Cross-platform incompatibility has been a huge roadblock for people who have to move back and forth between Windows and macOS, especially when you need to share files between Windows and Mac using an NTFS drive. After you connected an NTFS drive such as a Seagate or WD My Passport NTFS drive to the Mac, you found that you could view the files stored on your NTFS-formatted drive on Mac, but you couldn't edit, rename, copy, paste, delete, move or create files on it.
Any ways that you can read-write to NTFS drives on Mac running either macOS or Mac OS X? This article will introduce three solutions for you to solve the ready-only NTFS drives on Mac without formatting.
Can macOS read NTFS?
Yes, you can read Windows NTFS-formatted USB flash drives, SD cards, memory sticks and external hard drives without any problem.
No matter what Mac you are using, either a desktop or a laptop, and no matter which Mac operating system is running on your Mac, macOS or Mac OS X, you are able to read NTFS drives on Mac. You can view your files by opening them. Files will appear the same quality as they do on a PC. What's more, if you have used Boot Camp Assitant to create a Windows BootCamp partition on your Mac SSD, the BootCamp partition is also formatted with NTFS. Therefore, you have read support to Bootcamp partition on your Mac SSD as well.
However, your files will show read-only or locked beside the file name. You can't make any changes to those files nor create/save/move any files on the NTFS drives on Mac. Sharing files between NTFS drives and Mac looks impossible.
Want to have full read-write access to NTFS drives or BootCamp partition on Mac? Keep reading to learn how to enable NTFS write support on Mac and mount BootCamp partition with read-write support.
How to read-write to Microsoft NTFS drives on Mac?
In this section, three options are introduced:
- Free NTFS drivers for Mac
- Cost-effective NTFS for Mac software
- Apple's native NTFS support
Option 1: Free but complicated NTFS driver for Mac
There are some free NTFS drivers for Mac that can help you read-write to NTFS drives on Mac. For example, FUSE for macOS is an open-source project. It can mount NTFS drives in read-write mode.
The process will be very technical and please follow the guide very carefully.
Step 1: Download and install Xcode.
1. Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal and run the following command line: xcode-select --install.
2. Click "install" when you are asked to install the Apple's command line developer tools.
Step 2: Download and install Homebrew.
1. Go to the Terminal window and run the following command line:
/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)".
2. Hit Enter to install it (provide password when prompted).
Note: If you have installed Xcode and Homebrew before, messages will pop up in Terminal window telling you have installed them before. You just ignore the messages, keep doing the next steps.
Step 3: Download and install FUSE for macOS.
Use default options when installing it.
Step 4: Install NTFS-3G.
1. Go to Terminal window and run the following command line: brew install homebrew/fuse/ntfs-3g.
2. Hit Enter.
Step 5: Disable SIP (System Integrity Protection).
SIP exists to protect the operating system from unauthorized changes.
1. Restart your Mac and hold down Command + R immediately until you see the Apple logo.
2. Open Terminal from the Utilities menu.
3. Run the command line: csrutil disable.
4. Hit Enter.
5. Reboot the Mac.
Step 6: Read and write to NTFS on Mac.
1. Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
2. Run the following command line:
sudo mv /sbin/mount_ntfs /sbin/mount_ntfs.original
sudo ln -s /usr/local/sbin/mount_ntfs /sbin/mount_ntfs
3. Hit Enter.
Note: It is recommended that you enable SIP after you finish using NTFS drives on Mac to better protect your Mac. To enable SIP, you just need to follow the Step 5 and run command line "csrutil enable" in Terminal window, hit Enter and restart the Mac.
Other than FUSE for macOS, Mounty for Mac, NTFS-3G, SL-NTFS are other free NTFS drivers for Mac. Like NTFS-3G, they are free but all of them require a good bit of work to install and use.
If you feel uncomfortable with this method which involves so many command lines and rebooting the Mac, here is an easier solution for you to read and write to NTFS drives on Mac.
Option 2: Commercial but easy-to-use NTFS driver for Mac
Commercial NTFS drivers for Mac are other options to make the NTFS drive compatible with both PC and Mac. They include iBoysoft Drive Manager and NTFS Assistant. They might cost you a little money, but they offer high reliability, fast write speed, excellent compatibility and free technical support, which you probably won't get from a free NTFS driver for Mac.
