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How to enable Apple's native NTFS write support on macOS

Published: 21 April 2020
Filed Under: macOS

While Apple has always allowed users to read NTFS volumes, there is a hidden feature you can use to enable built-in NTFS write support on macOS. If you're looking for a file system to use on a drive for interoperability between macOS, Windows, and Linux, you should probably use exFAT with GPT.

Warning

This feature is not officially supported by Apple, and should be considered experimental. There are some reports online of this corrupting drives, so use this as your own risk, and always perform a backup before you begin. This method is not considered reliable and may damage your drives.

Enable NTFS write support for a specific drive

You will need to use the following command from the terminal. Replace VOLUME_NAME with the correct name of the drive. Ideally, the volume name won't have a space, but it has one, replace the space with \040. Once you enable this feature for the specific drive, unplug the drive and plug it back in.

sudo sh -c 'echo "LABEL=VOLUME_NAME none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse" >> /etc/fstab'

Finding the drive

The drive will no longer show up automatically in Finder. In order to locate the volume, you can either go to the Go menu from the top menu of the Finder application, and select Go to folder... and type in /Volumes or from the terminal you can run the following command.

open /Volumes

Disable NTFS write support for a specific drive

In order to disable Apple's native NTFS write-support for a specific drive and return to read-only mode with the drive automatically populating in the Finder, you will need to remove the line you added to the /etc/fstab file. In order to do this, run the following command from the terminal. After you remove it, press Command X and then press Y to save those changes, then unplug the drive and plug it back in.

sudo nano /etc/fstab