Why Can’t I Send Files Bigger than 2GB to FAT32?

Do you have plenty of files larger than 2GB or 4GB stored on your Mac? It makes sense one day you will need to move some of them elsewhere as they ‘eat up’ a lot of resources such as memory and space.

ms-dos fat32
Source: filesolutions.us

One of the options is to transfer the largest files and folders to one of the file storing systems. A Mac owner has a great variety of options: from external drive and iCloud to FAT32 and NFTS. FAT32 itself promises to keep files of up to 4GB. Thus, it is strange that it may refuse to accept 2GB items. It may be some kind of a mistake if the system does not want to process this size. Some users start with formatting the drive as exFAT or NTFS to solve the problem, and it can help in some cases. Of course, one should back up the data using Time Machine, for instance, before formatting any of the available drives.

If the problem occurs after upgrading to macOS High Sierra, however, there may be other reasons behind. A solution then might be a little bit more complicated.

Using the Terminal Application to Fix the Issue

So, if you cannot send files larger than 2GB to FAT 32 after updating to High Sierra, try solving the problem with the help of Mac’s built-in utility called Terminal. Watch out when you apply it – any smallest typo can cause irreversible damage to the operating system.

  1. In the Applications folder, find Utilities.
  2. Launch Terminal.
  3. Enter this line: cp plus a space
  4. Place the items you wish to clone into the Terminal command window.
  5. Locate the volume you wish to copy the item to.
  6. Push the Return key/Enter.

Wait for some time for the process to complete. If you have a desire to clone a folder, apply cp –R with space, and drag the file or folder to the Terminal app.

If USB Flash Drive or Memory Card Do Not Help

hdd drive first aid

If you cannot move the files bigger than 2GB to the USB flash or memory card, you should know the reason may be the fact these storages are formatted with the FAT32 file system. In general, the cloud storage is as much as 2TB, but a user can only transfer 2-4GB per once. In order to get rid of the problem, replace the FAT32 file system with a more up-to-date one. That could be NTFS or exFat. They do not have the silly limitations.

If you have no idea how to modify the file system, you can use our short and clear guide.

  1. Connect the chosen external drive to your Mac.
  2. Launch the Finder application and pick the Applications folder.
  3. Launch Disk Utility. Scroll down to detect it and double-click it.
  4. Once Disk Utility is on, the application will tell you to choose a disk, volume, and image to format.
  5. Launch Disk Utility again. Scroll down to find the Utilities and double-click it.
  6. Place the cursor to the tip and pick the target disk. Double-click on the target drive and chose Erase. You will see a window showing the options for
  7. Move to Format in the middle of the screen. Choose Fat file format system that makes the compatibility with your drive possible. The Name option below makes it possible to modify the title of your external drive. Select the Erase feature after that.

After the reformatting process, the user will get the FAT32 drive. Try transferring the large files again.