Written byConnie Yang
How to Copy/Move Files to Read-only NTFS Hard Drive on Mac
Summary: A tutorial about how to copy files to NTFS drive on Mac, including running NTFS for Mac, using Terminal, and formatting the NTFS hard drive. Among them, using iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is the easiest way to move files from Mac to NTFS external hard drives.
You connect your NTFS hard drive to your Mac computer and prepare to move some files to it, only to find that you can't copy files from your Mac to the external hard drive. The Windows NTFS hard drive is read-only on your Mac.
So, how to copy files to NTFS on Mac? If this problem troubles you, follow this article. This definite tutorial will tell you how to move files from Mac to an NTFS hard drive using stepwise ways. Then, you can use NTFS external hard drives to transfer files between Windows and macOS freely.
Table of Contents:
- 1. Why can't you copy files from your Mac to an NTFS external hard drive?
- 2. How to copy files to NTFS hard drives on Mac?
- 3. FAQs about how to copy files to NTFS on Mac
Why can't you copy files from your Mac to an NTFS external hard drive?
Usually, if you can't add files to an external hard drive on Mac, you need to consider if the external hard drive is healthy, the connection between the drive and your Mac is well, and the file permission of the disk is set in read-write mode. But in terms of an NTFS external hard drive, the first thing you need to consider is file system compatibility.
That's because NTFS (New Technology File System) is designed by Microsoft and used for Windows. It is not completely compatible with macOS. Windows NTFS is read-only on Mac by default.
And copying files from your Mac to an NTFS external hard drive is what we call the act of writing to NTFS in macOS. That is not allowed for you. Therefore, you are unable to copy files from your Mac to an external hard drive formatted with NTFS.
Have learned the reasons? Go to tell more people who also care about it.
How to copy files to NTFS hard drives on Mac?
As the NTFS external hard drive or USB drive is read-only on Mac, you need to take some actions to configure the Windows NTFS hard drive, making it fully read-write accessible on your Mac. Well, here we summarized three efficient methods to help you transfer files to WD My Passport from Mac. Then, you can copy files from your Mac to NTFS external hard drives or transfer files from external hard drive to Mac.
How to copy files to NTFS on Mac:
- Format the NTFS drive to FAT32 or exFAT
- Use NTFS for Mac (simple, quick & without formatting)
- Utilize Terminal
1. Format the NTFS drive to FAT32 or exFAT
To move files from your Mac to the read-only NTFS drive, you can reassign a macOS-compatible file system to it by formatting NTFS for Mac. As we know, macOS supports FAT32, exFAT, and APFS. While FAT32 and exFAT are both compatible with macOS and Windows.
So, if you want to use your hard drive cross-platform, you can reformat your NTFS drive to FAT32 or exFAT with Disk Utility on Mac.
However, reformatting the NTFS drive will erase all data on it, and cause permanent data loss. If you already have a backup of the NTFS drive, you can go ahead to do that.
Here's how to format your NTFS drive to FAT32 or exFAT on Mac:
- Connect your NTFS drive to your Mac.
- Open Disk Utility (open Finder > Applications > Utilities).
- Select the NTFS drive from the left sidebar and then click the top Erase button.
- Enter a name for the drive, select MS-DOS (FAT) or exFAT as the format, and choose GUID Partition Map as the scheme.
- Click Erase.
- Wait until the erasure process is done. During the process, don't do any operations on your Mac.
If you haven't backed up your NTFS hard drive, you are not supposed to do so. Alternatively, you can use professional NTFS for Mac software to help you make the NTFS drive read-write on Mac without formatting.
2. Use NTFS for Mac (simple, quick & without formatting)
If you don't want to reformat your NTFS drive as it contains a large number of important files, you can use the NTFS for Mac tool to help you read and write your NTFS drive on Mac.
Here is the video about how to run NTFS for Mac utility to allow your Mac to support reading and writing NTFS drives. Watch it now and then add files to your NTFS drive on Mac.
There are brands of NTS for Mac apps but not all of them are as powerful as they claimed. While iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is one of the most reliable, well-designed, and easy-to-operate ones.
This NTFS for Mac software is trusted by Apple and supports auto-mount your NTFS drive once you connect it to your Mac or Apple silicon Mac. Then, you can copy files from your Mac to the NTFS drive quickly and easily, just as operating on a Windows computer. Also, you can edit, delete, and rename the files stored in the NTFS drive on your Mac.
Features of iBoysoft NTFS for Mac
- Fully support copy, move and transfer files to NTFS drives on Mac
- Support macOS Sonoma - High Sierra
- Compatible with Intel-based & M2, M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max Mac
- Work on T2-secured Mac
- Auto-mount NTFS drives in read-write mode on Mac
- Make NTFS drives work as native APFS & HFS+ on Mac
- Repair NTFS disk errors
- Reformat drives to NTFS on Mac
Read-only & risk-free
Here's how to run iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to endow you copy files from Mac to the NTFS drive:
- Free download and install iBoysoft NTFS for Mac on your Mac.
- Connect your NTFS external hard drive to your Mac and open this NTFS for Mac app. The NTFS drive will be auto-mounted in read-write mode on your Mac.
- Open your NTFS drive and move your wanted files from your Mac to it.
You can share this method with more people who also need to copy files from Mac to NTFS drives.
3. Utilize Terminal
It is not a secure way to run commands in Terminal to make the NTFS drive read-write on Mac. That's because this way is experimental and even Apple doesn't recommend it for their users. If you do that, you may face NTFS drive and Mac hard drive corruption and data loss.
So, you are supposed to use the safe and stable way - run iBoysoft NTFS for Mac on your Mac model to enable you to move files from Mac to NTFS.
If you still insist on using Terminal to turn on the read-write permission for NTFS drives on Mac, you can follow the steps below. Remember to back up your NTFS drive and Mac in advance.
Update: Sadly, Apple has changed the entire mount process on macOS Sonoma/Ventura. It removed the previous kernel-based architecture - /System/Library/Extensions/ntfs.kext. It means all free NTFS for Mac drivers including Mounty for NTFS and others and terminal commands will not function on macOS 14 Sonoma/13 Ventura anymore.
- Connect your NTFS drive to your Mac.
- Go to the Launchpad on the Dock > Other > Terminal. Or, you can open Terminal in Finder.
- Copy and paste the command below onto the Terminal window. That is to open all the drives recognized by your Mac. sudo nano /etc/fstab
- Press the arrow keys on the keyboard to scroll to the end of the list and then type the following command. You need to replace NAME with the name of your NTFS drive. LABEL=NAME none ntfs rw, auto, nobrowse
- Press the Control + O keys. And then press the Control + X keys.
- Open Finder and move to the top Finder menu bar, then choose Go > Go to Folder.
- Enter /Volumes/NAME into the Go to Folder box. Here, replace NAME with the name of your NTFS drive.
- Select Go to open your NTFS drive.
Now, you can copy files to your NTFS drive on Mac.
If you think the above three ways are useful, share them with others.
FAQs about how to copy files to NTFS drive on Mac
No, you are only able to read NTFS hard drives on Mac by default. If you want to write to NTFS on a Mac, you need to use the NTFS for Mac software like iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to mount your NTFS drive in read-write mode in macOS.
You can use a NTFS for Mac tool like iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to help you read and write an NTFS drive on Mac without formatting. This software can configure your read-only NTFS drive to read-write support on Mac.