Formatting your memory card is a routine function that’s crucial not just for freeing up space on the memory card, but also for keeping the card’s file system healthy. Here’s how to do it on the Canon EOS Rebel T7.
The memory card is an essential accessory to make your Canon EOS Rebel T7 work. It’s where all the photos and videos you shoot are saved.1 So, just like you used to have to put film in a camera, you’ll need to put a memory card in your digital camera to make it work as intended.
And formatting the memory card is a routine housekeeping function that’s important not just for freeing up space on your memory card, but also for keeping the memory card’s filesystem healthy.
It’s always best practice to format the memory card in the camera you’ll be using it in. That sets up the card just how the camera needs it, with the appropriate folders and the appropriate filesystem.
And it’s a good idea to do it regularly, starting with when you start using a new card for the first time (even if it comes formatted from the store. After that, you can format the card to free up space and keep the card’s filesystem healthy.
It’s worth clarifying upfront that formatting the memory card will wipe everything on it, so make sure you’ve downloaded everything off it first.2
Formatting SD Cards on the Canon EOS Rebel T7
On the Canon EOS Rebel T7, you can find the format function under:
Settings 1 (first of the wrench icons) > Format card
The T7 has two levels of formatting for memory cards. The standard format is the quickest and most basic. It’s the type that most cameras use. It wipes the file management system, but it doesn’t actually erase all the data off the card.
For a more secure wipe that will erase all the data, you can enable the Low-Level Formatting option. It’s more thorough and also takes a bit longer.
When To Use Low-Level Formatting
For day-to-day use, the standard formatting works well.
There are two main scenarios where the low-level formatting might be a better option:
- If you’re experiencing problems with the memory card, such as it being slow or glitchy, or you’re getting an error code from the camera.
- If you want to more thoroughly wipe the memory card. The low-level formatting erases data sector by sector. So it’s a more secure wipe of the card (it also takes longer).
Rebel T7 Error Codes Related to Memory Card Issues
The Rebel T7 has error codes for various issues. Two of them relate to memory card problems:
- 02: Card cannot be accessed. Reinsert/change card or format card with camera.
- 04: Cannot save images because card is full. Replace card.
These are initial troubleshooting steps to try:
- With the camera powered off, pull the card out, then reinsert it. Power the camera back on and see if you get the same issue. (Note: this isn’t going to solve the “card is full” error, so you can skip it for that.)
- Do a standard format of the memory card.
- Do a low-level format of the memory card.
- Try a different memory card.
How to Format SD Cards with a Computer
It’s best practice to format the memory card in the camera, but it is still possible to format memory cards using a card reader and computer. You get a lot more flexibility that way, but also some extra risk if things aren’t set up just how the camera wants them. It’s also sometimes a good troubleshooting step if you’re having issues with a memory card.
There are some things to watch out for, particularly when it comes to choosing which filesystem to use. So I’ve put together guides on how to format SD cards on Mac and how to use the free SD Card Formatter app for Windows or Mac.
- The T7 doesn’t have an internal memory that you can access. Some other cameras do. ↩
- As a technical matter, it might still be possible to recovery photos and videos if you’ve used the T7’s standard format option. You’ll need a data recovery app that can read the sectors of the card, such as Disk Drill, Stellar Photo Recovery, or PhotoRec. ↩