When you plug your removable NTFS drives into a Mac, they look good until you need Mac to write to NTFS drives. You notice that you can read the files on the drive, but you can't edit them. Nothing happens when you want to save files onto it.
Before you convert NTFS to APFS to make the drive compatible with the Mac running macOS 10.15, read this post first. This post will tell you why your Mac cannot write to NTFS drives and teach you how to enable NTFS writing on macOS Catalina and earlier.
- Table of contents
- 1. Can I use Windows NTFS drives on macOS 10.15?
- 2. How to make Mac write to NTFS drives in macOS 10.15 Catalina?
- 3. Conclusion
You must encounter one of the most common problems in file transfer between Windows and macOS using a removable drive: the Winodws NT File System is not fully compatible with macOS.
macOS 10.15 (Catalina) was released on October, 2019. You could encountered some problems after you updated to macOS Catalina. Except for losing files after macOS upgrade, allowing Mac write to NTFS drives is another problem you should consider in macOS Catalina.
Can I use Windows NTFS drives on macOS 10.15?
Yes. You can use NTFS drives on macOS Catalina but only with read permission. Mac can read NTFS-formatted drives but can't write to them.
To understand the cross-platform incompatibility issue between an NTFS drive and a Mac computer, you should know about file systems.
A file system is a way of organizing and storing files on drives including internal hard drives, external hard drives, USB flash drives, and memory cards. It decides what information is attached to a specific file, like filename, file size, etc. There are a few file systems out there a drive can be formatted into, such as FAT, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, APFS, etc.
Windows NTFS (New Technology File System) is the default file system used in Microsoft's Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP, Windows 2000 and Windows NT operating systems. USB flash drives, external hard drives, SD memory cards can be formatted into NTFS too. How to Read and write NTFS external hard drives on a Mac is the one of the most asked questions.
The Mac operating system recognizes the NTFS file system and files in it but doesn't have the ability to write to it.
Even equipped with many new features, the NTFS write support that Mac users have wanted for a couple of years still is not available in macOS 10.15. It is kind of disappointing that Apple still doesn't make NTFS compatible with macOS 10. 15 again.
Interestingly, Windows doesn't support APFS (the default file system after macOS High Sierra and later) either. You can't read and write to an APFS drive on Windows.
We don't know why Apple and Microsoft haven't held the hands yet to make NTFS drives or APFS drives compatible with both Windows and macOS. The priority for users in this post is to know how to use the NTFS drives on macOS 10.15 and earlier.
Is there a way that you can use NTFS drives on Apple computers?
How to make Mac write to NTFS drives in macOS 10.15?
The files in an NTFS drive will appear read-only or locked on a Mac. In order to bridge this gap, three solutions will be introduced below:
Solution 1: Use third-party NTFS for Mac software
Third-party NTFS for Mac software is a great option to enable NTFS write support on macOS. You don't have to mess up your NTFS drives in case you want to use an NTFS drive on Windows.
iBoysoft NTFS for Mac can mount NTFS drives in read-write mode automatically like NTFS write support exists natively in the Mac operating system. With this utility, users for Mac computers won't have any problems with transferring files between Macs and PCs using an NTFS drive. iBoysoft NTFS for Mac enables users to edit, delete, copy and move files on NTFS drives on a Mac easily without reformatting your NTFS drives into another file system. Making NTFS drive writable on a Mac mini/MacBook Pro/MacBook Air/iMac will be a piece of cake with it.
Best NTFS for Mac - iBoysoft NTFS for Mac
- Read and write NTFS volumes on Mac
- Mount and unmount NTFS volumes
- Repair NTFS file system errors
- Erase data on NTFS disks
- List and open all attached external drives
- Reformat disks to NTFS on Mac
- Support macOS 10.15/10.14/10.13/10.12 and OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8
Here is how to write to an NTFS drive with iBoysoft NTFS for Mac:
Step 1: Download, install and launch iBoysoft NTFS for Mac.
Step 2: Connect an NTFS drive to Mac.
Step 3: After the NTFS drive has been successfully mounted, you can open it and write to the NTFS drive as you normally do on a Windows computer.
Solution 2: Reformat NTFS drive to exFAT/FAT32
In order to be allowed to have full read-write access to your NTFS drive on Mac, you have to reformat the NTFS drive into another file system that is compatible with macOS. APFS and exFAT are most recommended.
