Stellar Drive clone is one of the best disk cloning app for Mac. It creates an identical, ready to use copy of the hard drive. The Clone software creates partitions in the same way as that of the actual hard drive. The tool supports various types of cloning like, HFS-to-HFS, FAT-to-FAT and NTFS-to-ExFAT. Mar 15, 2018 If you own a Seagate drive, be aware that Seagate offers a free download of Paragon NTFS for Mac so you won’t have to purchase anything extra. You could also purchase Tuxera NTFS for Mac, which costs $31 and offers a fourteen-day free trial. But Paragon NTFS does the same thing and is cheaper. The Best Free Third-Party Drivers: FUSE for macOS.
One of the most usual problem encountered in file transfer between computers using a disk has something to do with disk format. Here’s how it normally goes: you plug in a disk to your computer running on Mac OS, and it’s all well and good until you notice that, even though your computer can read the disk, you can’t write anything to them or can’t save any files to them.
This is actually a cross platform compatibility issue that arises when the disk you use has been previously formatted using a Windows OS.
To understand this problem, you should know about file systems. A file system is an operating system’s way of organizing and storing files on drives, and specifies which information can be attached to files, such as permissions, filenames, and attributes. For instance, Windows retrieves, stores and formats any flash drive or external hard disk using its default format, that is: NTFS (New Technology File System). The thing is, although Apple largely has support for NTFS and other Windows formats, write support to NTFS drives is disabled in OS X. This means, when using a computer with a Mac OS and a Windows-formatted disk drive, you are not allowed to save to the drive or alter existing files in there.
Simplest Solution? Format your Drives in FAT
The easiest way to bridge this gap between formats is to just re-format your drive into FAT. By the way, FAT (File Allocation Table) is an older file system created by Windows, and which OS X has full read and write compatibility with.
Obviously, NTFS has several advantages as a format—it’s newer and has been tested to work faster than its FAT-formatted counterparts. But if your drive is relatively new, and you don’t have any files in your drives to keep intact, re-formatting and converting your drive to FAT is an easy workaround to the issue.
This might not be the solution for you for the following reasons:
- If you’ve data on your drive that you haven’t backed up. Re-formatting your drive to FAT format will erase all the data saved on it.
- If you need to transfer files that are higher than 4GB on one go, FAT isn’t the format for you. FAT only allows file transfer of size 4GB and below.
If the above are not your concerns, and want to make transfer between your computers with different operating systems easy, re-formatting your drive is the fix for you.
Third Party Utilities
There are applications available online that have been developed for this OS X limitation. Some are free, but these may be more difficult to set up and less reliable, so if you want surer options when working with your drive, you may want to consider going for paid applications.
OSXFUSE – FUSE for macOS is an open source, GitHub-hosted application that basically operates a mechanism that allows the implementation of a fully-functional file system in a macOS program. The process that FUSE for macOS uses is tedious and can get very technical, which might make people who are not very comfortable in rebooting into recovery mode and using Terminal quite uneasy.
In any case, you can use FUSE for macOS to write over NTFS formatted disk by following these steps:
- Download osxfuse. Install it.
- Make sure you have downloaded Homebrew, which is a command line package manager.
- Open Terminal. You do this by opening your Applications folder, where the Terminal application is located.
- After you’ve opened Terminal, type in this command:
brew install homebrew/fuse/ntfs-3g
- Restart your Mac, and before the OS X starts, press and hold Command+R until the Apple icon and a progress bar appears, and then release. This will boot you to Recovery mode, instead of restarting.
- Open Terminal from the Utilities menu and type this command:
This will disable SIP (System Integrity Protection) or “rootless” mode, and it should show in a display message. Restart your computer.
- After you have rebooted, open Terminal again and type these commands:
sudo mv /sbin/mount_ntfs /sbin/mount_ntfs.original
sudo ln -s /usr/local/sbin/mount_ntfs /sbin/mount_ntfs
- Reboot your computer again and repeat what you did in Step 5, so that you reboot into recovery mode.
