How To Read and Write To Microsoft NTFS Drives on Mac

By Amanda | Posted to Home > NTFS for Mac Tips, updated on November 8th, 2021

Summary: Guide to enable NTFS writing on Mac. The safest and most effective method is to download iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to read and write to Microsoft NTFS drives on your Mac.

NTFS for Mac

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 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.

Is there a way to read and write to NTFS drives on Mac? The answer is yes. Keep reading to know different methods in this post.

Three ways to write to NTFS drives on Mac

In this section, you will learn how to write to NTFS drives on Mac. Each method has pros and cons. After reading, you can choose the method that suits your case best to write to NTFS drives on Mac. Now, let's explore these three methods one by one, including:

  1. Cost-effective NTFS for Mac software
  2. Free NTFS drivers for Mac
  3. Apple's native NTFS support

Using paid third-party software is the easiest and fastest way to enable write support of NTFS drives on Mac. 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 NTFS write and file transferring speed. You won't feel any difference between using an NTFS drive on Mac and other macOS-supported formats. And now, it also supports writing to NTFS drives on Mac with M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max chips.

Best NTFS for Mac - iBoysoft NTFS for Mac

  • 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

There is a tutorial video about how to read-write NTFS drives on Mac with iBoysoft NTFS for Mac.

Steps to read and write to NTFS drives 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 manage your drives and read-write to NTFS drives. If necessary, you'll be asked to install an NTFS driver by iBoysoft and enable System Extensions.

Write to NTFS drives with iBoysoft NTFS for Mac

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 drives on Mac for free.

Option 2. Free but complicated NTFS driver for Mac

Except for paid NTFS write drivers, there are some free NTFS for Mac you can choose from. For example, FUSE for macOS is an open-source project. It can mount NTFS drives 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 line: xcode-select --install. Then, Click "install" when you are asked to install the Apple's command line developer tools.

Step 2. Download and install Homebrew.

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)".

Then, 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.

Go to Terminal window and run the following command line: brew install homebrew/fuse/ntfs-3g.

Step 5. Disable SIP (System Integrity Protection).

SIP exists to protect the operating system 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 line: 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 line:
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 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 for Mac. They are free, but all of them require a good bit of work to install and use.

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. 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 Apple NTFS write support, 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.

How to enable NTFS write support on Mac natively

3. Type "LABEL=VOLUME_NAME 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 VOLUME_NAME to the name of your NTFS volume)

Tips: If you have multiple NTFS drives you want to write to, write different line for each NTFS drive.

How to enable NTFS write support on Mac natively

4. Hit Enter and press "Control + X" to exit.

How to enable NTFS write support on Mac natively

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 sidebar for easy access.

Tips: If you want to undo the change, follow the step 1 and step 2, then delete the command line. Save your change and exit.

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, and NTFS drives on Windows partition created by Boot Camp Assistant are also supported.

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 can 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. 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.

That's why you need a Mac NTFS driver to enable you to read and write to NTFS drives on a Mac, just like on a Windows PC.

Conclusion

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 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 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 format NTFS to exFAT or FAT32. If you will use this Microsoft NTFS drive on Mac later, you can also choose to convert NTFS to APFS.