How Do I Format My SD Card For 3DS?

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If you are looking ways to update your SD card to 3DS Card, you are on the right track. Methods explained in the article are the perfect way to format your SD cards to 3DS that supports Nintendo video game console. Stick till the end of the article to know why reformatting is necessary for SD card to work with Nintendo 3DS? How to format 3DS SD card (Windows & macOS)? And other related concepts with respect to 3DS SD card. 

We all know that regular SD cards cannot be used with Nintendo Video game consoles. Yes, by reformatting the regular SD card it can be upgraded to the Nintendo 3DS SD card. The next question would be, how to format 3DS SD card to make compatible with the Nintendo 3DS consoles?

format 3DS SD card

Table of contents

  1. About 3DS SD Card
  2. How to format 3DS SD card in Windows computers
  3. How to Format 3DS SD card in Mac computers
  4. How to recover deleted data from 3DS?
  5. Steps to recover data from 3DS SD card

About 3DS SD Card

You must be thinking why it is called the 3DS SD card? Well, because It is the type of SD card that is used on 3DS systems. The SD cards used with Nintendo 3DS has major specifications.

The Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL and Nintendo 2DS systems are compatible with SD cards of 2 GB in size and 4GB SDHC cards extensible up to 32 GB in size. SDXC and micro SDXC cards are not counted as compatible.

If the SD card is in different file formats like NTFS or the size is greater than 32 GB, the SD card needs to be formatted to Fat32 format. 

3DS SD cards are used with the FAT32 file system. Since the format is widely used and does not require any file permissions to access. Moreover, it is the most compatible SD card file format that works with almost all electronic devices.

Now, let us see how to format a regular SD card to a 3DS SD card in both Windows and Mac computers.

DIY methods to format 3DS SD card [Windows]

Format 3DS SD card using Disk management

    1. Use a card reader to connect 3DS card to computer, press Win + X keys, select computer Management
    2. Select Disk Management from the left corner of the list displayeddisk Management to format 3DS SD card
    3. Check for the SD card, right-click on the 3DS SD card and select the option Format
      Select SD card to format
    4.  Select FAt32 option in File System and click OK to format the 3DS SD cardreformat to FAT32 file format
    5. By performing the above steps, you can easily format a 3DS SD card. There is another way to format a 3DS SD card using diskpart. Diskpart is a command in DOS [command line execution].

Format 3DS SD card using Diskpart

1. Insert the SD card to the computer using SD card adapter

2. Press Windows key + R key to open Run. Type diskpart and click OK

3. Type the commands given below in order to format a 3DS SD card

          • list disk – the command lists all the partitions in the computer
          • select disk n – n is the number of the disk you choose to select
          • Clean – erases all the data from the SD card
          • create partition primary – enables SD card as the primary partition
          • format fs=fat32 quick – formats SD card to the FAT32 file system
          • Exit – exists from the diskpart 

            Diskpart to format 3DS SD card

        Format 3DS SD card in Mac computer

      • The process for formatting an SD card to 3DS SD card varies from Windows to Mac computers use disk utility for the formatting process.
      • Follow the instructions given below and format 3DS SD card.
        1. Connect SD card to the computer using a card reader. If you are using a micro SD card, use SD card adapter that comes along with the card
        2. Open Disk Utility application
        3. Find the SD card drive from the list present on the left side of the window
        4. Click on Erase option from the list of functions present at the top
        5. Click on the dropdown menu for Format, choose MS-DOS (FAT32)
        6. A message will appear on the screen asking Are you sure you want to erase the partition [SD card drive name]? Click Erase. The computer erases all the data present on the SD card and format it to 3DS SD card

With the above-mentioned DIY methods, you can easily format 3DS SD card in Windows as well as Mac computer. Since formatting or reformatting the SD card erases all the data present in it, click here to know how to recover formatted SD card data

How to Recover Deleted Data from 3DS?

No matter whether SD card is formatted, corrupt or data from SD card is accidentally deleted. You can easily recover lost SD card data using a trusted and secure 3DS SD card recovery software. 

SFWare is the most recommended 3DS SD card recovery software to recover deleted, lost games, photos, videos and other files from SD card. The deep scan feature of SFWare goes through the file systems to recover formatted or reformatted SD card data. This tool is compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7, XP and till the latest macOS Catalina the Mac OS version.

Free Download for WindowsFree Download for Mac

Steps to recover data from 3DS SD card

To recover data from 3DS SD card, download and install the 3DS SD card recovery software and launch the application. 

Step 1: Select Recover Drive/Partition >>Recover formatted/corrupt option from the main screen to recover formatted 3DS SD card data.
Recover data from formatted/corrupt SD card

Step 2: Select the SD card partition. The scanning process initializes.
Select the corrupt SD card drive

Step 3: After the completion of the scan process, files can either be viewed in Data Type or File Type View.
View recoverable files from SD cardin Data View or File Type View

Step 4: Validate the recovered files from 3DS SD card by previewing them. If you’re happy with the result, save the files by activating the software.


Generally, formatting not only changes the file system but also erase all the data from the SD card. The article provides different DIY methods to format your SD card and make it compatible with the Nintendo 3DS console. 

Before formatting, it is always recommended to take a backup of your important data from the SD card. If no backup is taken and accidentally lost data from the SD card, do not worry! With SFWare SD card recovery software you can easily recover deleted, lost, formatted or reformatted data.

Frequently asked questions

Does formatting 3DS format SD Card?

Yes, any SD card that is reformatted or formatted involves the risk of data lose. Formatting your SD card for 3DS formats all the data from existing SD card. All you can do is, once the SD card is formatted into #DS, you can make use of SD card recovery tool to recover deleted or formatted data from the SD card.

Can a 3DS handle a 128GB SD Card?

of course, 3DS can handle 128 GB SD card. However, If the SD card is in different file formats like NTFS or the size is greater than 32 GB, the SD card needs to be formatted to Fat32 format.

Why won’t my SD card work on my 3DS?

At first, verify the file format used by your SD card. place your SD Card in a card reader and connect to your computer. If your SD card file format if not FAT, select and format the memory card with the FAT32 file format and create a partition of 32KB size. Set it to the primary partition. Now, your card should be usable with any Nintendo 3DS.

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