How to read and write NTFS disks in macOS

Updated: June 06, 2023
6 min read
How to read and write NTFS disks in macOS
by Gary Spenser
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

NTFS is a proprietary file system used by Microsoft operating systems. Apple computers partition their disks using APFS and HFS. Therefore, macOS has limited support for NTFS and only allows you to browse drives' contents without the ability to edit or copy files.

Before we start

Save your time and let professionals resolve your issue in minutes!
Want to start solving your problem immediately? Experienced Howly troubleshooters can fix your issue ASAP. They’re already waiting for you in the chat!

The benefits you’ll get while troubleshooting your issue with Howly experts:

    • Qualified help with laptops HDD
    • Quick advice right in your device 24/7/365
    • Expert reply within 60 seconds
    • Clear step-by-step guidance
    • Limitless number of follow-up questions
    • Understanding and empathetic help till your laptop HDD issue is fully resolved
    • All answers you need in one place

This annoying problem can be solved in one of the following ways.

1. Activate NTFSdisk support through "Terminal"

This is the easiest, fastest, and most accessible option. You have to use the command line, but it's not hard at all — you just have to enter a couple of ready-made commands. Go like this.

  1. Connect the flash drive or hard disk to your computer and ensure the media name consists of one word. If not, rename it. Make a note of the selected name.
  2. Run Terminal via Spotlight search or from the Programs → Utilities folder.
  3. Copy and paste the following command: sudo nano /etc/fstab. Then press Enter and enter the administrator password to confirm.
  4. Insert LABEL=Disk_Name none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse in the window that appears. Then, replace LABEL with the name of your disk. For example, the disk name could be DRIVE1 — so the code will be: LABEL=DRIVE1 none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse.
  5. Press Control + O and Enter to save the file, then Control + X to exit.
  6. Now that the drive is connected, it will appear in the Finder side menu, and you will be able to write files to it. If the media is not displayed, go to Navigate → Computer and select the drive from the list. You can also press Shift + Command + G in the Finder, type Volumes, press Enter, and find the drive among the choices offered.

2. Install a third-party driver

NTFS disks

Another solution is third-party utilities that add the NTFS driver to the system. They all work in automatic mode and are about the same. After installing such a program and rebooting your Mac, you can view and write files and format NTFS drives.

  • Paragon NTFS is the most popular utility with an intuitive interface and extensive features.
  • Tuxera NTFS is another famous program with the same features as its predecessor. A personal license for $15 allows use on three computers. In addition, there is a trial version.
  • iBoysoft NTFS is a similar NTFS solution supporting macOS Big Sur and M1 processors. Although you can try it for free, the license costs $19.95 annually and covers three computers.

3. Format the drive to ExFAT format

banner 3

For all their differences, macOS and Windows have one thing in common: the exFAT file system, which both operating systems support. If you often use the drive with both Windows and macOS computers, format the drive to ExFAT for convenience.

Important: During this procedure, all information on the disk will be deleted. So if there are files on it, copy them to another location and return them after the format change.

  1. To format, run Disk Utility via Spotlight search or from the Programs → Utilities folder.
  2. Select the desired drive in the sidebar and click the Erase button.
  3. Specify ExFAT as the format, name it, and click Erase.
  4. When the formatting is complete, click Finish.

The drive will now be recognized in both macOS and Windows. In both operating systems, it will be possible to both view and write files without problems.

Howly expert is ready to help you with your Mac OS problem

No comments yet...

What about starting a discussion? Be the first to share your thoughts!

Write a comment

Trusted & Secured

We use cookies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targeted ads, and analyze site traffic.
More info