Written byCiki Liu
Format Drive to NTFS on Mac with Proven Ways
Summary: macOS does not offer native NTFS format option. If you want to format a drive to NTFS on Mac, this post offers two feasible ways to format your flash drives in NTFS.
Oftentimes, when you have a new flash drive, it's formatted with different file systems, including common ones such as exFAT, FAT32, and NTFS. While exFAT and FAT32 are popular between both Windows operating system and macOS, NTFS is less compatible since it only fully works on Windows PC.
If you need to format a flash drive to NTFS on Mac, you've come to the right place. This post will walk you through all possible methods to format drive to NTFS on Mac with step-by-step tutorials. Before that, let's dive in to see what is NTFS format exactly.
Table of Contents:
- 1. NTFS file system: what is it
- 2. Can I format a drive to NTFS on Mac
- 3. How to format drive to NTFS on Mac Using Terminal
- 4. How to format drive to NTFS on Mac Using NTFS for Mac tool
- 5. Bonus: How to read-write NTFS drive on Mac without formatting
- 6. FAQs about format drive to NTFS on Mac
NTFS file system: what is it
NTFS (NT file system), also called the New Technology File System, is a proprietary file system introduced by Microsoft with the release of Windows NT 3.1. It's a procedure that Windows OS uses to organize, store, manage, and find files on your external flash drives.
As the default file system of Windows OS, the NTFS file system enjoys a bunch of benefits compared to other similar formats.
- File compression. NTFS allows you to compress files and enjoy larger storage capacity on your flash drives.
- Access permission. Users can set permissions on certain files and folders to enhance data security.
- Journaling. By using the MFT log, users can easily keep and audit the log of the files on the drives.
Aside from the above advantages, NTFS has more to explore. One thing that can't be avoided when talking about NTFS on Mac is compatibility. Can you format a drive to NTFS on Mac? Read on to know more.
Can I format a drive to NTFS on Mac
Since NTFS is a proprietary file system owned by Windows, macOS can't natively format your flash drive to NTFS. Although Mac has a drive management tool named Disk Utility to perform multiple tasks on your flash drive, including First Aid, Erase, and Partition, there's no NTFS option when you choose the file system when reformatting.
Fortunately, it's possible to change the format of your flash drive to NTFS on Mac with Terminal. Mac Terminal is the default gateway to all command lines on your Mac. Instead of pointing and clicking, you can format a hard drive to NTFS by typing in command prompts and your Mac will respond.
In case you find it unfamiliar with writing command lines in Terminal, there are some NTFS for Mac tools that can help you erase hard drives to NTFS directly. An NTFS for Mac software enables you to read-write NTFS drives on Mac.
How to format drive to NTFS on Mac Using Terminal
As talked about above, if you want to format a drive to NTFS on Mac, Mac Terminal can help you out. Continue reading to know how it works magic.
Step 1. Navigate to Finder > Applications > Utilities > and find Terminal. You can also find Terminal by clicking Launchpad > Others. Moreover, you can press the Command and Space keys together to bring out Spotlight search and type in terminal.
Step 2. After entering the Terminal panel, you should see some command lines. Type in the following prompts and hit the Enter button.
Hard drives connected to your Mac will appear then, including information about the drive location, the type name, and the size of your drives. With these details, you can select which drive you want to format.
Step 3. After designating the flash drive, type in the commands below to format the drive to NTFS on Mac.
diskutil eraseDisk NTFS LABEL /dev/diskx
Note: You should replace Label with the new name you want to assign to the formatted hard drive. Meanwhile, you should replace x with the right location of the drive you want to format.
In this case, if you want to format the disk2 to NTFS, you should type in diskutil eraseDisk NTFS External /dev/disk2 and hit enter. Your Mac will automatically start to erase, unmount, create a new partition map, and format the drive with a new file format. Wait for the procedure to be done.
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How to format drive to NTFS on Mac Using NTFS for Mac tool
NTFS format is not available when you format a flash drive in Mac's disk management tool, Disk Utility. By making use of an NTFS for Mac tool, you can extend your format options apart from the original ones on your Mac, including APFS, HFS+, FAT, and exFAT.
Use iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to format drive to NTFS on Mac
iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is your one-stop solution for managing NTFS drives on Mac with ease. Continue reading to know how to use it to format your flash drive to NTFS easily and quickly.
Step 1. Download and install iBoysoft NTFS for Mac. This software is fully compatible with macOS 10.13 and later, including the latest macOS Ventura.
Step 2. Plug in and connect the NTFS flash drive to your Mac computer. Wait for it to successfully mount.
Step 3. Launch iBoysoft NTFS for Mac. In the main graphic interface, all detected drives are divided and listed into two sections on the left column. The top one shows your NTFS disks and the second one shows other disks.
Step 4. Select the flash drive you want to format. Detailed information will appear on the right window. Click on the Erase to NTFS button to format your drive to NTFS with just one click.
Note: If you want to format an APFS drive to NTFS, choose the APFS container name instead of the APFS volume.
More impressively, with iBoysoft NTFS for Mac, you can now format drives to NTFS directly in Disk Utility.
Now you successfully format a drive to NTFS on Mac using iBoysoft NTFS for Mac, why not share it with your friends?
Bonus: How to read-write NTFS drive on Mac without formatting
Update: Sadly, Apple has changed the entire mount process on macOS 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 13 Ventura anymore.
When you connect an NTFS drive to macOS, you'll notice the drive is read-only and you can't write to it, including editing, renaming, modifying, moving files to NTFS drives, etc. For users who want to use NTFS drives on Mac without formatting NTFS drives on Mac, there are mainly three ways to achieve this goal.
Option 1. Read-write NTFS drive with a commercial NTFS driver
The easiest and most effective way to enable NTFS write support on Mac is to use a commercial third-party NTFS driver. To name one of the best NTFS drivers on Mac, iBoysoft NTFS for Mac. Without formatting, iBoysoft NTFS for Mac promises to offer reliable, fast writing speed, and full compatibility with most Mac devices when writing to NTFS drives on Mac.
Option 2. Enable NTFS write support with a free NTFS driver
There are some free NTFS drivers to choose from, including FUSE for macOS, Mounty for Mac, and NTFS-3G. Although free NTFS for Mac software costs you no money, it requires a lot of work to make things happen. The process to enable NTFS writing is often technical and complicated, involving running command prompts and rebooting your Mac. Not an easy task for both veterans and newbies.
Option 3. Use command lines in Terminal to enable NTFS writing
As a matter of fact, macOS does come with experimental writing support for NTFS drives, though it's disabled by default. Users can enable it by running command lines in the Terminal. However, this is the least recommended method to gain write support for NTFS on Mac since it's proven to be risky and unstable. It's possible to cause permanent data loss and damage to your hard drives.
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FAQs about format drive to NTFS on Mac
macOS only offers read support to NTFS drives on Mac. You can view and copy the files within the drive but find it unable to write the drive. If you need to make any change to the drive, using a third-party NTFS for Mac tool such as iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is the best option.
On a Windows computer, go to My Computer and right-click the drive you want to format. Select Format and choose NTFS as the file system to your hard drive.
Thanks to its high compatibility with both Windows and Mac devices, most flash drives prefer exFAT as the file system. Also, exFAT has no requirements for partition size limits and complicated file attribution systems as NTFS does.