How to read/write NTFS drive on macOS Big Sur?

Updated by Tim to NTFS for Mac on May 30th, 2021

It's well-known that Mac has limited support for Windows NTFS file system, and this problem still exists in macOS Big Sur. That is, you can only read NTFS drives but cannot write to or delete anything on the drive with a Mac computer. The 'NTFS read-only problem' causes inconvenience every time you need to use NTFS external hard drives between Windows and Mac.

What's worse, maybe you cannot see some files or folders from NTFS drive on Apple Silicon M1 Mac where installed macOS Big Sur, how to read/write NTFS drive on macOS Big Sur?

How to read/write NTFS drive on macOS Big Sur?

There are three solutions which can read/write NTFS drive on macOS Big Sur:

Method 1: Use the third party NTFS for Mac software

Following are several software that can read/write NTFS drive on macOS Big Sur:

1. iBoysoft NTFS for Mac

iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is a simple tool that can read and write NTFS drive on macOS Big Sur/Catalina/Mojave/High Sierra. What's more, iBoysoft NTFS for Mac is fully compatible with Apple Silicon M1 Mac.

Tutorial to read/write NTFS drive on macOS Big Sur with iBoysoft NTFS for Mac:

Step 1: Download iBoysoft NTFS for Mac and follow the wizard to install it.

Step 2: Restart your Mac to complete the setup process.

Step 3: After restarting, insert the NTFS drive to your Mac.

If the NTFS external hard drive is not showing up on Mac, read our article: How to fix external hard drive not showing up on Mac?

Step 4: The inserted NTFS drive will be automatically mounted in read-write mode.

If you want to encrypt NTFS drive to protect your data, M3 BitLocker Loader for Mac is highly recommended to encrypt your NTFS drive so that it can be protected by BitLocker.

2. M3 BitLocker Loader for Mac

M3 BitLocker Loader for Mac mount NTFS drive in read-write mode on macOS Big Sur 11/Catalina 10.15/10.14/10.13.

In fact, M3 BitLocker Loader for Mac is a simple and easy-to-use tool which can open BitLocker encrypted drive on your Mac so that you can read/write BitLocker encrypted drive like a Mac's native drive after supplying the password.

3. iBoysoft DiskGeeker

iBoysoft DiskGeeker is a handy tool to manage external drives and network drives with only one-click, it can also read and write NTFS drive on macOS Big Sur/10.15/10.14/10.13/10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11.

4. NTFS Mounter

NTFS Mounter is a snow leopard application to mount ntfs volumes in read/write mode. A simple utility designed to mount NTFS volumes in read/write mode. Although not officially supported, Snow Leopard is now able to mount NTFS volumes with both read and write support.

NTFS Mounter simply uses this ability, and provides a simple user interface to the mount command for NTFS volumes. User interface is very similar to AirPort: simply click on the icon to display a menu with NTFS volumes name and select the volume you want to write on.

5. NTFS-3G for Mac OSX

NTFS-3G for Mac OS X brings NTFS read/write support to Mac OS X, along with additional advanced features. It is based on NTFS-3G, an open source NTFS driver that is ported into numerous platforms, but also includes other software projects to build a complete toolset for managing NTFS volumes. NTFS-3G for Mac requires Macfuse.

6. Mounty for NTFS

A tiny tool to re-mount write-protected NTFS volumes under Mac OS X 10.9+ in read-write mode. No additional driver will be installed. It simply makes use of the build-in mechanisms already provided by Mac OSX Mavericks

7. OSXFUSE

FUSE for OS X allows you to extend OS X's native file handling capabilities via third-party file systems. OSXFUSE is a successor to Small MacFUSE, which has been used as a software building block by dozens of products, but is no longer being maintained.

8. Paragon NTFS for Mac

Paragon NTFS for Mac is a driver which gives you full read and write access to Windows partitions under Mac OS X. When working with media files or documents on Mac, you need access to the high performance of your system regardless if the files are located on the Mac's HFS+ formatted volume, or in Window's NT File System. Paragon NTFS for Mac provides full read/write access to NTFS with the same high speed as native HFS+ file system

Paragon NTFS for Mac has updated to support macOS Big Sur and Apple Silicon M1 Mac.

9. Tuxera NTFS for Mac

Tuxera NTFS for Mac builds and extends upon the proven stability of the open source NTFS-3G to deliver a full featured, commercial grade NTFS driver for your Mac. With Tuxera NTFS for Mac you can access your Windows disks as easily as any Mac disk. Tuxera NTFS for Mac delivers the fastest NTFS data transfer speeds you can have on Mac while protecting your data with its new, smart caching layer.

Tuxera NTFS for Mac has updated to support macOS Big Sur and Apple Silicon M1 Mac..

Method 2: Enable NTFS drive write support with Terminal

Writing to NTFS drive with Terminal is totally FREE and works under all macOS versions, including macOS Big Sur.

By typing some commands at Mac Terminal, you can change the default setting to enable NTFS write support. But actually, this method is not as easy as it seems and is not recommended.

For common users, changing setting by Mac Terminal is too complex. To use Mac terminal, you must have a good knowledge of command lines, otherwise you are very possible to type wrong commands since you don't know what those commands mean at all. If you type wrong commands, it may cause unexpected harms to your Mac and data inside.

Step 1: Open Finder -> Applications folder -> Utilities -> Terminal.

Step 2: After launching Terminal, type the command: sudo nano /etc/fstab to open the /etc/fstab file for editing nano text editor.

Step 3: Type the command: LABEL=NAME none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse (Replace NAME with the name of your NTFS drive).

Step 4: Press "CTRL+O" and press "Enter" to save the fstab file.

After that, you can close the Terminal and write to your NTFS drive without any limitation.

Method 3: Reformat NTFS drive to exFAT/FAT32

In fact, exFAT and FAT32 file systems are fully compatible with macOS Big Sur and all previous versions. Actually you can take advantage of this to operate your drive by converting NTFS drive to exFAT/FAT32 file system. To do so, follow the steps as below:

Step 1: Copy the important files out from your NTFS drive.

Step 2: Open Finder -> Applications folder -> Utilities -> Disk Utility.

Step 3: Select the NTFS drive from the left panel in Disk Utility.

Step 4: Click "Erase" on the top menu of Disk Utility

Erase the drive in disk utility

Step 5: Select "exFAT" or "FAT32" file system from the drop-down box and then click Erase.

If you mistakely formatted the wrong drive, you can use iBoysoft Data Recovery Software to recover data from formatted drive.