The rivalry between Apple and Microsoft has been going on for decades now, and its easy to get caught in the middle of it even when you don't want to. For example, I edit videos for a living, I have a Windows PC that I use for work since my organization doesn't like to invest in Mac, and I also have a Mac that I personally own. I juggle between the two for work purposes since it is easier to edit these videos on Mac but I have to deliver those files through my Windows PC. Because of this, even if I don't want to, I have to write files on Microsoft's NTFS drive, but NTFS reading and writing is not supported on a Mac device, so, it's too hard for me to use NTFS drive on a Mac. macOS starts to read the NTFS-formatted drives but not write files to NTFS drive, in other words, you can only view the files in NTFS drive on a macOS, you can't write, edit, delete, copy them in anyway.
However, The advent of NTFS for Mac software makes everything so much easier, and that's what I am about to share with you today. But first, let me provide a few more details since this is not the only scenario where you might have to write on an NTFS drive on a Mac. In this review, we will discuss everything you need to know about NTFS, why its best for you to use a NTFS tool for Mac, and what are the best NTFS for Mac tools available today.
Table of Contents
What's NTFS Format?
NTFS, short for New Technology File System, is a proprietary file system used by all the modern Windows operating systems including Windows 11. If you have used a Windows PC, you must have seen that NTFS is the default file system there. It has been like this starting with Windows NT 3.1 first introduced in 1993.
Unlike it's counterparts FAT32 and HPFS, the NTFS focuses majorly on performance of your storage by using better compression, enhanced security through the use of user permissions not only on the Windows PC but the individual files and folders stored in it, reliability by ensuring consistency of the files in case of a power outage, proper utilization of disk space using disk quotas, and maintaining the log of all files using the MFT thereby ensuring that a detailed audit is maintained for all the files that have been deleted, moved, or modified from the hard drive.
Why You Need A NTFS for Mac Tool?
If you have just switched from Windows to Mac, you might be having trouble transferring files to NTFS-formatted hard drives used on Windows. This is because Apple's Macs only come with support for reading NTFS drive, but when it comes to writing on a NTFS drive, the MacOS cannot do it without the help of a NTFS for Mac tool.
So, if you have an external hard drive where you save all your data, you will not be able to write to that external hard drive from your Mac without the help of these NTFS for Mac tools. Same goes for users who are trying to migrate from Windows to MacOS, but cannot move their existing files and folders from Windows which uses NTFS. Or if you are trying to have the best of both Mac and Windows and have to constantly move files between the Windows PC and the Mac (like I do).
Yes, for all these cases you absolutely need to use a NTFS for Mac tool to make your life much simpler, and so that you can focus more on your work rather than which file system is used by Windows or Mac.
What's The Best NTFS for Mac Software?
Here we have discussed a number of tools based on the strengths and weaknesses. Some of the points we tried to cover in these reviews are the version of MacOS supported by the tool, whether Apple Silicon M1 chips are supported, easiness of using the tool, its pricing, and availability of technical support.
Mounty for NTFS
This is a little tool used to mount write-protected NTFS drives in read/write mode. It does not support Monterey and has support for MacOS 10.9 Mavericks till Big Sur. This tool shows up as an icon on the menu and notifies you in case there are any external drives connected to your Mac that is NTFS formatted and ready to mount in read/write mode. This is one of the lightest apps for this purpose, it does not require any separate drivers and uses the built-in mechanism provided by macOS for functioning. You can install Mounty for NTFS using the DMG files provided on the website, or using Homebrew. This is completely free to use, although, you can donate to the author through the website if you want to. However, that is not mandatory.
One of the most notable drawbacks I found while testing this utility is that it can corrupt your drive along with your Boot Camp partition. This can lead to data loss, and there is hardly any decent solution available. Moreover, since this is a freeware, don't expect much in terms of support. The only way to contact the author of this utility is through the comment section of the website. There's no guarantee you'll get a reply, that too within time.
- Does not need to install 3rd party drivers..
- Can be installed via DMG files or through Homwbrew.
- Can corrupt your drive and Boot Camp partition.
- Almost no support available.
- NTFS disk disappears from Desktop when using Mounty
- Files may be grayed out and cannot be modified anymore.
SYSGeeker NTFS for Mac
SYSGeeker NTFS for Mac software has successfully bridged the gap between Windows and Mac created because of their different file systems, it's an easy to use tool that can automatically detects NFTS formatted volumes and re-mount write-protected NTFS volumes under macOS in read-write mode. This software has an intuitive GUI, supports unlimited read/write functionality for all types of external hard drives, and yes, this includes SSD drives.
They have unlimited support, albeit for only a couple of Mac releases. The SYSGeeker NTFS for Mac has a simple menu-driven approach, and gives detailed information about all your drives with just a few clicks. Transferring the files between Mac and NTFS is a simple drag-and-drop process. The only drawback that I see here is that it is a paid software, even though they do have a free version available on their website. The program can automatically detect your NTFS drive and display in read-only form. You just need to right click the icon and select Mount as writable option, then you will have an access to your NTFS drive in read-write mode on macOS.
Now, the NTFS partition will be automatically mounted and manipulated like native Mac partitions. In other word, you're able to perform any tasks such write, edit, copy, move and delete files on your NTFS volumes on your Mac. It also supports Intel-based Mac devices and those that includes the latest M1 chipsets, along with all the MacOS starting from Sierra right upto Monterey. This is a stand-alone software that doesn't require the additional driver.
- Supports all NTFS versions..
- GUI based, easy to use. Files transfer requires simple drag and drop.
