Written byAmanda Wong
How To Read and Write To Microsoft NTFS Drives on Mac
Summary: Guide to enable Mac NTFS write and read NTFS on Mac. The safest and most effective method is to download iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to read and write Windows NTFS drives on your Mac.
Table of Contents:
Cross-platform incompatibility has been a huge roadblock for Mac users who have to move back and forth between Windows computers and Mac computers, especially when you need to share files between Windows and macOS using an NTFS(stands for NT File System) drive.
After you connected the Windows disk with NTFS format to the Mac, you found that you could read NTFS files on Mac, but you couldn't edit, rename, copy, paste, delete, move or create files on it because Mac doesn't support NTFS write by default.
Does NTFS work on Mac? Is there a way to read and write to NTFS on Mac? You can directly format the Microsoft NTFS drive to a file system supported by macOS, while you will lose all the files stored on the drive. Keep reading to know the different methods in this post to fully access NTFS on Mac if you don't want to format the NTFS drive.
Three ways to write NTFS on Mac
In this section, you will learn how to read NTFS on Mac as well as enable Mac NTFS write. Each method has pros and cons. After reading, you can choose the method that suits your case best to write files to NTFS on macOS. Now, let's explore these three methods one by one, including:
- Cost-effective NTFS for Mac software
- Free NTFS drivers for Mac
- Apple's native NTFS support
Option 1. Write NTFS on Mac with commercial but easy-to-use NTFS driver
Using a paid third party app is the easiest and fastest way to enable NTFS write support on Mac without formatting NTFS drives to a compatible file system. Although costing a little money, they offer high reliability, fast write speed, excellent compatibility, and free technical support, which you probably won't get from free NTFS drivers for Mac.
iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is one of the best. It provides fast macOS NTFS write and file transferring speed. You won't feel any difference between using a Microsoft NTFS drive on Mac and other macOS-supported formats. And now, it also supports writing to NTFS on Mac with M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max chips.
Best NTFS for Mac by iBoysoft
- Read and write NTFS volumes on Mac
- Mount and unmount NTFS volumes
- Repair NTFS file system errors
- Erase data on NTFS disks
- List and open all attached external drives
- Reformat other file systems to NTFS
- Support macOS 12/11/10.15/10.14/10.13
- Compatible with Apple M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max Mac
Read-only & risk-free
There is a tutorial video about how to read NTFS on Mac and gain Mac NTFS write access with iBoysoft NTFS for Mac.
Steps to read and write to NTFS on Mac:
1. Free download and install iBoysoft NTFS for Mac on Mac.
2. Connect your NTFS drive to your Mac computer.
3. After your drive is mounted successfully, you can access NTFS disk on Mac and read/write NTFS files. If necessary, you'll be asked to install an NTFS driver by iBoysoft and enable System Extensions to gain full disk access.
There is a free-trail version of iBoysoft NTFS for Mac. Don't lose this chance to experience its excellent performance to write to NTFS on macOS for free.
Option 2. Gain Mac NTFS support via free but complicated NTFS driver
If you don't want to use a commercial NTFS driver for Mac nor format NTFS, there are some free NTFS for Mac you can choose from. For example, FUSE for macOS is an open-source project. It can mount the Microsoft NTFS drive in read-write mode.
Although they are free to use, the process is very complicated and technical, involving so many command lines and rebooting the Mac. If you want to try such a free program, please follow the guide very carefully and patiently.
Step 1. Download and install Xcode.
Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal and run the following command: xcode-select --installThen, click "install" when you are asked to install Apple's command line developer tools.
Step 2. Download and install Homebrew.
Go to the Terminal window and run the following command:
[/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"
Then, Hit Enter to install it (provide the password when prompted).
Note: If you have installed Xcode and Homebrew before, messages will pop up in the Terminal window telling you have installed them before. You just ignore the messages and keep doing the next steps.
Step 3. Download and install FUSE for macOS.
Use default options when installing it.
Step 4. Install NTFS-3G.
Go to Terminal window and run the following command: brew install homebrew/fuse/ntfs-3g
Step 5. Disable SIP (System Integrity Protection).
SIP exists to protect the operating systems from unauthorized changes.
- Restart your Mac and hold down Command + R immediately until you see the Apple logo.
- Open Terminal from the Utilities menu.