In this section, we'll introduce two cost-effective NTFS apps for Mac: NTFS Assistant and iBoysoft Drive Manager to help you read and write to NTFS on Mac computer.
1. NTFS Assistant - the cheapest NTFS for Mac app in App Store
NTFS Assistant is a tiny NTFS driver for Mac, designed to read and write to NTFS drives on Mac running macOS Mojave/High Sierra/Sierra and Mac OS X El Capitan/Yosemite/Mavericks/Mountain Lion/Lion. It can mount NTFS drives in read-write mode automatically, enabling file sharing between NTFS drives and Mac.
Guidance to download and use NTFS Assistant
Step 1: Download and install NTFS Assistant from App Store >>.
Step 2: Download and install NTFS Assistant Helper >>.
Step 3: Launch NTFS Assistant and connect an NTFS drive to Mac.
2. iBoysoft Drive Manager - manage NTFS drives, external drives and network drives
iBoysoft Drive Manager can enable NTFS write support on Mac automatically after NTFS drives are detected. It supports full read-write support. You can create, save, copy, paste, delete and modify files on NTFS drives on Mac freely. iBoysoft Drive Manager enables users to mount and unmount NTFS drives from top-down menu bar. Also, the program offers customizable and advanced settings if you prefer to mount NTFS drives manually. iBoysoft Drive Manager has fast NTFS write and file transferring speed. With iBoysoft Drive Manager, you won't feel any difference between using an NTFS drive on Mac or using an drive with the format that is fully supported by macOS.
NTFS for Mac - iBoysoft Drive Manager
- Read and write to NTFS drives on Mac
- Mount and unmount external drives
- Map network drives as local drives
- Safely eject external drives on Sleep mode
- Manage multiple drives with one-click
- Support macOS 10.14/10.13/10.12 and OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7
Besides, iBoysoft Drive Manager is a handy drive management tool for Mac users. It allows you to manage your external and network drives fast and intuitively from the menu bar. You can mount and unmount USB flash drives, SD cards, external drives and memory sticks with only one click. When the computer is going to sleep, the software will safely eject the drives to protect them against corruption. Moreover, the software allows you to manually add network drives and map them as local drives in the Finder. You can connect and disconnect them with one single click as well.
Steps to read and write to NTFS drives on Mac:
Step 1: Free download and install iBoysoft Drive Manager on Mac.
Step 2: Connect your NTFS drive to your Mac computer.
Step 3: After get the notification that your drive is mounted successfully, you can manage your drives and read-write to NTFS drives.
Option 3: Enable NTFS write support using command line
I bet most people don't know that the Mac operating system includes the experimental NTFS write support, but it is disabled by default. You can run some command lines in Terminal to enable it. However, Apple hasn't officially supported NTFS-writing ability yet. It is proven to be unstable and risky. It may cause disk corruption and permanent data loss. If you accidentally couldn't access your NTFS drives or lost data from them, try iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac to recover important files.
This solution is not recommended, but if you are curious about how to enable Apple NTFS write support, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Go to the Applications > Utilities folder and launch the Terminal program.
Step 2: Input "sudo nano /etc/fstab" to edit the fstab file (provide your password when prompted).
Step 3: Type "LABEL=NAME none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse" in the editor window for the fstab file. (Be sure to change the word NAME to the name of your drive)
Tips: If you have multiple NTFS drives you want to write to, write different line for each NTFS drive.
Step 4: Press "Control+O" to save the file, followed by "Control+X" to exit.
Step 5: Re-connected the NTFS drive to the Mac.
Step 6: Find the NTFS drive in the Finder and mount it manually.
Tips: If you want to undo the change, follow the step 1 and step 2, then delete the command line. Type "LABEL=NAME none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse" and save your change.
Writing to NTFS drives on Mac is totally possible. You have several options to choose from - free NTFS drivers, cost-effective NTFS drivers and Apple's native NTFS support. Free NTFS drivers for Mac and Apple's NTFS support are free but take extra amount of work to mount NTFS drives on Mac in read-write mode. They are risky and very unstable. Even though iBoysoft Drive Manager is not completely free, it saves you a lot of time and effort for its excellent reliability and ease of use.
If you want to use external drives for file transferring between Windows and Mac frequently, it is a good idea to convert NTFS to exFAT or FAT32 to make the drives compatible with both platforms.