Mac OS X can read from NTFS drives, but it can’t write to them unless you use one of the below tricks.
There are several options for this, and you’ll need to choose one:
- Paid Third-Party Drivers: There are third-party NTFS drivers for Mac that you can install, and they’ll work quite well. These are paid solutions, but they’re easy to install and reportedly offer better performance than the free solutions below.
- Free Third-Party Drivers: There are also free and open-source NTFS drivers you can install on a Mac to enable write support. Unfortunately, these take a bit of extra work to install, especially on OS X 10.11 El Capitan with the new System Integrity Protection feature. They may also not work as well as paid solutions, and may be slower.
- Apple’s Experimental NTFS-Write Support: Mac OS X includes experimental support for writing to NTFS drives. However, it’s off by default and requires some messing around in the terminal to enable it. It isn’t guaranteed to work properly and could potentially cause problems with your NTFS.
Free Third-Party Drivers – It’s Free, But Takes Some Work
This method is free, but it requires a good bit of work. To do this, you’ll have to disable System Integrity Protection and then re-enable if after you’re done.
First, download osxfuse and install it.
Second, download and install homebrew if you haven’t already installed it on your Mac. Homebrew is a “package manager” for Mac OS X.
You’ll need the command-line tools installed to continue. If you haven’t installed them yet, you can open a Terminal window from Applications > Utilities and run the following command to do so:
Once you have, run the following command in a Terminal window to install ntfs-3g from Homebrew:
brew install homebrew/fuse/ntfs-3g
Next, you’ll need to disable System Integrity Protection. Reboot your Mac and hold Command+R while it’s booting. It’ll boot into a special recovery mode environment.
Launch a terminal from the Utilities menu in recovery mode and run the following command:
Once you have, reboot your Mac normally.
From the Mac desktop, open a Terminal window again and run the following commands to make ntfs-3g function:
sudo mv /sbin/mount_ntfs /sbin/mount_ntfs.originalsudo ln -s /usr/local/sbin/mount_ntfs /sbin/mount_ntfs
Lastly, re-enable System Integrity Protection. Reboot your Mac and hold Command+R while it’s booting to enter recovery mode. Launch a terminal in recovery mode and run the following command:
Once you have, reboot your Mac. NTFS-write support should be functioning now.
If you want to undo the changes
To undo your changes and uninstall everything, you’ll need to first disable System Integrity Protection. After you do, run the following commands:
sudo rm /sbin/mount_ntfssudo mv /sbin/mount_ntfs.original /sbin/mount_ntfsbrew uninstall ntfs-3g
You can then uninstall FUSE for OS X from its panel in the System Preferences window and re-enable System Integrity Protection
Most Mac users will be better off formatting external drives with exFAT, ensuring they work well on both Windows and Mac OS X without any extra work. if you must write to an NTFS drive, one of the paid, third-party drivers will be the best-performing, least-effort option.