- Run the command: csrutil disable
- Hit Enter.
- Reboot the Mac.
Step 6. Read and write to NTFS on Mac.
- Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
- Run the following command:
sudo mv /sbin/mount_ntfs /sbin/mount_ntfs.original sudo ln -s /usr/local/sbin/mount_ntfs /sbin/mount_ntfs
- Hit Enter.
Note: It is recommended that you enable SIP after you finish using NTFS on Mac to better protect your Mac. To enable SIP, you just need to follow Step 5 and run the command line "csrutil enable" in the Terminal window, hit Enter, and restart the Mac.
Other than FUSE for macOS, Mounty for Mac, NTFS-3G, SL-NTFS are other free NTFS for Mac. They are free, but all of them require a good bit of work to install and use.
Option 3. Help Mac write to NTFS using Terminal
I bet most Mac users don't know that the macOS includes the experimental NTFS write support, but it is disabled by default. You can run some command lines in Terminal to enable macOS NTFS write support.
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. In case you couldn't access your NTFS drives or lost data from them, try iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery to recover important files.
This solution is not recommended, but if you are curious about how to enable write support for specific Microsoft Windows disks using macOS Terminal, follow the steps below:
1. Go to the Applications > Utilities > Terminal to launch the Terminal program.
2. Input "sudo nano /etc/fstab" to edit the fstab file (provide your password when prompted). No letters will show up when you type in password.
3. Type "LABEL=DISKNAME none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse" in the editor window for the fstab file and press "Control + O" to write. (Be sure to change the word DISKNAME to the name of your NTFS drive)
Tips: If you have multiple NTFS drives you want to write to, write different lines for each NTFS drive.
4. Hit Enter and press "Control + C" and then "Control + X" to exit.
5. Re-connected the NTFS drive to the Mac.
6. Click "Go" at the top left menu bar and choose "Go to Folder".
7. Type in /Volomes and hit Enter.
8. Find the NTFS volume or drive and drag it to the sidebar for easy access.
Tips: If you want to undo the change, follow step 1 and step 2, then delete the command line. Save your change and exit.
A lot of users reported that the set of commands above didn't work on macOS Monterey. Please find another set of commands below. They are more complicated.
1. Open Terminal and input the command sudo umount Volumes/DISKNAME and hit the Return key to unmount your disk. Replace the DISKNAME with the name of your device.
2. Run the command sudo mkdir /Volumes/1 to create a mount point for your NTFS volume.
3. Run command sudo mount -t ntfs -o rw, auto, nobrowse /dev/disk2s2 /Volumes/1 to mount the NTFS on Mac computer in read and write mode. The "disk2s2" is the Device info of the NTFS drive in Disk Utility. Yours might be different.
4. Quit Terminal and open NTFS volume on Mac for use.
Can Mac read NTFS
Yes, you can read Windows NTFS-formatted USB flash drives, sd cards, memory sticks, and external hard drives without any problem, and the Windows NTFS partition created by Boot Camp Assistant is also supported.
No matter what Mac computer 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 can read NTFS on Mac.
You can view your files by opening them. Files will appear of the same quality as they do on a PC. 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.
Third party NTFS drivers for Mac can help Mac write to NTFS, just like using an NTFS disk on a Windows PC.
Letting Mac read NTFS and write to NTFS files is totally possible. In addition to changing the file system by formatting which erases all the contents, 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 an extra amount of work to mount NTFS drive on Mac in read-write mode. They are risky and very unstable. Even though iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is not completely free, it saves you a lot of time and effort with its excellent reliability and ease of use.
If you need to use the external drive for file transferring between Windows computers and Mac computers frequently, it is a good idea to format NTFS to exFAT or FAT32 in macOS Disk Utility. If you will use this Windows NTFS drive on Mac later, you can also choose to convert NTFS to APFS.
FAQS about NTFS on Mac
macOS only supports reading NTFS on Mac. You can view the stored files on the Windows NTFS disk on Mac. However, you can not move, copy, edit, etc., the files on NTFS drives on Mac by default.
You are not allowed to directly write to NTFS on Mac. But there are some workarounds you can apply, including using third-party NTFS driver for Mac and enabling the Apple;s NTFS support in Terminal. It is recommended to choose the commercial but easy-to-use iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to access NTFS drive on Mac.