How to Format Microsoft NTFS Drives on Mac Easily

By Connie | Posted to NTFS for Mac Tips, updated on January 28th, 2021 | User rating:

NTFS, short for New Technology File System, is a file system proprietary to Microsoft, while Apple has no right. Apart from reading support, both formatting a disk to NTFS and writing to NTFS drives are not allowed on Mac (including M1 Mac) by default.

Relax, this post is here to help you format NTFS on Mac.

Ways to format NTFS on Mac

Which file system format works on Mac or PC

Since NTFS is not supported on Mac, you may be wondering which file systems are fully supported on macOS and which on Windows. Let's get more details.

A file system is a way that an operating system uses to store and retrieve data on a storage device like a hard drive. If an operating system not supporting this file system, the OS won't access or write to the file system formatted storage devices. Besides, it also can't format the storage device.

How to format an external hard drive for Mac and PC

File systems fully supported on Mac:

  1. APFS
  2. Mac OS Extended (HFS+)
  3. ExFAT
  4. MS-DOS (FAT)

File systems fully supported on Windows:

  1. NTFS
  2. ExFAT
  3. MS-DOS (FAT)
  4. ReFS

As you can see, ExFAT and FAT are both supported by Windows and macOS. So, if you just want your external hard drive to work on an approaching Windows, erasing it to ExFAT or FAT on Mac is enough.

Back up your drive before formating it on Mac

And when it comes to formatting, data loss is inevitable. So, it is necessary for you to back up data on your drive before formatting. Go to copy or move the data on the drive to your Mac as a backup.

If you aim to erase data on your NTFS drive via formatting, ignore the backup work.

How to format a drive to NTFS on Mac

After the data backup finished, it's time to format a drive to NTFS on Mac. No matter you want to format an APFS/HFS+ external hard drive to NTFS on Mac, or to erase your NTFS drive to a new NTFS, you can try the following ways.

Format NTFS drives on Mac via third-party software

A third-party NTFS driver, such as iBoysoft NTFS for Mac, Paragon NTFS for Mac, Tuxera NTFS for Mac, can be used to format NTFS drives on Mac.

Here, iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is strongly recommended as it has been proven to format your APFS/HFS+/ExFAT/FAT/NTFS drive to NTFS in a safe, stable, and fast way.

Advanced Features of iBoysoft NTFS for Mac

  • Enable formatting NTFS drives on Mac
  • Allow reading and writing NTFS drives on Mac
  • Support Apple M1 Mac
  • Support macOS Big Sur 11/10.15/10.14/10.13
  • Highly-integrated with macOS Disk Utility and Finder
  • High safety, security, and stability
iBoysoft NTFS for Mac icon
iBoysoft NTFS for Mac

Here is the guide to use iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to format your NTFS drive.

  • 1. Download, install, and launch iBoysoft NTFS for Mac on your Mac.
  • 2. Restart your Mac, and then connect your NTFS drive to Mac.
  • 3. After the NTFS drive has been mounted, click Disk Management in iBoysoft NTFS for Mac menu bar.
  • Use Disk Management in iBoysoft NTFS for Mac
  • If it is an NTFS drive, you can click Erase disk to erase data on the drive and keep it NTFS formatted. If it isn't an NTFS drive, you should click Erase to NTFS to format it to NTFS.
  • Erase your drive to NTFS with iBoysoft NTFS for Mac

Note:
1. If it is an APFS drive, you should reformat it to ExFAT/FAT/HFS+ in Disk Utility before formatting it to NTFS.
2. If the erasure process hasn't finished after a while and your cursor becomes a spinning ball, don't do any operation. Just wait until the process finished.

Alternatively, you can also open Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility after you've installed iBoysoft NTFS for Mac on your Mac. Then select your drive in Disk Utility, click Erase, and then choose Windows NTFS as its file system.

Format your drive to NTFS in Disk Utility

If you forgot to back up your data before formatting your APFS/HFS+ drive to NTFS, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac is a good helper to recover lost data.

Format NTFS drives on Mac using Boot Camp Assistant

Boot Camp Assistant is used to install Windows 10 on your Intel-based Mac, and then lets you switch between macOS and Windows when restarting your Mac.

As partition for Windows system must use the NTFS file system, Boot Camp Assistant will help you format an NTFS partition automatically on your drive when Windows ISO image installation finished.

Before taking actions, you should do these preparations:

  1. Check if your Mac supports Windows 10 on support.apple.com.
  2. Download a 64-bit version of Windows 10 ISO image from Microsoft's official site to your Mac. (It will take a long time)
  3. Check where you should install the Windows ISO image. Open Boot Camp Assistant,check Create a Windows 10 or later install disk, and click Continue. Then it will give the tips.

• If your Mac requires to install a Windows ISO image on startup disk (Internal disk), the startup disk should have over 64GB free storage space and erased as FAT.

• If your Mac asks to install a Windows ISO image on an external USB drive, the USB drive should be at least 8 GB with FAT formatted.

When you have prepared well, open Boot Camp Assistant again.

If you are required to install Windows ISO image on Mac startup disk:

  • Choose the ISO image that you've downloaded.
  • Move the slider in the partition section to adjust the Boot Camp partition size which is 48GB by default.
  • Ajust the Boot Camp partition size
  • Click Install and enter your password.
  • Then follow the on-screen instructions to finish the Windows 10 installation.

If you are asked to connect a USB drive to install Windows ISO image:

  • Connect your USB drive to your Mac.
  • Choose ISO image from your local document and click Continue.
  • Follow the instructions to install Windows image on your USB drive.

Note: You need to take care of each step. If you've encountered questions, get help from apple.support.com.

After Windows installation completes, your Mac will start up in Windows.

How to mount BOOTCAMP NTFS partition with read-write access

If you want to switch to macOS, you can press and hold the Option (or Alt) key during your Mac restart. Note that your NTFS partition on the Internal disk or your NTFS USB drive is still read-only in macOS.

As you can see, formatting NTFS with Boot Camp Assistant is complex. Besides, this NTFS partition is still not support in macOS. Thus, you'd better utilize iBoysoft NTFS for Mac.

How to format NTFS drives to other file systems on Mac

If you prepare to erase an NTFS drive to Apple file systems/ExFAT/FAT on Mac, move the data on the NTFS drive to your Mac to be a backup, and then go to disk utility.

  • Open Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk utility.
  • Select the NTFS drive on left-side bar in Disk Utility window.
  • Click Erase, and then name your drive, select a file system, choose "GUID Partition Map" as the scheme, and click Erase.
  • Waiting for the drive to be erased.

If you forgot to back up your NTFS drive and have formatted it to APFS/HFS+/ExFAT/FAT, get aid from iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows to recover your lost data.

No matter you are preparing to format a drive to NTFS on Mac or erase an NTFS drive to other file systems on Mac, this post gives you the best measures. It is worth mentioning that formatting a drive to NTFS with iBoysoft NTFS for Mac on Mac is fast, secure, and simple.

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