Working with NTFS in MacOS is a problem in all versions including El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks, Snow Leopard, Leopard, and Lion. In the newest MacOS – Sierra, the problem is still there: You cannot write the data directly toUSB, the Portable hard disk which is formatted in NTFS. Free NTFS for macOS is the main idea of this article. However, before discussing solutions, we need to answer one question:
Why MacOS can’t write to NTFS disk driver?
NTFS is a file system format which is developed by Microsoft. This file system is applied from Microsoft Windows XP and become more and more popular along with the domination of Microsoft Windows. Apple with MacOS is the enemy of Microsoft and MS Windows in the computer market. MacOS, therefore, will not support NTFS as default. Actually, for some reasons, MacOS technically supports NTFS at a low level – in the core of the operating system.
Free NTFS writing in MacOS Sierra
Some free NTFS for macOS solutions are available. If you want to read and write NTFS on macOS without installing additional software, active NTFS support function manually on your Mac is a unique way. If you love freeware, NTFS 3G – open source NTFS for MacOS and Mounty – freeware to mount NTFS in MacOS should be considered. In this post, I will show you how to install and use these utilities in general. You could see more detail of each approach in related posts.
Active NTFS support manually
To use this way, you need to know how to use Terminal (Command Line tool in macOS) and do exactly three following steps:
Step 1: Determining NTFS disk label
Connect USB, the External hard disk that is formatted in NTFS. Typically, your Mac will mount and show it in the list of Devices. Open Finder and look at the left sidebar, you will see the label (name) of connected disk in the Devices list. For example, attached picture show that the label of USB is: USB DISK.
Step 2: Active NTFS writing for selected drive
In this step, we will use the name of the drive in step 1.
Open Terminal Command windows and use this command:
sudo nano /etc/fstab
The system can ask the password to execute this command, enter your account’s password to continue. The command window may have some lines of text or blank. Move the cursor to the end and enter exactly the following command:
LABEL=NAME none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse
With NAME is the label name of the drive which is in step 1. Back to the example NAME=USB\040DISK (\040 is the code of space, you have to use this code for all space in the name of the disk). Therefore, the command line for this example is:
LABEL=USB\040DISK none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse
Check again to make sure you entered right and press Control + O to save Command and Control + X to exit editing mode.
Step 3: Remount and use NTFS disk in macOS
You need to remount disk before using it. To do so, eject the disk, take it off and plug it again. The disk will not display in Devices list in Finder as normal; it is in the Volumes folder instead. To access this folder, from menu Go in Finder window, select “Go to Folder…” item. In the popup box type:
And click “Go” button. Finder will show Volumes folder with the NTFS disk there – ready for reading and writing.
NTFS 3G – Open source NTFS solution for macOS
NTFS-3G is a disk driver that help macOS understand and work with NTFS format. To install it on your Mac, you firstly download and setup two pre-requirement applications: FUSE for macOS and HomeBrew. To do so, follow the guides on the official page of them:
FUSE for macOS: https://osxfuse.github.io/ Version 3.5.5 at the time writing this post
HomeBrew: http://brew.sh/ In short: use the following command in Terminal to install:
/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"
Install NTFS-3G in Sierra
Now you can install NTFS-3G easily by using HomeBrew with only one command line in Terminal. Open Terminal and execute following command:
brew install homebrew/fuse/ntfs-3g
This command take some seconds to download NTFS-3G from Internet and install it to your computer. NTFS-3G is now ready to use.
Using NTFS-3G in Sierra
For the first time using NTFS-3G, you need to create a folder and use it to mount NTFS USB, disk. I recommend that you add NTFS sub-folder to Volumes folder by running this command:
sudo mkdir /Volumes/NTFS
From now, when you connect a NTFS USB or disk to your MAC, simply get the Identifier name of the disk with the command:
and after that, run NTFS-3G by command with Identifier name as one of parameters:
sudo /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g /dev/disk1s1 /Volumes/NTFS -olocal -oallow_other
In this command, you need to change /dev/disk1s1 to your disk’s Identifier name and /Volumes/NTFS to the name of folder that you created before.
Mounty – Easiest and free NTFS for macOS application
If you active NTFS support manually in macOS as already said, you have to do it time by time when connecting NTFS drive to your Mac. Mounty helps you do this task automatically.
- Install Mounty in Sierra
Mounty can be installed easily with one command in Terminal(You need to install HomeBrew first – see how in the content of NTFS-3G):
brew cask install mounty
It take only some seconds to download and install Mounty. After that Mounty will run automatically when you start macOS.
- Using Mounty in Sierra
Every time when a NTFS USB or external Hard drive connects to your Mac, Mounty detect and notify you with an option to mount and open the disk in Finder. Finder will show the disk as normal folder in separate window and it is ready to read and write. However, connected NTFS disk does not appear in Finder’s sidebar like another drives.
These are the most common free ways to use NTFS in macOS. In this post, I always talk about macOS Sierra but all recommended methods could be applied in other versions of macOS including El Capitan, Yosemite, Lion… Any recommendations or problems, could you please share in the comments.
If you need a stable software with more function and ready to pay some money to get it, Paragon NTFS for Mac is a recommendation. Check Paragon Coupons page to get 20% off coupon.
Any recommendations or problems, could you please share in the comments.