- Supports both Intel-based Mac and M1 chipset-based Mac devices.
- Supports all MacOS starting from MacOS Sierra to Monterey.
- No data is lost or corrupted druing tranferring.
- Paid software. Free version is available but with a restricted trial period.
This is an app which can run in the background without much effort. It can be used by new users for transferring files, as well as by advanced users for extending NTFS attributes, formatting NTFS drives, and even repairing these NTFS drives and partitions.
Tuxera NTFS is pretty fast compared to its competitors, although when it comes to bulk transfer of files, it takes way longer than the rest. One major advantage of using Tuxera NTFS is its ability to preserve files in case of power cuts and other similar disasters without damaging the drive itself. It also has the ability to prevent loss of files even before an error actually occurs.
This app supports all versions of MacOS starting from Mac OS X 10.4 right upto MacOS Monterey. It has a free trial version available on their website using which you can give it a spin. It supports Intel and the new Apple silicon (M1) Mac devices. In terms of support, they have a decent YouTube channel with videos on how to use the utility for various purposes, and an extensive number of resource articles to bail you out of a tight spot. If none of this works, you can submit a ticket and let them guide you with your issue.
- Good pricing structure.
- Quick read/write operation in general.
- Can be installed pretty easily.
- Extensive support documentation.
- Bulk transfer of files is a tad bit slow as it is done at a much lower speed.
- Doesn't support M1-based device.
This is an opensource freeware NTFS for Mac tool used to read and write NTFS drives on Mac OS X, Linux, Android. Apart from being free, this tool does not have much to offer in terms of advantages. It is only compatible with MacOS 10.12 Sierra and earlier. This is mainly because it was developed by Tuxera which not has a separate utility called Tuxera for NTFS for the same purpose.
Also, NTFS-3G is a command line-based tool. Being a command line tool, you have to know command lines, how to use Terminal, FUSE for macOS, Homebrew or Xcode to use it. It also has a lot of complaints related to its poor performance. Support for NTFS-3G is only available through their GitHub repository in the form of issues submitted there. There's no way to ensure that your issue would ever be resolved.
- Completely free and open source.
- Can be used with Mac, Linux, and Android.
- .Compatible only with MacOS Sierra or previous MacOS.
- Command line tool.
- .Extremely slow write speed.
- Hardly any maintenance and update.
- Zero support available.
This is another free to use NTFS for Mac tool. It's pretty easy to use with an easy installation process. All you need to do is to unzip the archive and launch it. That should list all internal and external NTFS volumes with their respective read/write status. Then, enable NTFS writing can be done in just one simple click. To disable or enable the writing mode on a volume, just simply check the button and enter your password if required. However, SL-NTFS is pretty backdated and has not been updated to MacOS Big Sur yet. It is not compatible with the latest M1 chips, neither does it supports large files and volumes. Being a free utility, it has absolutely zero support. In fact, it does not even have a website of its own. SL-NTFS is pretty low in size with only 1.4MB.
- Only 1.4MB in size.
- Completely free to use.
- Does not support even MacOS Big Sur yet.
- Not compatible with Apple M1 chips.
- Cannot work with large files and partitions.
- No support available.
iBoySoft NTFS for Mac
This NTFS for Mac tool is extremely lightweight, and is pretty easy on resources. So, if you have to constantly keep your external hard drive attached to your Mac while you are working on resource intensive applications. Also, every time you connect an external hard drive to your Mac, iBoySoft NTFS recognized it and mounts it automatically. This ensures that you can safely drag-and-drop files onto your external hard drive without having to worry about mounting them first.
Using iBoySoft NTFS to manage your NTFS drives is as simple as using your Mac's native hard drive. You can use it to tag files, airdrop them, sync files, and even store Time Machine backups on your external hard drives with minimum effort. It supports both Intel-based and M1 chipset-based Mac devices, however, with the latter ones you need to enable system extensions when prompted.
What's more, you can format your external hard drives with NTFS, APFS, HFS+, FAT, and exFAT file types. An added advantage with this utility is that it can access BitLocker encrypted NTFS drives on Mac. This too is a paid utility; however, they have a free version available on their website. Even if you decide to buy it in the end of the trial period, they have a 30-day money back guarantee. The only hiccup with this useful utility is their support, it is only through email and is not available during weekends. So, if you are stuck with this on a Saturday, you need to wait till Monday for them to show up with a solution.
- Supports auto mounting of drives
- Free trial version available.
- Very lightweight and does not hog system resources.
- Does not have extensive FAQ.
- Not compatible with Apple M1 chips.
- Support needs to be better.
- Much too expensive.
Mirvago NTFS Mac Mounter
The Mirvago NTFS Mac Mounter utility is a NTFS to Mac tool that enables full read and write access to NTFS external hard drives, and USB flash drives under MacOS X. It mounts the drives and allow the user to add and edit files seamlessly, no matter what the system file format. It has an extremely fast file transfer rate, and extends support till Mac OS 10.15. Wowever, it has no technical support available. In fact, this is the second utility in our list which does not have a website of its own. This does have a website but it doesn't work. There are hardly any resources or documentations available on the internet either.
- Available for free.
- Pretty fast rate of file transfer.
- No technical support available.
- Does not support M1 chips from Apple.
- Only supports support till Mac OS 10.15.
Now that you have gone through all the review, I would suggest you to pick any one of them based on whether the pros outweigh the cons for that tool, and start using it. But for saving a ton of your time, you can consider to install SYSGeeker NTFS tool or Paragon NTFS for Mac, they're great tool that you can consider among its alternatives