Warning: Before you reformat your NTFS drive, do remember to back up your files in the NTFS drive first to avoid data loss. If you forgot to back up but have formatted the drive already, you may want to recover your important files from this formatted drive with iBoysoft Mac data Recovery.
Follow the guide to reformat the NTFS drive on Mac:
- Step 1: Go to Applications >Utilities >Disk Utility.
- Step 2: Select the NTFS drive from the sidebar.
- Step 3: Click Erase.
- Step 4: Type in Name and choose a format for your NTFS drive.
- Step 5: Click the Erase.
Tips: If you want your NTFS drive to be compatible with both macOS and Windows, you can format it into FAT/exFAT. If you use the NTFS drive only on Mac, you can choose to format it into APFS/ APFS (Encrypted)/APFS (Case-sensitive)/ APFS (Case-sensitive, Encrypted).
Solution 3: Enable Apple NTFS-Writing support using Terminal (not recommended)
Technically speaking, Apple actually can allow you to write to an NTFS drive, but it is just an experimental feature and is disabled by default. It probably will corrupt your disk and cause permanent data loss because this tool is very unstable.
You can enable Apple's Experimental NTFS-Writing Support by following these steps:
Step 1: Go to Finder >Applications >Utilities >Terminal.
Step 2: Type 'sudo nano /etc/fstab' into the Terminal to open the /etc/fstab file for editing nano text editor.
Step 3: Enter the following command line, which will enable the NTFS to write support.
Be sure to substitute NAME with your disk name without any space.
Step 4: Press Ctrl + O to save the file after you are done and then press Ctrl + X to close nano.
Tips: If you have multiple NTFS drives you want to write to, add a different line for each.
Step 5: Connect the NTFS drives into a Mac. If they are connected, re-plug them into the Mac.
Step 6: The NTFS drives won't pop up automatically like drives normally do. You have to find the NTFS drives in Finder.
Note: If you want to undo the change, follow step 1 and step 2. Then delete the line 'LABEL=NAME none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse' and save your change.
Once again, Apple NTFS write support is least tested and full of risks. Don't do it unless you have to.
It is really a pain on the neck if you want to transfer files between an NTFS drive and a Mac often but you can't. It is also frustrating that you can't write to your newly-bought drives because you were not aware that they were formatted into NTFS.
This post pulls you out of the frustration about how to write to an NTFS drive with or without a third-party utility on a Mac. Most importantly, users can expect Mac to write to NTFS drives with the assistance of iBoysoft NTFS for Mac even in macOS 10.15 (Catalina).
- Allows Mac to Windows communication
- Essential for writing files on NTFS drives
- Decent write speeds
- Additional features previously accessible through Disk Utility only
- Easy-to-understand user interface
- Unusual NTFS driver enable/disable feature
- Paid major updates
If you’ve ever tried to open a Windows file on a Mac – or vice versa – then you’ll already know the frustratingly impossible task that this is, especially if you’re using the drive format NTFS or New Technologies File System. Founded by a group of MIPT students in 1994, Germany-based software company Paragon Software Group develops hard drive management tools such as partition managers, boot managers, backup software and system duplication software alongside a driver for Mac that bridges the gap between Mac and Windows devices. Paragon NTFS for Mac promises read/write access to any version of Windows NTFS drives in your macOS for as low as $14.99 if you purchase the five-license pack. But before taking out your credit card, there’s up to 15 days for you to decide whether this is a worthy investment thanks to the available free trial. Or, if you jump on the deal and buy a license, your purchase will be protected by Paragon Software Group’s 30-day money back guarantee.
Full Interoperability Between a Mac and a Windows PC
Apple and Microsoft developed operating systems using different languages for writing files onto drives. Apple uses HFS+, also referred to as Mac OS Extended or HFS Extended. During WWDC 2017, however, Apple announced that with macOS High Sierra, the default file system for Macs is changing to the new Apple File System (APFS), a file system optimized for flash and solid-state drives. Since the introduction of Windows NT 3.1, Microsoft has used NTFS.
The problem is macOS lacks native support for NTFS: you can read data from drives formatted with the Windows NT file system, but cannot write to it. Just remember that moment when your friend brought their external drive to copy over the movies you promised, and you didn’t understand why you couldn’t drag and drop the file onto it.
