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How to Change Hard Drive from Read Only on Mac [100% Working]

Is the hard drive on your Mac not allowing you to save or edit any files? It is likely that the hard drive only has read-only permission or an incompatible file system. In this article, learn how to change the hard drive from a read-only Mac.


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Updated by Tracy King on Jan 04, 2024
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Hard drives are the cheapest way to save your data, and it doesn’t help if your hard drive refuses to allow you to save or edit files. While it indicates that the hard drive is set to read-only, why that happened can be hard to determine. Most importantly, you need to look for how to change the hard drive from a read-only Mac to resolve this issue.

Change hard drive from read only on Mac

How Do I Change Hard Drive from Read Only on Mac

This article will provide the three easiest methods to remove the read-only status of your hard drive on a Mac. It will also discuss the reasons behind this issue and how you can avoid it in the future.

Workable Solutions Aims To Duration

#1. Add NTFS Driver

Make read-only NTFS hard drives readable and writable with third-party NTFS for Mac software.  2-4 minutes
#2. Change Permission Get full permission to read-only hard drive on Mac. 3-5 minutes
#3. Run First Aid Fix problematic disk drive with read-only issue. 4-5 minutes

There are multiple solutions to remove the read-only permission from the hard drive on Mac. These solutions depend on the underlying causes, ranging from changing the file system to running disk utility tools. Below are the three most common answers to how to change a hard drive from a read-only Mac:

Method 1. Add NTFS Driver to Hard Drive Using NTFS Driver Software

As mentioned, Mac does not provide write support for NTFS and only limits it to read-only. So, if the hard drive you are using is formatted with NTFS, you will need to change it to a compatible file system. However, doing so can result in data loss due to the need to format the device. Thus, the best option is to use EaseUS NTFS For Mac.

It is an excellent lightweight tool that allows you to easily mount and unmount NTFS drives on Mac with full permissions. With this tool, you are no longer forced to format your hard drive and can perform all the required operations. Moreover, it is also fully compatible latest Mac devices like M1 and M2, with complete support for macOS 13.

Steps to Change Hard Drive from Read-Only Mac Using NTFS Driver Software

The process to use EaseUS NTFS For Mac to access your NTFS hard drive is very easy and quick. Here is how to change the hard drive from read-only Mac using this tool:

Step 1. Launch and activate EaseUS NTFS for Mac. Click "I already have a license" to unlock this software.

Activate EaseUS NTFS for Mac

Step 2. Connect an NTFS drive to Mac, EaseUS NTFS for Mac will automatically detect the device. Select your drive and you'll see it's now marked as 'Read-only". Click "Enable Writable" to add read and write rights to the drive.

enable writable write to NTFS drive

Step 3. When the state of NTFS drives turns into "Writable".

Make changes to saved files on NTFS drive

Step 4. EaseUS NTFS for Mac will pops up a window to help Mac get access to the NTFS drive:

  1. 1. Select "Full Disk Access", click the Lock icon and enter admin password to unlock it.
  2. 2. Select the two icons of NTFS for Mac.
  3. 3. Drag them to the "Full Disk Access" list.
  4. 4. Click " Quit & Restore" to re-launch EaseUS NTFS for Mac.
Gain NTFS access

Step 5. When EaseUS NTFS for Mac restarts, you can then open to check, read, write, and even modify saved data on the NTFS device.

Read,write, open, and modify files on NTFS drives

Method 2. Change Permission on Hard Drive Mac

If the reason behind the read-only drive is not the file system, then the permissions are likely creating problems. You will need to check the drive permissions and change them if they are set to read-only. On Mac, you can change the permission using either Disk Info or the Terminal. Follow these steps to learn how to change the hard drive from read-only Mac by changing permissions:

1. Get Info

Step 1: Navigate to "Disk Utility" in "Launchpad" on your Mac and select your hard disk. If it isn't showing, click "View" and choose "Show All Devices." After selecting the hard drive, click "File" and choose "Get Info."

Show all devices

Step 2: In the "Get Info" window, scroll to the bottom and tap "Sharing & Permissions." Here you can change the permission to "Read & Write" if it is "Read Only."

get permission

2. Use Terminal

Step 1: Find and launch the "Terminal" from the "Launchpad" of your Mac. Once it is launched, run the "sudo nano etc/fstab" command.