- Once you’re in recovery, re-enable SIP by opening Terminal and typing this command:
- Reboot your Mac again. If you did all of the above correctly, NTFS will now fully work on your Mac OS.
You should note that the System Integrity Protection exists to prevent unwanted modification of system files. Disabling SIP will allow root programs to alter protected files on the operating system that may lead to a corrupt startup disk and the onset of malware.
Again, if this is something that alarms you, there are other methods of allowing to write to your NTFS disks on your Mac OS that may be more comfortable for you to use.
Paragon NTFS – Paragon is a driver that allows a full read and write access to NTFS drives on Mac OS X. You can easily write, copy, move, and edit files on the NTFS drive by just installing the software and rebooting your computer to allow the change to happen on your Mac OS X, all hassle free and seamless. This application also boasts to be six time faster than any other NTFS-write software out there. It also comes in a beautiful interface and other functionalities such as a color-coded space indicator, disk formatter and partition creator.
Paragon can be downloaded for free for a 10-day trial, and then for purchase at $19.95, which we can vouch is truly bang for buck.
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If your drive also happens to be a Seagate drive, you get a free license for Paragon NTFS, limited for Seagate-manufactured drives.
Tuxera NTFS for Mac – Tuxera is another easy-to-use paid application that allows NTFS drive writing while using Mac OS. It edges out its commercial competition with some of its powerful functions such as smart file caching during transfers and other advanced features. It’s also as easy to install and operate, like its other paid counterparts.
Tuxera can be downloaded for a 15-day free trial, and available for a one-time lifetime, all-devices purchase for $31.
Exploit Mac’s Experimental Feature
Technically speaking, Apple actually can allow you to write on NTFS drive, but this is an experimental feature that should be taken with a grain of salt. You can do this by using a command line that does not need the disabling of the System Integrity Protection, but still comes with the necessary risks. Be forewarned, tweaking with this might corrupt your disk and your data and might cause you to lose your data totally.
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Enable Apple’s experimental feature by following these steps:
- Open Terminal. Again, you do this by opening your Applications folder, where the Terminal application is located.
- Enter the following command, which will enable the support for the NTFS drive:
LABEL=DRIVE_NAME none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse
- Substitute DRIVE_NAME with your disk name
- As you replace your drive name, make sure that there are not spaces, as this may cause some issues.
- Restart your Mac
If by any chance you do have a drive with a complicated name with spaces included, use the device UUID to be able to write support for that as well. This is how you do it:
- Run your Terminal and type in the following command, but substitute “DRIVENAME” with your disk name:
diskutil info /Volumes/DRIVENAME grep UUID
- This will give you the UUID of your disk.
- Once you open the Terminal again, type the following command:
sudo nano /etc/fstab
- Add to the file the following command, replacing “DEVICEUUID” with the UUID you obtained in Steps 1 and 2:
UUID=DEVICEUUID none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse
Again, it pays to remember that the above method is experimental, and that no one holds accountability if the method will work, or if it will cause any corruption in your disk and make you lose your data. There’s no guarantee that paying for third party apps can give you, such as ease of access and plain peace of mind. In addition, if you are working with more than one disk, this experimental feature requires you to add one line per disk. This task, needless to say, can be quite laborious.
Wait for Future Updates
There is reason to believe that Mac OS X may develop native support for full compatibility with NTFS. Although this possibility is largely unconfirmed, the fact that Mac currently has an experimental feature in place already hints at how cognizant they are about this limitation. Nevertheless, Apple may totally choose to remove NTFS support altogether and decide to endorse third party apps instead to their users for writing NTFS disks.
Format to exFAT
Our out of the box suggestion, when you have the luxury of a new or empty disk is to format your disk to exFAT. exFAT is an improvement from FAT32—a newer version of FAT that is less efficient than NTFS but has more widespread support than NTFS and exFAT. Like NTFS, exFAT enables you to transfer files bigger than the 4GB limitation of FAT32. Most notably, exFAT is also supported by Windows and OS X both. All recent Windows versions and the recent versions of Mac OS have full read and write support for exFAT, something that cannot be said for NTFS.