Paragon NTFS for Mac Menu Bar
NTFS External Hard Drive Mounted
Paragon NTFS for Mac Release License Prompt 2
Paragon NTFS for Mac solves this problem. Just like its competitor, Finland-based software developer Tuxera, Paragon installs a low-level file system driver based on Paragon UFSD (Universal File System Driver) technology, which was specially developed to bridge incompatibility between Windows and macOS by providing full read/write access to any version of the NTFS file system (Windows NT 4.0, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 7, 8 and 10).
Successful installation will prompt a restart, and then the Paragon effect takes place: it displays a simple and easy-to-understand application window, which can be laupanched through the Preferences pane, from the Applications folder or by typing “Paragon NTFS” into Spotlight. To continue using the software, you’ll need to either activate it by logging in to the MyParagon Customer Portal or via Facebook.
Double-clicking on the icon opens up the app management interface, where you’ll see the physical and virtual volumes attached to your Mac, including mounted DMG images. The application window has two sections: volumes and operations. The latter is where you’ll find options such as mount/unmount, verify, erase and startup. Mounting and unmounting is available for any volume or image except the macOS system drive currently in use.
Free dj apps for mac. It’s not a deal-breaker whatsoever, especially if you are just starting out, but you should definitely keep these limitations in mind.
Just like the macOS native app, Disk Utility, Paragon NTFS for Mac has a verify option, enabling users to verify and fix errors on supported file systems. Since the repair requires unmounting the drive, as is the case with a startup drive, be sure to avoid using it with that disk. If you notice any issues with the startup drive, you should use Disk Utility to fix it in Recovery mode.
The “Erase” option allows users to reformat the attached volume into file systems supported by macOS, while clicking on the startup option will let you select a system startup volume.
Mounting NTFS Drive in Read-Only Mode
NTFS External Hard Drive Mounted
The “Ignore Ownership” (for NTFS drives) option is disabled by default to allow anyone to access data on mounted NTFS volumes, but you can select it to restrict access to a specific user or group.
Since a writing action occurs even when you read a file by default on NTFS files systems, the feature called “Last Access Time” will keep a record of the last time a folder was opened, read or changed. To keep this default feature enabled, tick “Save Last Access Time” on the mounted NTFS volume.
There are additional features that should come handy, too, such as “Dirty volumes processing”. We talk about a dirty NTFS volume if the system suffered a power interruption, an aborted restart or forced shutdown. Paragon NTFS for Mac will check and repair dirty NTFS volumes before mounting them. Of course, the feature can be disabled, but this isn’t recommended.
Enabling NTFS Write Mode
Alongside the “Uninstall” option, Paragon NTFS for Mac will give you quick access to enable or disable the installed driver. However, you need to click on the lock – which will prompt you for an administrator password – to toggle it on or off, though admittedly the situations where you would want to disable it are very limited since you can mount the NTFS drive as “read only” if needed.
There is an unusual feature due to the level of control that Paragon Software has. During our testing we noticed that if an NTFS drive was mounted while the driver was enabled, disabling the drive didn’t prevent writing to it. This is despite the fact that disabling the driver should prevent the user from writing files to any NTFS volume.
You will need to unmount the NTFS disk and then remount it for the setting to take effect. In our testing we were unable to write to the external NTFS drive after doing so, and the same goes for the other way round, too. If you mount an NTFS drive with Paragon NTFS for Mac disabled, the drive will become a read-only volume, and you will need to remount it again after enabling the driver.
This ‘feature’ aims to act as an emergency exit for worst-case scenarios, such as having an opened file with changes while the driver is disabled for some reason. This is possible due to the limited access permission to the data that Paragon has on volumes. To enable write mode on an NTFS disk, Paragon provides a low-level API for a Virtual File System. VFS is the link between the macOS kernel and a concrete file system. Since all original access permissions belong to macOS, even disabling the Paragon NTFS for Mac driver leaves writing to an NTFS formatted volume possible.
Paragon NTFS for Mac Speed Test
As advertised, the driver gives users read/write access to any version of Windows NTFS drives in your macOS, but the write speed still compares with the native macOS file system. Along with the built-in SSD of the MacBook Pro (late 2016), we used two external drives to put the Paragon NTFS for Mac to the test: an 8GB Kingston flash drive and a 1TB Seagate Backup Plus 5400 rpm drive.
In our testing we used two methods: copying a 4.11GB MKV file from Mac to NTFS, and the free Blackmagic Disk Speed Test software. We used a late-2008 iMac equipped with SSD to test the software.
