Hey there, Do want to use NTFS drives on Mac?
Can’t you write data from your mac to an external hard drive?
It is annoying, isn’t it?
But you are not alone and this happens almost with 99% of mac users. It encounters in macs, because they are designed this way.
I have great solutions for this issue, but before jumping to the point let me tell you why it happens.
Do you know why?
According to Net Market Shares, 88.14% of people use Microsoft Windows and only 9.42% use macOS. Therefore, almost all the hard drive and USB drive manufacturers pre-format their products with NTFS.
And the surprising point is that NTFS is designed for Microsoft Windows, and macs partially support NTFS.
What I mean, that macs only can read and see or import the files but does not allow to send back or copy data to an external NTFS pre-formatted drive.
Now, let’s jump to the solutions.
For better convince, in this article I have include three different method to use NTFS drives on Mac.
1: Format the External Drive to FAT32
This method is not very coinvent. Not at least for me. Because the FAT32 is designed in such a way that support a larger amount of data. It means that, you only can send up to 4 gigabyte data at a time.
However, the good thing is that, when you format your drive into FAT32 it can be read and written on both Microsoft Windows computers and Macs.
How to format External Drive to FAT32 on mac?
This is an easy step. Plug your external drive to your mac, then following the checklist below.
- Plug your external drive or USB thumbnail to your mac
- Open Spotlight and search for “disk utility”
- On disk utility, choose your drive and erase it with the Format “MS-DOS FAT”
Caution: When you perform this procedure, all the data in the external drive will be permanently erased. Therefore, make sure to backup your data from the external drive to another drive.
After the drive is erased, you will be able to write any data but limited to 4 gigabytes from your mac.
However, if this method is not convenient for you, lets jump the second method which definitely will work for you and it is pretty handy.
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2. Microsoft NTFS for Mac by Paragon
This is a very handy app and have I been this software for past few months regularly. It allows you to share, copy, paste data from your mac to an external drive.
Thus, the good thing about this app is, once you install the app you will be able to start writing data to your external drive, and does not require any special setup.
It is worth mentioning that, the app is not limited to copy and paste, but you can also delete and edit files on your external drive from your mac, besides it is compatible with all versions of macOS including macOS Catalina 10.15.
How to Download and Setup Microsoft NTFS for Mac by Paragon?
- Download Microsoft NTFS for Mac by Paragon
- Install it on your mac
- After installation is completed “Restart” your mac
- Your good to go
Alternatives for Microsoft NTFS for Mac by Paragon:
- Beside Microsoft NTFS for Mac by Paragon, there are many other alternatives which do the same job. One of them is the Microsoft NTFS for Mac by Tuxera.
This app is quick and efficient, and allows you to copy, move, paste or delete files using your Mac.
- The next alternative is Mounty for NTFS. It is also give the access to use NTFS drive on mac. All the features that included in NTFS for Mac by Paragon and Microsoft NTFS for Mac by Tuxera is available in Mounty for NTFS.
3. Enable NTFS Write Support in Mac Terminal
This method may look difficult and confusing for you, but it is easy and quick. On the hand
This allows you to enable write support for specific external drive using build-in-mac-Terminal.
What make this method distinct is, that you need any additional software like Microsoft NTFS for Mac by Paragon, instead it is done on mac terminal without any extra cost.
Caution: Make sure to backup your data before doing any single procedure.
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Steps to Enable NTFS Write Support in Mac Terminal
- Open Spotlight and search for “Terminal”
- Connect you external NTFS drive or USB Stick
- Add the following commands on the terminal window
sudo nano /etc/fstab
This command will show up all the drives attached, then scroll down with arrow key on your mac to the end, then add the second command below.
But make sure to replace the “NAME” from the second command with your own external drive name.
LABEL=My Passport none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse
- Now, press CTRL+O to save, then again press CTRL+X to exit
- Next, open the Finder Window and choose “Go to Folder”, and type /Volumes/Your Drive Name, then press enter.
Now you have the full authority to share, copy, paste any data you want to exchange your mac and external drive.
4: Use Parallels Desktop
Mainly, this app is for virtualization but you can use it in your own favor. What is do it allowing you to install a Windows operating system on top of macOS.
To be more specific, when you install parallels desktop app it allows to install a second operating system e.g Window 10 next to macOS, but it does not function the way a normal Windows 10 does on a single physical PC.
Though I have a thorough article about how you can use Windows 10 on Parallels Desktop on mac, but again I have included quick steps below to install Windows 10 on Parallels desktop and use it to share data between your NTFS drive and Parallels Desktop.
How to Parallels Desktop for Data Exchange?
- Download Parallels Desktop latest version
- Install Parallels Desktop on your mac
- Download Microsoft Windows 10 IOS File
- Install Windows 10 on Parallels Desktop on your mac
- Lunch Windows 10 on Parallels Desktop
- Now connect your external NTFS drive to your mac
- Open the NTFS Drive on Windows 10 on Parallels Desktop
- Finally, Exchange data between Windows 10 on Parallels Desktop and your external NTFS drive.
5-Use BootCamp Assistance
BootCamp Assistance is a build in mac utility. It was introduced on macOS X Leopard 10.5 on 2007. Therefore, basically this allows the user to dual boot macOS and Windows, in other word to install Microsoft Windows on a mac.
Septs to Setup Windows 10 on BootCamp:
- Download Windows 10 ISO Image from Microsoft official webpage
- Open spotlight and search for BootCamp, then open it
- Choose Windows 10 ISO, then till it copies the Windows files.
- Shrink the amount of space on mac hard drive you want to dedicate to Windows
- Procced forward and let the Windows driver be downloaded.
- Finally, Setup Windows as it done on normal PC
Once Windows is completely installed, plug your NTFS drive and exchange data as it done on normal Windows PC.
But to switch between Mac and Windows, restart you mac and hold ALT key till the option for both Mac and Windows appears, then choose Windows to startup.
Caution: Make sure to back up your data before doing any single procedure.
NTFS Drives are designed for Microsoft Windows, but if you intend to use it on a mac you only will be able to see and open the data in your mac, but cannot write, copy or paste data from mac to your NTFS drive.
The solution to use NTFS drives on Mac is either you can convert your NTFS drive into FAT32, use third party’s app, install Microsoft Windows on mac or any other methods I mentioned above.
Be confident and try any method you wish.
Leave a comment in the comment box below which method did you use