Home > How to Tips

Fixed: Unable to Create New Folders on External Drive on Mac

Updated on Wednesday, April 24, 2024

iBoysoft author Connie Yang

Written by

Connie Yang
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee

English Français Deutsch やまと Español Português

Unable to Create New Folders on USB Drive on Mac, What to Do

Summary: If you are unable to create a new folder on an external hard drive on your Mac, follow this post to find causes and solutions. Then, you can add new folders and files on your external drive on your Mac again.

unable to create a new folder on external hard drive on Mac

You are ready to create a new folder on the external SSD or HDD or USB flash drive on your Mac, only to find that the New Folder option on the context menu is greyed out. It is so strange as you can access the external hard drive on your Mac but can't add files and folders to it.

Just as the user reports in the Apple discussions forum:

I am unable to create new folder in the Seagate external hard drive on Mac. When I try to create a new folder on my Seagate USB hard drive, I always see the 'greyed out' option in my Finder. I've failed to create a new folder on my desktop and drag it to the Seagate either. All the folders on the drive are created on a Windows computer, so is this a permission issue?

If you are vacant to this problem and are seeking ways to fix it, this post is right for you. It helps you analyze the reasons why you are unable to create a new folder on the external hard drive on your Mac and more to the point, offers you the workarounds to solve this issue. Let's move on to get more details.

Unable to create a new folder on the external hard drive on Mac? Try these solutions:

WorkaroundsDedicated steps
Check the file format of the drive1. Open Disk Utility on Mac and check the file system of the drive.
2. Use iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to mount the NTFS drive to read-write mode on Mac.
Change your permission to the drive1. Right-click on the drive in Finder and select Get Info.
2. Unlock the bottom lock with the admin account.
3. Change your permission to the external drive to Read & Write.
Check the available storage space on the drive1. Go to the Apple Menu > About This Mac > Storage.
2. Clear up the useless files on the drive if there's no available space for creating a new folder on it.
Run Disk Utility First Aid to check the drive1. Open Disk Utility.
2. Select the external drive.
3. Click First Aid.
Update Mac1. Click on the Apple menu > System Preferences.
2. Open Software Update.

Free download iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to allow you to create new folders on your USB drive or external hard drive on Mac.

Go to share the methods with your friends.

 

Unable to create a new folder on the external hard drive on Mac, what to do?

Diverse causes can make you fail to create a new folder on the external hard drive on your Mac. So, you can do the following checks and quick fixes one by one.

 Key Points: Among the various reasons, the USB drive or external hard drive in NTFS format is the most common that leads you to fail to create new folders on it. NTFS is a file format that is compatible with Windows and is read-only support on macOS.

 

Thus, you need to use an NTFS for Mac tool like iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to automatically mount the NTFS drive in full read-write mode on your Mac. After that, you can create new folders on the NTFS external hard drive on your Mac seamlessly.

Check if the external hard drive is formatted with NTFS

The file system NTFS is created by Microsoft, the competitor of Apple. Apple doesn't have the full right to use NTFS. So, if the external hard drive's format is NTFS, you are unable to create a new folder on the external hard drive on your Mac.

You can go to Launchpad > Other > Disk Utility to check if the file system of the drive is NTFS. If it is, you need to use an NTFS for Mac. It is a program to help you read and write to an NTFS formatted drive on Mac.

check the external hard drive file format in Disk Utility

iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is such a tool that can automatically mount the connected NTFS external hard drives and USB drives in a completely read-write mode on Mac. Then, you can add new folders to and also delete or edit files and folders on the NTFS drives on your Mac.

How to use iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to allow you to create a new folder on the external hard drive on your Mac:

  1. Free download, install, and launch iBoysoft NTFS for Mac on your Mac machine. 
    install iBoysoft NTFS for Mac 
  2. Connect your NTFS external hard drive to your Mac.
  3. iBoysoft NTFS for Mac will immediately auto-mount your NTFS external hard drive in full read-write mode on your Mac. You can access, create new folders, and delete and edit files on the NTFS drive on your Mac.
    iBoysoft NTFS for Mac automatically mount NTFS drives on Mac 

Check your permission to the external hard drive

Perhaps, the file format of the external hard drive is macOS-compatible APFS or Mac OS Extended (HFS+) but it is set to read-only access to you. Thus, you can't add a new folder to this external hard drive on your Mac.

To verify check and change the external drive permissions on your Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the external hard drive in the Mac Finder sidebar or on the desktop.
  2. Choose Get Info from the context menu. 
    right click the external hard drive and choose Get Info 
  3. Under the Sharing & Permissions section, check your privilege to this drive. If it shows Read only for your user name, you can click the bottom lock icon and unlock it with the admin account. Then, click the arrow next to your privilege and choose Read & Write. 
    check and change your privilege to the external hard drive on Mac 

Then, you can create new folders and edit files on the external hard drive on your Mac with ease.

Check if the external hard drive is full

Don't ignore that the worn-out capacity of the external drive can also make you can't add new folders to the drive on your Mac. To check the drive's storage space, go to the Apple menu > About This Mac and then click on the Storage tab.

Here, you can see the available storage space of the drive. If it indeed doesn't have any space for new folders, you can clean up the useless or duplicate files on the drive to make room for the new folders.

check the available storage space on the external hard drive on Mac

Run Disk Utility First Aid to fix the drive

If both the file format and disk capacity are not the cases that block you from adding new folders to the external hard drive on Mac, you should consider if the troublemaker is the drive error.

You can run Disk Utility First Aid to check and repair the tiny errors on the external drive.

  1. Open Finder > Applications > the Utilities folder > Disk Utility.
  2. Select the external hard drive from the left sidebar.
  3. Click First Aid > Run
    run Disk Utility First Aid to check the external hard drive 
  4. Wait until First Aid finishes checking.

Now, try to create a new folder on the external drive again.

Update Mac

If you are still unable to create a new folder in your Seagate external hard drive on Mac, you have to consider if the system has any bugs to stop the new folder creation action. You can check if there's a new minor update of the current version and update your Mac to fix the possible bugs.

If this article helps you out of trouble, please share it with others.

 

Why can't you add folders to your external hard drive on Mac?

If you can add new folders to your external hard drive on your Mac but can read files on it, you probably don't have full read & write access to this drive. But, it does not rule out other problems causing this trouble.

Here are the common reasons why you cannot create a folder on a USB hard drive on a Mac:

  • The drive's format is Microsoft NTFS.
  • Your permission to the external drive is read-only.
  • There's no available storage space on the external hard drive.
  • The drive has unknown errors.
  • Interference from system bugs.

You can share the above reasons to help more people learn about why they are unable to create a new folder on a USB drive on their Mac.

 

FAQs about unable to create a new folder on external hard drive Mac

A

To create a new folder on your external hard drive on Mac, you need to connect the drive to your Mac first. Then, open it in Finder, right-click on the blank place on the external drive, and choose New Folder on the context menu. If the external drive is an NTFS drive, you need to use iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to mount it in read-write mode on Mac and then create a new folder on it.

A

The reasons are diverse, such as:
The external hard drive is NTFS formatted.
No available capacity on the external hard drive.
The external hard drive is corrupted.
The external hard drive is set read-only for you.

People Also Ask

Read More Questions