The Free But Complex Method: NTFS-3G

There are three possible reasons. Right-click your hard disk and select 'Get Info'. If you find your external hard drive is NTFS format, that's what the cause is. The incompatibility of the file system is the main cause of the error-external hard drive 'Read Only' on Mac. NTFS is a file system that is optimal for Windows-based computer. Although the Mac operating system allows you to read the files on external hard drive, you can't write files to it because the way that NTFS writes data to the device is incompatible with the way of macOS doing it.

Go to the Fix.

External Drive NTFS Read Only on High Sie… - Apple Community

An external hard drive is subject to the access permission set up by OS X for all files and folders on the system. When you use the device on another computer with a different OS, the permission settings with it may not be recognized or prevent access to the files on the hard disk. Another common cause for the external hard drive 'Read Only' problem on Mac is the formatting errors of the storage device itself. If you see a warning says the device is only being mounted in read-only mode while connecting, your hard disk is diagnosed to have formatting errors that prevent you from writing files to it.

Identify the cause that leads to the 'Read Only' error on your Mac from the information above, then follow the corresponding solution to solve the problem with ease. If your external hard drive is read-only on your Mac due to its NTFS file system, you can easily fix it by reformatting the device to a Mac-compatible format with the built-in Disk Utility on Mac. Before that, remember to back up your external hard drive quickly with a highly-efficient data backup software since the formatting will erase all the files on the device.

Step 2: In the list of available drives on the left, choose the problematic external hard drive.

Fix External Hard Drive 'Read Only' Error on Mac Without Losing Data

Then click the 'Erase' option in the main window. Step 3: Choose a proper file system and rename your hard disk. Wait for the reformatting process to complete and then go to the information window, this time you will see the 'You can only read' has changed to 'You can read and write', which means you can read and write the drive on your Mac normally. Generally speaking, when a storage device shows up as read-only, you can still copy files off of it.

If you cannot view or see all saved data on the drive, don't worry. Step 1.

Easy Way to Enable NTFS Write On Mac OS X Yosemite

Click the Scan button. This app checks the drives in the Mac and repairs any issues it may pick up during this checkup. Formatting drives are also easy with this app.

Case 1: The read-only external hard drive is NTFS formatted

Even if you are running the macOS Mojave on a computer natively run by another operating system, you can still use the Paragon to get NTFS drive full access. It is true that macOS run computers cannot write to NTFS files by default, but this function can be switched on in the terminal. This is the hardest method, and at the end of the process success is not always guaranteed.

Follow the steps below:. Step 1: On your Windows device, label the disk with a one-word name of your preference. On the right side of the Taskbar, click on the "Safely Remove Hardware" feature and right-click to select "Eject". This opens the Terminal. This saves the file. The macOS This method is very simple and can be done on any macOS run device. When done the drive can be read and written to on Mac and Windows without any problems. Follow the prompts given, and the process will be over in a few minutes.


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The main disadvantage of using this method is that you will lose all the data in the drive, so it is advisable to backup all contents before trying this method. There are many reasons why you may want to gain access to an NTFS drive.

How to Write to an NTFS Drive in macOS

Whether it is because you need to share files with a friend who uses Windows or you have a new Mac and need to transfer your old files in your Windows PC, having full access is necessary. It is not enough to have read access. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, using Terminal is free, but it is a technical process that may not always work. On the other hand, converting the drive format to exFAT is simple, but you will lose all the data, and in case you forget to backup first, it will be gone forever.

Also, the number of supported characters and files is not the same as in NTFS. While most external storage media's default formatting and other setups should make them both readable and writable on most Mac systems, there may be times when this is not the case.

Enable Mac OS X NTFS Write Support Using Drive UUID

Often commercially available drives will be formatted to FAT32 and therefore be fully compatible with both Windows and OS X; however, many popular drives especially high-capacity ones may be formatted to NTFS by default. Unfortunately even though there are third-party drivers and workarounds to allow OS X to write to NTFS drives, these features are not supported by default, so such drives will only be mounted read-only.

To check if a drive is NTFS-formatted, open Disk Utility and select it from the sidebar, and you should see its format listed among other details at the bottom of the Disk Utility window. Permissions not ignored Being a multiuser operating system, OS X sets up access permissions for all files and folders on the system, including external drives, which are merely accessed as a folder once attached and mounted.

Since permissions are set up through account UUID and UID numbers, if the drive is used with different systems, it may have permissions associated with it for accounts that your current system does not recognize, or even odd permissions settings that can prevent access to the files on the disk or to the disk itself. This may happen even though getting information on files and folders shows you ought to have full access to the drive.

To prevent such errors from happening, OS X includes a setting to ignore permissions on external drives, so all files on the drive should be fully accessible regardless of their permissions settings. To set this option for external drives, select the drive on your desktop or in the Finder sidebar, and then press Command-I to get information on the drive.

In the information window that pops up, go to the Sharing section and click the lock to authenticate. Then check the box to "ignore ownership on this volume," or toggle it off and then on if it's already enabled. If this setting is enabled and you still do not have access, you can try removing the system's volume information database, which holds this setting for external drives on the system.


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  • The Paid But Easy Method: Paragon NTFS for Mac.