How to make external hard drive compatible with Mac and PC?

By Katrina | Posted to NTFS for Mac on January 30th, 2018 |

The file system compatibility is always a big issue between Mac and Windows. It's well known that by default, Windows uses NTFS, and Mac OS uses HFS, these file systems are not compatible with each other. Often switch between Mac and PC? Want to share one external hard drive between Mac and Windows? No worries! There are still ways to make external hard drive compatible with Mac and PC.

Two ways to make external hard drive compatible with Mac and PC

FAT32, exFAT and NTFS are three file systems for external drive in Windows, while NTFS is read-only on Mac. Therefore, based on these three file systems, we have two methods to make external hard drive compatible with Mac and PC.

Method 1: Reformat this external hard drive (not recommend)

1. Reformat it as FAT32

As the oldest file system among these three file systems, FAT32 is compatible with a majority of recent and recently obsolete operating systems, including Mac and Windows. However, FAT32 can only support files up to 4 GB in size and A FAT32 partition must also be less than 8 TB. Thus, unless every file we plan to store on the disk is less than 4GB in size, we'd better avoid this method.

2. Reformat it as exFAT

The exFAT file system can also work with Mac and Windows. It eliminates the two major deficiencies of FAT32, which has no limitation on partition size or file sizes. And exFAT external hard drive is faster that FAT32 at reading and writing data. It's a great way to share external hard drive between Mac and Windows.

Method 2: Use an NTFS driver for Mac

NTFS is the default file system on Windows. But due to technical reasons and copyright issue, macOS only enables NTFS read support, but doesn't enable write support. To make your Mac compatible writing on NTFS, you can install a professional NTFS driver for Mac like iBoysoft NTFS for Mac.

iBoysoft NTFS for Mac - the easiest way to manage NTFS external hard drives on Mac

iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is a professional and easy-to-use NTFS mounter for Mac that can mount NTFS formatted external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, memory cards, etc. in read-write mode on Mac, making NTFS compatible with both Mac and Windows. We can use this utility on macOS 10.15/10.14/10.13/10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8.

Aside from what mentioned above, iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is also a wonderful manager for NTFS external drives. With this tool, we can open, mount, unmount, repair, and erase NTFS drive on Mac natively. Also, you can use this tool to reformat other disk to NTFS on Mac natively.

Write to NTFS external hard drive on Mac with iBoysoft NTFS for Mac


Katrina is a data recovery expert @iBoysoft who loves to help readers solve various data recovery problems.