This method has certain caveats too. Some devices such as PlayStation 3 and Xbox One does not support exFAT, as well as the now defunct Windows XP and older versions of Windows. exFAT is ideally used if you don’t have to deal with these devices, but exFAT is a good choice of file system format if you want greater compatibility than NTFS and a bigger file size limit than FAT.
Mounty for NTFS
This is a free software for Mac that enables the user to write on NTFS drives on Mac. Its design is rather simple for ease of mounting NTFS drives on Mac and providing the drives with write support. Because the utility is free, some highlights based on its service are provided. The software is free, and its size is less than an MB. Therefore, it is easy and fast to download, and it needs a one-time installation without the need to download additional drivers. However, some of the utility users say that when using it to write on an NTFS drive, the process is prolonged. Sometimes, the software tends to allow the read-write mode on an NTFS formatted drive automatically. Other times, the software becomes unstable, hence failing to mount the drive. When the utility malfunctions, the data saved in the drive can be lost. It has also been realized that tech support is also not provided for the software and that the current Mojave and Catalina Mac OS software do not support its utility.
This is free software that is also referred to as Snow Leopard NTFS. When using Mac OS 10.6, it is possible to write on an NTFS drive, even without installing third-party drivers. However, the write support in the OS settings is not active. Therefore, SL-NTFS software acts as an interface for the Mac OS 10.6 NTFS drivers hence allowing writing permissions for a drive in NTFS format. The utility has various merits and demerits. It is free and easy to install, but its developers do not provide technical support. Furthermore, if there is another enabler for NTFS drivers that had previously been installed, it may lead to technical problems. Writing on some external NTFS drives is impossible when using this software. Moreover, its access to vast amounts of data and files is usually limited.
iBoysoft NTFS for Mac
This is a utility that enables the read-write mode on drives mounted on Mac laptops and computers using Max OS X and macOS. Technical support for the software is freely provided, and the utility is easy to install. Furthermore, the service is compatible with Mac OS X 10.8, 10.9, 10.10, 10. 11, and MacOS 10.12, 10.13, 10.14, and 10.15. Apart from APFS format, it supports the formatting of drives into other file systems. Its users report that errors in NTFS file systems can be repaired using the utility. When using the software, you only need one click to eject or unmount NTFS volumes. Using the software allows the user automatic mounting of the NTFS drive to read-write mode.
iBoysoft Drive Manager
This additional commercial tool can allow the user to access NTFS read-write permission on Mac fully. Moreover, it needs one click to manage network drives and several external drives. The utility is a perfect replacement for other free Mac NTFS drivers because it offers free technical support. It can easily be installed and allows free upgrades for life. Using the software to transfer files between Mac and NTFS drive, as well as writing on NTFS drives, is easy. It is compatible with Mac OS X 10.8, 10.9, 10.10, 10.11 and macOS 10.12, 10.13, 10.14 and 10.15. The utility is also very affordable, and a seven days trial is offered for its users. Additionally, the utility can be used in the finder to manage map network drives as well as external drives. When compared to other NTFS Mac utilities, iBoysoft Manager is more affordable.
If you do want to stick with your NTFS, now you at least have a variety of options available for your file transfer needs. Just pick the one you think is safest and most convenient for you. Do not forget to back-up your files first, so you don’t lose any data in case something goes awry, or better yet, stick with a paid application that will do the job for you without any worries.
Before you are led to the introduction of free NTFS drivers for Mac, here is some background information in case you don't know.
You can read Windows NTFS drives on Mac. But Mac can't write to NTFS drives, including create, edit, copy, paste, delete, or transfer files on NTFS drive on Mac desktops and laptops. Do you know why?