Enable NTFS

Step 2: Afterward, run the "LABEL=X none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse" command by replacing "X" with your drive name. Afterward, use "Ctrl + O" to save the file, then "Ctrl + X" to quit Nano. Now remount your drive to use it.

remove read only permission

Method 3. Run First Aid and Format Hard Drive

Is your hard drive still showing read-only status? In this case, some internal issues with your hard drive are the likely cause. Depending on its severity, two solutions are available to you. If it is a simple bug, Mac's First Aid tool can fix it. Otherwise, you will need to format the hard drive to restore write access. Use these steps to run First Aid and format the hard drive:

Step 1: On your Mac, click "Launchpad" from the "Dock" and navigate to "Disk Utility." In the "Disk Utility" tab, tap "View" from the top bar and select "Show All Devices."

Step 2: Select your drive and hit "First Aid" from the top bar. Now, press "Run" on the pop-up window and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

Run first Aid

Step 3: If the issue isn't resolved by running "First Aid," you will need to format the hard drive. After selecting the drive, select the "Erase" option from the top toolbar and use the on-screen instruction to format your drive with "APFS" as your format and "GUID Partition Map" as the scheme.

Overview of Hard Drive Read Only on Mac

What a read-only hard drive means and how it happens must be discussed first before diving into how to change a hard drive from a read-only Mac. If your hard drive is set to read-only, you can only view the files on it. You cannot copy, save, move, or edit files on the hard disk. The reasons behind it are many, and a few of these are described below:

  • Incompatible File System: Since Windows is the most used platform worldwide, most hard drives are formatted to be used there by default. It means most hard drives are formatted with NTFS, which Mac does not support. On Mac, NTFS only has read-only permissions.
  • Insufficient Permission: It is another common issue where the drive you are trying to use has read-only permissions. As long as the permissions are set to read-only, you won't be able to edit or save any files on the hard drive.
  • Malware Attack: There is a chance that your Mac was attacked by malware, which resulted in the hard drive becoming read-only. It can happen if the virus attacks the file system or other internal settings and damages them.
  • Damaged File System: If the file system of your hard drive gets corrupted or damaged for some reason, it can also lead to a read-only drive issue. If the file system is damaged, the hard drive is mounted as read-only to avoid further damage to the data inside.
  • Full Drive: A full or near full drive can also become read-only if you try to move data to it beyond its capacity. It can also cause file system issues, which can turn the hard drive to read-only mode.

Tips to Keep Hard Drive from Read Only Error Mac

After resolving the read-only issue on your hard drive, you need to ensure it doesn't happen again. If none of the solutions can fix your drive, you will be forced to format it. To ensure it doesn't happen, you should use the following tips to avoid read-only issues on your hard drive:

  • Compatible File System: You should use a hard drive with a compatible Mac file system. The NTFS file system isn’t compatible, so you should format your drive with APFS or exFAT before using it.
  • EaseUS NTFS For Mac: If you need to use the hard drive for both Windows and Mac, you should use an NTFS driver software like EaseUS NTFS For Mac. It provides the safest way to access data from an NTFS drive without disturbing the drive structure.
  • Antivirus Software: Power antivirus software should be installed on your system to protect against malware attacks. The antivirus also needs to be regularly updated to ensure you are always protected against the latest threats.
  • Manage Hard Drive Carefully: Your hard drive needs to be managed carefully. You should keep it safe from physical damage and extreme environment. Moreover, you also need to ensure it never gets full to avoid issues with the hard drive. 


To wrap things up, issues like read-only mode can occur on hard drives for many reasons. However, the issue is easily solvable, as demonstrated by this article. The article also explained the causes and provided tips to avoid this issue. As for answering the best way to tackle how to change a hard drive from read-only Mac question, EaseUS NTFS For Mac is the recommended choice.

FAQs About Changing Hard Driver from Read Only on Mac

Got more questions about how to change the hard drive from a read-only Mac? If yes, then this part will help you as we have answered some of the FAQs from the internet regarding this issue below:

1. Why is my hard drive read-only on Mac?

The most probable reason for your hard drive being on read-only mode is the incompatible file system. In most cases, hard drives have an NTFS file system which is incompatible with Mac. You will need to change the file system or use a tool like EaseUS NTFS For Mac. Other reasons include permission settings, malware, and physical damage.

2. Why can't I change permission on an external hard drive on Mac?

You cannot change permissions for the external hard drive on Mac for many reasons. The most common is that you lack the administrative privileges to do so. Another reason could be the file system of the external hard drive, as some, like FAT32, don't support permissions. It can also happen if the permission settings of the hard drive are corrupted.

3. How to change Seagate from read-only on Mac without formatting?

Use these steps to change Seagate from read-only on Mac without formatting.

Step 1: Open the "Finder" and locate your external Seagate hard drive. Now right-click the Seagate drive and select "Get Info."

Step 2: Here, find and choose "Sharing & Permissions" to open permission settings. Now change the permission to "Read & Write" in front of your username from "Read-Only."