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While copying files to USB drive in Mac OS X, if you get "The item can't be copied because it is too large for the volume's format" message, fix it here.

We all know that Windows uses NTFS file system, whereas Mac uses FAT32 file system. Due to differences in these file systems, you may face the volume format related issues while performing file operations on a drive, that has been used on either of the OS.

Recently, I across such a problem. I was trying to copy my 4GB ISO file located on Mac OS X to an empty 8GB flash drive, but Mac doesn’t allows me to do so. Following is the message keep appearing while performing copy operation:

The item “<ITEM NAME>” can’t be copied because it is too large for the volume’s format.

[FIX] The Item Can't Be Copied Because It Is Too Large For The Volume's Format

Here, I should mention that flash/USB drive I used in this case was formatted with FAT32 partition style using Windows. So even when the USB drive was using the file system which Mac usually loves to accept, still I have to struggle for copying the data to the USB drive.

If you’re also facing this issue, here is a workaround that you can try to bypass this hiccup:

FIX : “The Item Can’t Be Copied Because It Is Too Large For The Volume’s Format” In Mac OS X

1. Search for the “disk utility” term using Spotlight search and hence open Mac’s Disk Utility snap-in.

[FIX] The Item Can't Be Copied Because It Is Too Large For The Volume's Format

2. Now in left pane, select the USB drive to which you can’t copy data. Then in corresponding right pane, switch to Erase tab. Change the Format to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) from MS-DOS (FAT). If you like, you can here give a new name to USB drive as well. Finally, click Erase.

NOTE: If you later want to use the USB drive on Windows, you must select ExFAT format because Windows will not recognize Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format.

[FIX] The Item Can't Be Copied Because It Is Too Large For The Volume's Format

3. Confirm format operation, by clicking Erase button again:

[FIX] The Item Can't Be Copied Because It Is Too Large For The Volume's Format

In few seconds, USB drive should be formatted with select partition style.

Once done, retry to copy the file to USB drive and this time it should work fine, without any errors.

[FIX] The Item Can't Be Copied Because It Is Too Large For The Volume's Format

Hope this helps!


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8 Comments

  • Thanks a Lot !
    Was very Helpful .

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Glad it helped 😊

  • A hardrive I have used to accept big files and since my mac update it now doesnt work? It has 3GB MKV files and 2.3GB MP4 files on it from before but when I try and put a 2.2GB mp4 file on it it says its too big and im like why???

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Have you tried the steps mentioned in the article?

  • its creepy, I have 2TB hard disk, do I have to erase all data for changing its format? and i have no source for taking back up of my hard drive,,,

  • Thanks, worked like a dream 👌

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Glad we could help 😎

  • After I did this the computer says that it can’t read the usb device and it’s not mounted.

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