NTFS is a file system developed by Microsoft, the competitor of Apple. NTFS is used by default on Windows platform, especially for system drive. Additionally, if you use Boot Camp to create a Windows partition on your Mac, you will find you can't mount BOOTCAMP Widnows partition with both read-write access either. Up to now, Mac operating systems, including macOS Catalina/Mojave/High Sierra/Sierra and Mac OS X El Capitan, only provide NTFS read support but deny NTFS write support.
You know the business, but for users, is there any way to let Mac write NTFS drives? Can you make the NTFS drive fully compatible with macOS or Mac OS X? Sure. The easiest method is to use NTFS driver for macOS software.
If you are looking for a totally free NTFS for Mac software, there are four options: Mounty for NTFS, NTFS-3G, FUSE for macOS and SL-NTFS.
NTFS for Mac - free drivers for macOS
Some Mac users may have upgraded to macOS Catalina and are digging around for an NTFS driver for macOS 10.15. But it's hard to find a Free NTFS for Mac that supports macOS 10.15 yet. Fortunately, iBoysoft has upgraded their software iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to be compatible with macOS Catalina.
If you are using a Mac running macOS 10.14 and earlier, you can try the NTFS driver for Mac below and share NTFS drives between Windows and Mac.
1. Mounty for NTFS
Mounty for NTFS is completely free software to enable write ability to NTFS drives on Mac. It has simple design to help users mount NTFS drives with write support on Mac.
As a free utility, Mounty for NTFS does have some highlights:
- Totally free.
- Fast download and installation because it is less than 1MB.
- One-time installation and no additional driver needed.
But Mounty for NTFS dose get complaints because:
- The write speed to NTFS drive is rather slow.
- It can't mount the NTFS formatted drives in read-write mode automatically.
- It can be unstable and fails to mount NTFS drives.
- It can cause data loss problems.
- It doesn't provide tech support.
- The software is not compatible with the latest macOS Catalina or Mojave.
NTFS-3G is an open-source project from Tuxera, so the public can download this NTFS for Mac free to write to Windows NTFS drives on Mac computers.
Set aside its advantage for being free, NTFS-3G is complained a lot because of its poor performance. Some main drawbacks of this free NTFS driver for Mac are listed below:
- Complicated installation. You have to know how to use Terminal or have already downloaded FUSE for macOS, Homebrew or Xcode.
- Poor usability. Users have to use the software by command lines in Terminal instead of an interface.
- Poor compatibility. NTFS-3G only supports macOS 10.12 or earlier. It doesn't support the latest macOS 10.15 and macOS 10.14.
- Slow write speed. The file transferring is noticeably slow.
- Tuxera stops maintaining this utility.
- No technical support. As freeware, no technical support is available when issues occur.
3. FUSE for macOS
FUSE for macOS (was OSXFUSE) is another open and free NTFS driver for Mac from Tuxera that can enable write support to NTFS drives on Mac. In fact, FUSE is a file system extension that allows user to read and write disks with the formats that are not fully supported by Apple.
FUSE for macOS is worth trying because:
- It is free of charge.
- It is compatible with Mac operating system from Mac OS X 10.6 to macOS 10.14.
- Multiple languages are available.
As a free NTFS driver for Mac, FUSE for macOS has some obvious limitations:
- It can be unreliable sometimes such as file size being reported as 0 bytes.
- It has no technical support when issues occur.
SL-NTFS means Snow Leopard NTFS. As a matter of fact, writing to NTFS on Apple is possible since Mac OS 10.6 without any third-party NTFS driver, but the NTFS writing support is disabled by default. Therefore, SL-NTFS is used as an interface on the Apple NTFS driver to enable writing to NTFS drives on Mac.
As a free NTFS for Mac app, SL-NTFS has some pros as followings:
- It is free.
- It is simple to install.
However, SL-NTFS has some cons to prevent people from using it.
- It has limited access to a large number of files and a large volume of data.
- It can't enable NTFS write on some NTFS external hard drives.
- It can cause conflicts if you have another NTFS enabler installed.
- It has no technical support.
Generally speaking, despite of being free, those free NTFS for Mac software have various flaws, making them very risky to use.
