How to read and write NTFS drives in macOS Big Sur

NTFS is the proprietary file system used by Microsoft operating systems. On Apple computers, disk partitioning is done in APFS and HFS formats. Therefore, macOS has limited support for NTFS and only allows you to view the contents of the media, without the ability to edit or copy files to them.

You can solve this annoying problem in one of the following ways.

1. Activate support for NTFS-disk through “Terminal”

The easiest, fastest and most free option. You have to use the command line, but it’s not difficult at all – you only need to enter a couple of ready-made commands. Act like this.

Connect a USB flash drive or hard drive to your computer and make sure that the name of the media consists of one word. If not, rename. Remember the chosen name.

Launch Terminal via Spotlight search or from the Applications folder → Utilities.

Copy and paste the following command: sudo nano /etc/fstab… Then press Enter and enter the administrator password for confirmation.

Paste into the opened window LABEL=ИМЯ_ДИСКА none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse… Replace the LABEL value with the name of your drive. In our example, the drive is called DRIVE1 – hence the code will be like this: LABEL=DRIVE1 none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse.

Press Control + O and Enter to save the file and then Control + X to exit.

Now, after connecting the drive, it will appear in the Finder sidebar and you can write files to it. If the media does not appear, go to Go → Computer and select a drive from the list. You can also press Shift + Command + G in the Finder, type / Volumes, press Enter and search for the medium among the options.

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2. Install a third party driver

Another solution is third party utilities that add an NTFS driver to the system. They all work in automatic mode and are about the same. After installing such a program and restarting your Mac, you can not only view, but also write files to NTFS-media, as well as format them.

  • Paragon NTFS is the most popular utility with an intuitive interface and broad capabilities. It will cost 990 rubles for one computer, you can try it before buying.
  • Tuxera NTFS is another well-known program that is not inferior in functions to the previous one. The $ 15 Personal License allows use on three computers. There is a trial version.
  • iBoysoft NTFS is a similar solution for working with NTFS with support for macOS Big Sur and M1 processors. It’s free to try, with a license that costs $ 19,95 a year and covers three computers.

3. Format the disk to ExFAT format

For all the differences between macOS and Windows, they still have one thing in common: the exFAT file system, which is supported in both operating systems. If you often have to use the disk with computers on Windows and macOS, format the media in ExFAT for convenience.

Important! During this procedure, all information on the disk will be deleted. So, if it contains files, copy them to another location and return them back after changing the format.

To format, launch Disk Utility through Spotlight search or from the Applications → Utilities folder.

Select the drive you want in the sidebar and click the Erase button.

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Set the format to ExFAT, give it a name and click “Erase”.

When formatting is complete, click Finish.

The drive will now be recognized on both macOS and Windows. In both operating systems, it will be possible to both view and write files without any problems.

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