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Disk utility won't format usb SSD

I have an internal ssd Crucial that I used in my iMac and that for some time I used as an external disk connected with a Usb 3 Sabrent adapter. The disc has always worked both inside and out but when I tried to connect it to an iPad Air 3 through the Lightning usb-3 adapter, the disc, after appearing for a moment on iPad files, has disappeared. Since then I can no longer mount it on the Finder of any Mac. Disk utility can still see it but if I try to format it the process crashes while creating the partition map, it seems impossible to activate it. I tried also with Disk Warrior being able to recover some data, but the disk cannot be formatted anyway ("TM" cannot be activated. error 49153). do you have any ideas?

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What is your macOS version on your Mac?


@danj hi, 10.15


anyone else, please?

it seems like the issue is I/O or write protection related,

but I don't want to believe that an apple adapter bricked my disk.


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Ouch! Not good.

This gets into the different formats the drive has. Apple was using HFS+ for a long time and with the intro of High Sierra SSD’s were migrated to a newer format called APFS. In addition to the file system change Apple also modified the systems firmware so APFS drives could be booted. There is also the issue of the connection SATA vs PCIe. Which can mess you up as well.

Now the fun part… When you used the SSD internally you also likely enabled encryption so when you took the drive out and put it into a case the interface logic being different invalidated the encryption.

The other possibility here is the iPad you are using is expecting a still different format exFAT or FAT32 as that is what the older iPads support. Again you can encounter issues moving the drive between systems as the iPad won’t work with APFS. Some vendors made special drives for iPad backup via the Lightning connector. The newer iPad Pro with USB-C is setup to work with external drives running all four formats.

I don’t see an easy answer trying to recover the data.

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Thank you Dan. When I used the disk through external enclosure I had no issues though. It worked like a charm. Things messed up only when I attached it to the new iPad Air, which, it seems to me, must be considered responsible for bricking my disk


@tardegard - While I won't disagree the drive was messed up by your iPad, I'm not sure you can fully blame it.

You see, Apple never offered drive support in the older Lightning connector iPad's only support for SD card's used in cameras. Hence the support for exFAT & Fat32.

It's when we assume a converter device is able to offer more than it was intended or things changed (as in this case) we can get into trouble.


Well, the adapter is advertised as follows:


Use the Lightning-USB 3 camera adapter when you want to download photos and videos from your digital camera to your iPad Pro. Once connected, the Photos app opens automatically on the iPad Pro. From here you can choose the photos and videos to import, and then organize them into albums.

And to do even more with your iPad Pro, use the adapter with a USB power adapter and connect other USB devices such as hubs, Ethernet adapters, audio and MIDI interfaces, CompactFlash card readers, SD cards, microSD cards and more....

Where “More” means usb disks. When I called apple support indeed they never questioned about that. This adapter is meant to work with ssd as well.


Sounds like they didn't fully test it with HFS+ or APFS volumes. Most 2.5" SSD's are setup with exFAT which if left that way could be used across the systems. Its if you reformat the drive is when you get into issues. Trust me I've fallen into this trap too!


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Tom avati sarà eternamente grato.
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