If you are afraid of using a risky free NTFS utility for Mac, there are two cost-effective alternatives for you. Even though they are not completely free, they can provide a lot of merits that free NTFS drivers don't have.
Best NTFS drivers for Mac
Free NTFS drivers for Mac can be troublemakers because of their low write speed, poor compatibility, no technical support, etc. Nevertheless, you don't have to pay a fortune to get enough reliability, stability and simplicity from a cost-effective NTFS for Mac - iBoysoft NTFS for Mac or iBoysoft Drive Manager.
iBoysoft NTFS for Mac
iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is an ultimate NTFS for Mac solution in macOS and Mac OS X that can easily help you mount NTFS volumes on Mac desktops and laptops as regular drives in read-write mode.
iBoysoft NTFS for Mac has quite a few advantages you can take into account:
- It can mount NTFS volumes in read-write mode automatically.
- It can unmount and eject NTFS volumes with one click.
- It can repair NTFS file system errors.
- It can erase NTFS volumes for data cleanup.
- It can reformat other file system (except APFS) into NTFS.
- It is fully compatible with macOS 10.15/10.14/10.13/10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8.
- It is easy to install and use.
- Free technical support is provided.
iBoysoft Drive Manager
Free Ntfs Hard Drive App For Mac Drive
Another great alternative to free NTFS driver for Mac is iBoysoft Drive Manager. It is a handy Mac tool that can enable full read-write access to NTFS drives on Mac and help manage multiple external drivers/network drives with one click.
iBoysoft Drive Manager is a great replacement of a free NTFS driver for Mac because:
- It is extremely affordable and offers 7-day free trial.
- It is fully compatible with macOS 10.15/10.14/10.13/10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8.
- It is fast to write to NTFS drives and transfer files between NTFS drives and Mac.
- It is easy to install and use.
- It provides lifetime free upgrades.
- Free technical support is provided.
- Besides powerful NTFS writing support, it can manage external drives and map network drives as local drives in the Finder.
If you want to know any disadvantages that iBoysoft Drive Manager might have, I would say the only one should be - it is not free. But it is really cheap compared with other commercial NTFS for Mac programs, such as Paragon and Tuxera.
We also provide a table to help you find the most preferable NTFS driver:
|NTFS driver for macOS||iBoysoft Drive Manager||iBoysoft NTFS for Mac||Mounty for Mac||NTFS-3G||FUSE for macOS||SL-NTFS|
|Auto-mount NTFS in read-write mode||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Supported Mac OS||macOS 10.15/10.14/10.13/10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11 to 10.8.||macOS 10.15/10.14/10.13/10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11 to 10.8.||macOS 10.13/10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11 to 10.6.||macOS 10.13/10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11 to 10.6.||macOS 10.14/10.13/10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11 to 10.6.||macOS 10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11 to 10.6.|
|Supported devices||USB drives, SD cards, HDDs, etc.||USB drives, SD cards, HDDs, etc.||USB drives, SD cards, HDDs, etc. (not all)||USB drives, SD cards, HDDs, etc.||USB drives, SD cards, HDDs, etc.||USB drives, SD cards, HDDs, etc. (not all)|
|Supported file system||NTFS, APFS, FAT32, exFAT, etc.||NTFS, APFS, FAT32, exFAT, etc.||NTFS||NTFS||NTFS, APFS, FAT32, exFAT, etc.||NTFS|
|Ease of use||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Other||1.Manage external storage media with one click.|
2.Map network drive as local drives.
|1. Repair NTFS.|
2.Erase NTFS volumes.
3.Reformat other file systems into NTFS.
|N/A||N/A||Multiple languages are available.||N/A|
Now, you have a few options in your hands. If you don't care the risks and want to try out the free NTFS for Mac programs, generally speaking, Mounty for NTFS and FUSE for macOS are better ones. However, if you care about the reliability, technical support and NTFS write speed a lot, or you are specifically looking for an NTFS driver for macOS Catalina, Mojave or High Sierra, iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is your best choice.