How to Fix 'WD external hard drive is read-only on a Mac'?

Posted by Katrina to NTFS for Mac on February 6th, 2018

WD external hard drive is favored by large number of customers due to its good performance, reliability and durability. But sometimes, our WD external hard drive becomes read-only when we plug it into Mac. In this case, we are unable to create, copy, transfer, edit or delete files on our WD external hard drive.

The cause of read-only WD external hard drive

In general, this problem has nothing to do with the corruption of our WD external hard drive. That's just because the WD external hard drive has been formatted to NTFS, which is the default file system for Windows. Because of technical reasons and compatibility issues, macOS only supports to read from NTFS drive but doesn't support to write to NTFS drive. Thus, our WD external hard drive is read-only on a Mac.

To check if the WD external hard drive is NTFS format, we can right click the drive and select Get Info, then we can see its format.

How to fix read-only WD external hard drive on Mac?

In order to make our work more convenient, it's urgent to fix read-only WD external hard drive on Mac. Here are two solutions: reformat WD external hard drive to FAT32 or exFAT and install a professional NTFS for Mac utility on Mac.

Solution 1: Reformat WD external hard drive to FAT32 or exFAT

FAT32 and exFAT are compatible with both macOS and Windows. FAT32 doesn't support files larger than 4GB, drive partition larger than 32GB on Windows, or drive partition larger than 2TB on macOS. While exFAT has no limitation on partition size or file sizes. Thus, unless we only store individual files less than 4 GB, FAT32 is not recommended.

Note: We are about to format our storage device. Be sure to copy any and all file from the WD external hard drive as all the data on the drive will be erased.

1. Reformat WD external hard drive to FAT32 or exFAT on Mac

Step 1: Launch Disk Utility.

Step 2: Select the WD external hard drive on the left part of the window.

Step 3: Click the Erase on the top of the window.

Step 4: Complete related information, including name, format (MS-DOS refers to FAT32, exFAT), scheme, and then click Erase button.

2. Reformat WD external hard drive to FAT32 or exFAT on Windows

Step 1: Go to Computer (or My Computer on Windows XP).

Step 2: Select the WD external hard drive from the list and right-click on it. Choose Format from the contextual menu.

Step 3: Choose format (FAT32 or exFAT), and then set format information (allocation unit size, volume label and format option).

Step 4: Click "Start" to format the WD external hard drive.

After reformatting the WD external hard drive to FAT32 or exFAT, we can transfer the original data back to the drive.

Solution 2: Install professional NTFS for Mac software

If think that the above solution is too complicated or worry about data loss during transferring files, the easier method is to install professional NTFS for Mac software on macOS to fix read-only WD external hard drive. Here are two reliable NTFS drivers for us.

1. NTFS Assistant – the cheapest NTFS for Mac utility in App Store

NTFS Assistant offers us not only the cheapest price in App Store, but also the fast speed when transferring bulky files. It enables read/write to external hard drive on macOS Mojave 10.14/High Sierra 10.13/10.12 Sierra/10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7. With NTFS Assistant, we can easily copy files to the read-only external hard drive, save files from macOS to the NTFS external hard drive, rename a file, edit a document, etc.

Guidance to download and use NTFS Assistant

Step 1: Download and install NTFS Assistant from App Store >>.

Step 2: Download and install NTFS Assistant Helper >> to enable NTFS read-write access.

After installing both NTFS Assistant and NTFS Assistant Helper, NTFS Assistant has the ability to read/write NTFS WD external hard drive in Mac.

2. iBoysoft Drive Manager - manage NTFS external hard drive, external drive and network drive

iBoysoft Drive Manager is a professional NTFS driver for Mac that can easily and effectively write to NTFS drive on Mac. It can mount, read, write and unmount NTFS drive, FAT32 drive, exFAT drive. It supports macOS Mojave 10.14, macOS High Sierra 10.13/10.12 Sierra/10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

iBoysoft Drive Manager

Aside from above, iBoysoft Drive Manager can also be a wonderful manager for network drives and external drives. It offers a menu bar from which we can easily mount and unmount network drive and external drives, including external hard drive, USB flash drive, SD card, memory card, CF card and pen drive.

Write to read-only WD external hard drive on Mac

With three simple steps to write to NTFS WD external hard drive with iBoysoft Drive Manager

Step 1: Download and install iBoysoft Drive Manager on our Mac.

Step 2: Launch iBoysoft Drive Manager and insert the NTFS WD external hard drive in Mac.

Step 3: Write to NTFS WD external drive after getting notified that the drive has been mounted successfully.

Still have questions?