NTFS Pen Drive Speed Test
Tuxera Driver: NTFS Flash Drive Speed Test
iMac's Native Read/Write Speed Test
Paragon NTFS for Mac Read/Write Speed Test MacBook Pro (late 2016)
We were able to copy the movie file on the Kingston drive in 9 minutes and 13 seconds, while the same files took 2 minutes and 27 seconds to copy onto the Seagate drive.
In the Blackmagic Disk Speed test, Paragon NTFS for Mac enabled 9.1MB/s write and 35.2MB/s read speeds on the Kingston pen drive. The Seagate drive showed different speeds: 28.2 MB/s write and 36.5MB/s read speeds. Testing the native read/write speeds of the iMac with the same software gave the following results: 89.5MB/s write and 266.4MB/s read speeds, and this changed to 1321.3MB/s write and 2272.9MB/s read speeds on our MacBook Pro (late 2016). Both the read and writing speeds of the NTFS formatted volume of the MacBook Pro matched that of the native HFS+ of the MacBook Pro’s internal SSD (PCI-E): 1318.2MB/s write and 2397.0MB/s read.
But there’s also an Easter egg that hardcore Mac fans will love: while it is copying a file to the NTFS drive, Finder displays January 24 1984 10:00 as “Date modified”. That was the date Apple co-founder Steve Jobs took to the stage to show off the very first Macintosh in a live demonstration.
Paragon NTFS for Mac retails for a flat fee per license per software version. This includes free updates for registered users and free online support for the lifetime of the version. Enabling write access to an NTFS drive will cost you $19.95 for a single Mac license. Buy five, and you’ll get the best value price: only $14.99 per license.
But you don’t have to show the money until you are 100% convinced that this is what you need. Paragon Software offers a 10-day trial (which can be expanded by up to a further five days by sharing the software link with your Facebook friends). Combine this with the 30-day money back guarantee and you have plenty of time to make a final decision.
Mac Software For Ntfs Writing Computer
- All features
- For 1 Mac Only
- 30-day money back guarantee
- All features
- For 3 Macs
- 30-day money back guarantee
- All features
- For 5 Macs
- 30-day money back guarantee
Also, if you already own a previous version of Paragon NTFS for Mac, there are a few upgrade options available:
Mac Software For Ntfs Writing Software
- Owners of a commercial license of Paragon NTFS for Mac (not a free upgrade license) receive a Free upgrade to the next version of NTFS for Mac.
- Owners of a Free Upgrade license of Paragon NTFS for Mac receive 50% discount on the license price.
- If you own a version that’s two versions older than the current one, you’ll get 30% off on the license price when upgrading.
- User-friendly client
- Deep, effective cleaning options
- Versatile, user-oriented customer support
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Full review…
- Personalized, remote assistance
- Unique optimization tools
- Anti-theft tracking
- Built-in antivirus
- Full review…
- Fast scanning
- User-friendly UI
- Virus and malware scan
- Great cleaning features
- Full review…
Paragon Software accepts credit card payments from all of the major payment networks, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and JCB, as well as PayPal and wire transfer.
If you have any questions related to activation, the software’s features, or you just want to submit your feedback, then there are a few options available: in-app contact, a support forum and a knowledge base. Paragon Software recommends creating a MyParagon account to register the product and receive support via the forum. For activation-related issues, you can contact customer support by clicking in the top-left of the app and selecting “Contact Support”. As you hit the “Send Feedback” button, the backend system will create a ticket for your issue, which you can view online in your MyParagon account. Just don’t expect a speedy response.
Customer Support Requests Listed in MyParagon Account
Also, you can always turn to the support forums with your question, or read the knowledge base for frequently asked questions. Paragon also offers remote support: using TeamViewer a support engineer will connect to your computer to fix the problem manually or to collect data.
Is Paragon NTFS for Mac worth the price? Definitely. Anyone using Boot Camp or dual boot on their Mac (macOS and Windows) will find this software useful. Also, for those dealing with NTFS-formatted volumes frequently, this driver is a worthy purchase since it allows communication between the two platforms. While the slow write speed would benefit from being improved by Paragon Software, it is something that can be lived with, especially when considering that the competing Tuxera software offers no better writing speeds. Without this type of software you cannot write on an NTFS volume on Mac, meaning it will be almost necessary in these situations. And if Paragon deals with the enable/disable NTFS driver bug, it will be reliable software for regular daily use.
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