How To Have Read-Write Access To NTFS Drives On Mac?

If you own an NTFS hard drive and it’s able to function well on the Windows operating system. Unfortunately, when you insert it on a Mac computer, you find it unable to write to the drive. It either shows locked beside the filename, or it shows read-only when you open the document. How can you both read and write to the drive? This post will help you find solutions to solve the read-only problem.

Why Can’t You Write To An NTFS Drive On Mac?

A file system takes charge of how data is stored and retrieved on your disk. Different companies have released versions of file systems. Up to now, NTFS is the default file system for Windows family while Mac uses HFS+ and APFS for OS volume. These file systems differ in structure and logic, properties of speed, flexibility, security, size, etc.

Why can’t you write to NTFS drives on Mac? The reason is, Mac operating systems, such as macOS Catalina/Mojave/High Sierra and Mac OS X El Capitan, only offer NTFS read support but deny the write support. The Mac operating system is unable to write to NTFS drives, including create, edit, delete, convert, or transfer files.

This cross-platform incompatibility surely makes your work inconvenient. So, what should you do to get rid of the trouble?

Solutions To Solve The Read-Only Issue

1. Format The External HD To exFAT/FAT32

This method works perfectly if you just bought a new NTFS hard drive or there’s nothing important on your disk. Because by formatting all the previous data will be erased and the macOS will write a new file system to the disk. Therefore, before formatting, do back up or restore all the data in case of any data loss. After that, you can go to Disk Utility and Erase your hard drive.

When formatting, you can choose which file system to run depending on your specific needs. For example, if you intend to use the disk on both Windows operating system and the macOS, then perhaps exFAT/FAT32 are your best choices. That’s because they can both be read and written on Windows and Mac operating systems. You won’t worry about the cross-platform incompatibility any more.

2. Use NTFS For Mac Software

If you want to leave your files untouched, then formatting may fail to meet your needs. Fortunately, thanks to the high-tech world we live in, there are special-designed software that can help us.

An NTFS driver for Mac can offer you the read-write support without erasing your data. Among all the NTFS for Mac software on the market, you should try the iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to make the NTFS drives writable on Mac with simple, safe, and super-fast operations. It grants you full access to read, write, edit, copy, and delete files on NTFS-formatted drives. At the same time, it’s able to mount, repair, erase your drive with simple clicks.

3. Fix The Read-Only Issue With The Command Line

Let’s speak frankly, it’s a solution that we do not recommend. Because Apple hasn’t officially supported NTFS-writing ability yet and it’s proven to be unstable. What’s worse, it could cause great damage like data loss if anything goes wrong. So, unless you are a pro and insist doing this, we don’t suggest using the command line to fix the NTFS read-only problem.


The NTFS read-only issue is not as complex as you might imagine, right? We mention three solutions from the above, but the best one has to be NTFS for Mac software. With the help of it, you can read and write to NTFS drives on Mac without any problem.

Also Read: How To Unlock An Apple iPhone

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