Secure erase usb drive mac

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The first thing to do is read Apple support article.

However, that Apple article skips over the nuance of completely erasing an SSD. These options are not needed for an SSD drive because a standard erase makes it difficult to recover data from an SSD.


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  • Connect the External USB Hard Drive or USB Storage Device.
  • Use a USB drive to lock and unlock your PC.

Basically, a cryptographic erase means encrypting the drive, then throwing a way the encryption key. This renders the information stored on the drive unreadable.

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Then the SSD is erased and formatted as usual. If someone were to examine the unused space on the newly erased drive with a digital forensic tool, all that would be seen is encrypted nonsense. You may want to securely erase an external Flash drive before selling or discarding.

When it's time to donate or ditch an old flash-memory drive that stored sensitive information, deleting those files isn't enough. The safest way to wipe the slate clean is actually to encrypt it -- and that's not as hard as it sounds. Flash drives work faster and, since they store data in solid-state memory instead of on spinning magnetic platters, they also work longer.

The other reason to avoid this method is that it can be painfully slow on large drives--a vintage Windows laptop needed 22 minutes to do a triple overwrite of a 4 GB flash drive. Encrypting the entire drive to make its contents unreadable without a key--then erasing it and encrypting it again--takes much less time to make your data disappear.

How to Securely Erase Storage Media in Mac OS X

Finally, erase it in Disk Utility again to leave it free for the next user.