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How to Copy Files from Mac to NTFS External Hard Drive? [2021 Complete Guide]

Tracy King

Sep 16, 2021 to NTFS for Mac

0 Views 0 min read

On this page, I'll be showing you the complete process of how to configuring NTFS storage devices and make them accessible on a Mac computer. If you are looking for a way to copy files from Mac to an external hard drive or USB in NTFS format, follow the guide below. You'll make the NTFS storage devices work on your Mac computer.

How Do I Copy Files from My Mac to an External Hard Drive in NTFS Format?

Can Mac use the NTFS external hard drive? I wanted to copy some important files from Mac to my external hard drive as a backup but just couldn't. Is there a way that can configure Mac to work with Windows NT File System? Yes! 

The reason why you can't transfer files between a Mac computer and an NTFS external storage device is that the NTFS format is not a compatible file system in macOS. Apple macOS doesn't have the right to write to an NTFS device. 

And that explains why that you can only view and see the content in your external hard drive but can't make any changes to the content, such as editing, modifying, correcting, removing, or deleting. 

So how to make it possible to copy files from Mac to an external hard drive? Follow the complete guides below, you'll acquire the access to copy or transfer files between Mac and the NTFS external hard drive successfully. 

Guide 1. Enable NTFS Write Support to External Hard Drive on Mac

To configure Mac working with NTFS-formatted storage devices, your first step is to enable NTFS write support on Mac computer. Here we connected 3 practical methods with detailed steps that you can follow a favored method to start:

  1. #1. Format NTFS External Disk to FAT
  2. #2. Enable NTFS Write Support via EaseUS NTFS for Mac - 1-Click Fix
  3. #3. Enable NTFS Write Support via Terminal

Your Quick Guide: 

  • If you have essential files saved in the external hard drive, or you want to copy files from Mac to an external hard drive without formatting, try Method 2 or Method 3.
  • For the easiest way to configure Mac working with NTFS-formatted devices, follow Method 2 and take third-party & 1-click fix for a try.

Let's get started.

Method 1. Format NTFS External Hard Drive to FAT

Tool: Mac Disk Utility

Duration: 2-5 minutes

Apple Mac operating systems are designed to support HPFS, APFS, HFS+, HFS, and FAT32, etc., file systems. As for the NTFS format, macOS only supports reading content in the device. To obtain access to modify, correct, add, or remove data from the NTFS external hard drive on Mac, you can format the device to the FAT file system.

Note that this will result in data loss. So make sure that you back up essential files in advance. 

Here are the steps to format NTFS external hard drive to FAT on Mac:

Step 1. Connect the NTFS external hard drive to Mac.

Step 2. Go to Finder, click "Applications" > "Utilities" > Double-click to open Disk Utility.

Open Disk Utility

Step 3. Select the NTFS external hard drive and click "Erase" in Disk Utility.

Select to format ntfs external hard drive

Step 4. Select "MS-DOS (FAT)" as the new file system format for the external hard drive, then click "Erase". 

Set FAT as new file system for external hard drive on Mac

Method 2. 1-Click to Enable NTFS Write Support via EaseUS NTFS for Mac

Tool: EaseUS NTFS for Mac 

Duration: Within 1 Minute

Is there a way that can configure NTFS external hard drive access on Mac without formatting? Sure! Third-party software like EaseUS NTFS for Mac can enable NTFS write support on Mac so to make your NTFS external hard drive writable automatically.

With it, you can manually or automatically enable accessibility on Mac to read, write, modify, copy, transfer, and even delete files on an NTFS external hard drive. How to use it?

Here are the steps:

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", click "Open". NTFS for Mac will open the NTFS drive on Mac.

Make changes to saved files on NTFS drive

Step 4. Now, you can check, read, write, and even modify saved data on the NTFS device.

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

As long as you enabled the NTFS write support to your external EaseUS NTFS for Mac will detect the NTFS external hard drive and automatically enable it on Mac.

After this, you can open the NTFS external hard drive on a Mac computer and make changes to the saved data flexibly.

Method 3. Enable NTFS Write Support via Terminal

Tool: Mac Command Tool - Terminal

Duration: 2-3 minutes

The last way that you can try is to turn to the Mac built-in command tool -Terminal for help. It requires that you need to be familiar with Mac computer operations and be very careful. Any false operation may cause serious results.

Let's see how to make your NTFS external hard drive writeable on Mac computers:

Step 1. Go to Finder > Click "Applicatinos" > "Utilites" > Double-click to open "Terminal".

Open terminal

Step 2. Connect the NTFS external hard drive to your Mac computer.

Connect an external hard drive to Mac computer

Step 3. Type sudo nano /etc/fstab in Terminal and press Return.

Enter teminal command

Step 4. Type LABEL=NAME none ntfs rw, auto, nobrowse in Terminal and replace NAME with the name of your NTFS external hard drive.

enable NTFS write support to external hard drive

Step 5. Press Control + O to save the changes.

Step 6. Press Control + X to close Terminal.

Step 7. Go to Finder, click "Go" > "Go to Folder" > Type "/Volumes" and click "Go".

Open NTFS volume

After this, Mac will list your external hard drive with the internal hard drives on Mac in the Volumes pane. And you can then follow the guide in the next part to copy files from Mac to an external hard drive successfully.

Guide 2. Transfer or Copy Files from Mac to External Hard Drive

Step 1. Open the external hard drive.

Step 2. Open the internal disk or folder, where you saved essential files for copying or transferring.

Open volume or folder on Mac

Step 3. Drag the files from a Mac local volume or folder and drop the data into the external hard drive.

Repeat the operation until you copied all the desired files from Mac to the external hard drive.

Copy files from Mac to external hard drive ntfs

NTFS External Disks Need Write Support for File Transferring on Mac, Go and Make It Work Now

Note that when you directly connect an external hard drive to a Mac computer, you'll be presented with Read-Only limits on the disk. As a result, you can only view files and file content on the external hard drive on Mac.

To obtain access to editing, modifying, copying, transferring, or even deleting files or file content on the NTFS external hard drive, you need to first enable NTFS write support on Mac. To do so, you have three options here for help:

  1. 1. Format external disk to FAT
  2. 2. Use EaseUS NTFS for Mac
  3. 3. Use Terminal

For the easiest solution, don't miss EaseUS NTFS for Mac as it'll automatically enable the drive modification authority to your Mac computer once the NTFS external hard drive is detected by this software. To make use of the NTFS external hard drive between your Windows and Mac computer, follow the solutions on this page to make it work now.