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What to Do When Permission on an External Hard Drive Is Read Only on Mac

I set up an external hard drive on a previous laptop which I no longer have. It seems that I have set it so that that user has read and write permissions. However, from my Mac, it thinks I'm a user with read-only permissions. I really want to use the external hard drive properly, is there a way I can change the permissions from my Mac to get proper access to it and write files to it?

Best Answered by

iBoysoft author Sherry Song

Sherry Song

Answered on Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Hello, according to your description, it depends on the file system of the external drive. 

Please select the Disk in Finder and Get Info.

(1) If its fils system is NTFS. You should know that macOS can only read that format because NTFS is developed by Microsoft. The best way to use the drive both on Windows and Mac is using an NTFS driver for Mac.

iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is a good choice, which allows you to read and write NTFS drive seamlessly on Mac without formatting it.

(2)If its file system is not the NTFS. You can:

  1. Change the permission with admin privilege.
  2. Ignore the permission in the Finder.
  3. Repair the drive with Disk Utility.

Or you can also format the drive to other file systems that macOS can support. But this will erase all data, so do a backup, please.

Hope you can use the drive normally.

Also read: Fix External Drive Read-only on Mac


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