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How to Format NTFS Drive to APFS


Feb 16, 2023 | Home > NTFS for Mac

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External drives are a great source to store data and keep it handy while traveling. Today, external drives are formatted into several file formats APFS, NTFS, HFS+, FAT32, and others, based on the user's convenience. 

NTFS and APFS are the two leading file formats for Windows and Mac devices. Both file formats are high-tech and powerful. But still, many external drive users prefer to format NTFS drives to APFS. Why? 

For that, you have to scroll down and understand why formatting NTFS drives to APFS file format is a good idea. 

What is APFS? 

APFS, also known as Apple File System, is a modern file system launched with High Sierra 10.13 in 2017. This file system is designed for Apple devices as a replacement for the years-old HFS file system. 

APFS has all the core features to support Apple gadgets like multiple user keys, single-key, multi-key encryption, etc. One down thing is that APFS works on macOS High Sierra or higher versions only. 

What is NTFS?

NTFS stands for New Technology File System. It is a default Windows file system developed by Microsoft. This file system has several advantages like file compression, data deduplication, and more. 

But unfortunately, Mac can only read NTFS formatted drives, but it can't write to them. Therefore, Mac users refrain from using NTFS file systems unless users have to work with a Windows machine. 

Benefits of Formatting to APFS

APFS file system brings onboard numerous benefits for SSDs, USB flash drives, and other external drive users, such as: 

  • Fast conversion: APFS can copy and duplicate files a lot faster than its predecessors. APFS can copy one megabyte of data in the blink of an eye. 
  • Reliable: Apple has worked for years to create a dedicated file system that barely corrupts. 
  • Efficient partition management: APFS does a splendid job in managing partitions on the external hard drives. 
  • TRIM support: TRIM manages obsolete blocks to perform TRIM operations smoothly. 
  • Diverse encryption support: APFS offers different encryption schemes for each file, such as multi-key and single-key encryption. 
  • SMB support: The Server Message Block Technology makes it easy for Apple users to exchange data across networks. 
  • 64-bit inodes: APFS has the power to support over nine quintillion files on a drive or volume. 

Convert NTFS to APFS in Disk Utility 

Max users can use a built-in utility tool called Disk Utility to perform all disk-related operations like fixing minor file system errors, reformatting a drive, creating a new partition, and so on. 

Using the Disk Utility, Mac users can quickly convert NTFS drives to APFS: 

Step 1. Navigate to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility. 

Step 2. From the left pane, find the NTFS drive name and right-click on it. 

Step 3. Select the "Convert to APFS" from the popup menu. Just wait for a few minutes to complete the conversion process.

convert ntfs to apfs in disk utility

Format NTFS Drives to APFS in Disk Utility 

Another option to convert the NTFS drive to APFS is to format NTFS to APFS. But this method will entirely erase the drive data because a new directory structure is created for the APFS file system. 

Therefore, you should back up the NTFS drive data to a safe location on the Mac or iCloud storage space. Once the backup is done, follow these steps to format NTFS to APFS: 

Step 1. Open Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility. 

Step 2. Select Show All Devices from the upper left side located in the View dropdown menu.

format ntfs drives to apfs

Step 3. Select the NTFS disk and click on the Erase tab in the Media menu.

format ntfs drives to apfs

Step 4. You can provide a name to the disk (optional). 

Step 5. Now, set the Scheme field to GUID Partition Map and Format to APFS. 

Step 6. Click on the Erase button to format the NTFS to APFS. 

Step 7. Once the process is done, the drive will show APFS volume under the name you provided earlier.

format ntfs drives to apfs

How to Enable Mac Writing to NTFS Drive without Formatting

If you don't want to lose data while formatting the NTFS drive to APFS, there's another option available - EaseUS NTFS for Mac. This utility tool will allow Mac users to access NTFS drives in full read-write support, so there's no need to format. 

The software will help users efficiently work with NTFS formatted external disk on Mac. It allows you to read, write, copy, transfer and delete NTFS files on Mac without data loss.

Main Features of EaseUS NTFS for Mac

  • It can seamlessly mount and unmount NTFS drives from Mac's status bar.
  • The software works with all Mac devices, including M-1.
  • EaseUS supports MacOS11 to MacOS10.13 operating systems.
  • A 7-day free trial.
  • Safely force eject external hard drive without any data loss.
  • Fast file transfer speed.
  • It can provide access to NTFS, APFS, HFS+, FAT, exFAT, and others.
  • The software can work with almost every external disk, including hard drive, SSD, USB, Thunderbolt, etc.

Steps of how to enable Mac writing to NTFS drive without formating are listed below:

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

Parting Remarks 

NTFS and APFS are the latest file formats for Windows and Mac, respectively. However, since Apple only allows Mac users to access NTFS formatted files in read-only mode; thus, often, they have to convert or format NTFS to APFS. 

But formatting a drive can erase the entire data present on it. Therefore, formatting NTFS to APFS is not a feasible option for many users. 

But thanks to EaseUS NTFS for Mac, it is now possible to get full read-write access to NTFS drives. The best thing is that EaseUS offers a free trial, so you can download the software today.