is another solution to follow. In some cases, this error can appear as a result of a strict security level.

In other words, the security system of the Mac can prevent you from formatting it. If this is the case, you should adjust the security levels to fix the erase process that has failed on the mac issue.

  • First, you should open the Disk Utility on your system. You should also make sure that the respective external device is connected to the system by now.
  • Then, select the respective external device using the sidebar. Click on the option called “Erase.” Once the following popup is opened, you should go to “Security Options.”
Security Options
  • Now, you can change the level of the security settings that relate to formatting external devices. It is recommended to lower the security levels so it won’t put any restrictions.
Change the Level of the Security to Format the External Drive

Part 3: A Complete Method to Erase Your Mac’s Hard Drive

With the assistance of all the options listed above, you will be able to overcome the issue. However, if you want to prevent the same from appearing in the future, several steps exist.

For a mac user, there are several reasons for formatting an external hard drive. Mentioned below are some of the reasons for a Mac user to format a hard drive.

  • You expect to troubleshoot a possible issue on your hard drive by formatting it.
  • There is a failure in the external device, and you intend to fix it by formatting.
  • You expect to change the existing file system on the hard drive.
  • You want to alter the partition system on the respective hard drive by formatting it.
  • Your hard drive is infected by malware, and you want to format it and fix it.
  • You will sell your used Mac and want to get rid of the available data.

Regardless of the reason why you are formatting the hard drive, the process you should undergo is very easy. You can format a hard drive on your Mac using the following steps.

01. Open Your Disk Utility

You already know that the Disk Utility is used to format and perform other operations. You can go to the Finder and choose Applications. Then, go to Utility and choose Disk Utility.

Open your Disk Utility

02. Select a Disk that should be Formatted

The system will now display a list of disks that are installed in your system. These disks are displayed on Disk Utility’s sidebar. So, you can click on the dropdown menu located at the top-left corner.

And view the volumes. You can then choose the disk that should be formatted. Also you can even choose an external device or volume.

Select a Disk that should be Formatted

03. Erase the Disk

Once the disk (internal or external) device is selected, click on Disk Utility and choose “Erase.”

Erase the Disk

It will open up a popup window. It allows you to make various changes to the drive. For instance, you can even change the file name or the partitioning scheme. You can then click on the option labeled “Erase,” so the drive will be erased.

Erase the Disk

Part 4: How to Erase the Disk without Causing a Data Loss

The data stored on the hard disk gets deleted after formatting. So, what if you are going to format a hard disk that has valuable data? The solution is to back up the existing data before proceeding with the format.

In this case, there are two options to consider. For instance, you can either copy the data manually or use the Time Machine feature. You can back up a volume or a hard disk with the former. On the other hand, the latter allows you to back up the entire drive so you can restore it.

Erase the Disk without Causing a Data Loss

Recovering Data That Has Been Lost Already

With that said, what if you formatted the device before taking a backup? Should you give up hope? Probably not! You can recover deleted data if you have a tool like Wondershare Recoverit.

This special tool is reliable, safe, and powerful for dealing with your valuable data files. It is compatible with all macOS versions. It also features an excellent user interface.

You can use it to recover data such as music, documents, videos, and so on. It can also recover files from an external hard drive not detected.

Steps to use Wondershare Recoverit and Recover Data

Please follow below simple steps to recover lost data from your hard drive.

• Decide what to scan

As the first step, you should download and install Wondershare Recoverit on your Mac. Then, you should launch the app to see its home screen. Now, choose a drive, external device, or volume to scan for lost files. If not, you can even scan a particular folder as well.

Wondershare Recoverit
• Start Extracting Data

Once the source is selected, you should proceed to the data recovery to get your data back. The software will start to perform a scan, so you should wait for it. Once the scanning is done, you can view the results. If not, you can even pause the process whenever you need.

Start Extracting Data

In addition, the application will provide you with several filters to perform a better scan. For instance, you can filter your search by date, size, type, etc.

Change Filter
• Restore the Files

Once the process is completed, you will see a list of files recovered by Recoverit. You can now preview the files individually. For instance, you can preview photos, videos, documents, etc. Choose the exact files you intend to get back. Then, click on the option called “Recover.” Then, choose a location to restore those files.

Preview Before Recover

Additional Tips to Avoid the Issue

To prevent encountering the “Erase Process Has Failed on Mac” issue in the future, consider the following tips:

  • Keep your macOS and Disk Utility application up to date.
  • Regularly check for disk errors using Disk Utility’s First Aid feature.
  • Use trusted and compatible external storage devices.
  • Avoid sudden interruptions or power failures during disk operations.
  • If you suspect hardware issues, consult an authorized service provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Can I recover data from a disk that failed to erase?

A1: It depends on the situation. If the disk was partially erased, data recovery software might be able to retrieve some files. However, if the disk was completely wiped, data recovery becomes more challenging.

Q2: Why does the “Erase Process Has Failed on Mac” issue occur during macOS installation?

A2: The issue can occur if there are problems with the target disk, such as corrupted files or incompatible formatting. Checking the disk’s health and formatting it correctly before installation can help avoid this problem.

Q3: Can I use third-party disk management tools to fix the issue?

A3: While there are third-party disk management tools available, it is recommended to utilize the built-in Disk Utility application provided by macOS. Apple’s Disk Utility is specifically designed for managing and troubleshooting disk-related issues.

Q4: Will reinstalling macOS delete all my files?

A4: Reinstalling macOS without formatting the disk should preserve your files. However, it’s always advisable to have a backup of your important data before proceeding with any major system changes.

Q5: How can I check for disk errors using Disk Utility?

A5: Launch Disk Utility, select the disk you want to check, and click on the “First Aid” button. Disk Utility will scan the disk for errors and attempt to repair them if possible.


So, that’s how to overcome erase process that has failed on the Mac issue. We hope the information in this article will help you. Also, you can use Wondershare Recoverit to recover the data you have lost for any reason.


Ten years of experience in information and computer technology. Passionate about electronic devices, smartphones, computers, and modern technology.

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