Mac NTFS Solution

May 9, 2010

So I just got my new MacBook Pro right? No sooner do I hook up my 2TB external hard drive, formatted in NTFS of course, I find that the Mac will read the data, but I cannot edit, add, or delete and files or folders.

Of course I just think something is wrong with the access permissions. I call Apple’s tech support, and I immediately find out (thanks to the friendly tech support guy, who was very nice during the entire interaction) that a Mac cannot write to an NTFS drive larger than four gigabytes.

Weird, I thought to myself (as I often do). If it can be read, accessed, why can’t it be written to? Frustrated, I decided to only use that drive with my PC and wait until I got a bigger drive I could format in FAT32 to move everything onto.

As a last desperate measure, I googled “NTFS Mac” and was surprised to find that a third-party driver for Mac that allows to read NTFS volumes of any size. It was free and installed in about five minutes. And it works.

This got my to wondering, however: if it was so easy for me to set it up, and so simple, why couldn’t Apple just include that functionality to begin with?

I only have one theory: Apple wants to kill NTFS. But why? Wouldn’t it be easier to allow people to use NTFS, but only format new drives in FAT32? That would allow for the phase-out of NTFS, but not limit the use of the drives for people switching from PC’s, which is one of Apple’s target demographics.