Why Is My External Hard Drive Read Only On Mac

  1. Using Disk Utility, you can erase and reformat your external hard drive to work on both Mac and Windows computers. This solves the problem of your external h.
  2. Jan 20, 2021 The following applies whether the drive in question is a hard drive, USB stick, SSD, or any other external media. There are several options, depending on what you identified as causing the problem. How to fix hard drive read-only issue. There are two options here. One is to reformat the drive to a format your Mac can write to as well as read.

Faulty permission settings, unexpected formatting errors, and an incompatible file system are most likely the reasons that cause your external drive to show as “Read Only” on your Mac. Simple troubleshooting steps like formatting your drive, sector repairing of your external drive, or changing Mac's permission settings can fix this issue quickly. The computer that, you stated, can read from and write to the same disk either has the third-party software installed or the drive is not formatted NTFS. To format the drive for use on a Mac, exclusively, then see the following: Drive Partition and Format - El Capitan or Later. Open Disk Utility in the Utilities' folder.

Have you faced the same problem when plug Seagate Drive on Mac? See these cases first:

'External hard drive became read-only after latest security update. Mac Mini: Since the security update for High Sierra 3 days ago, my Seagate external hard drive has become Read Only. Working perfectly prior. Any ideas? Has 900GB iTunes on it so I want a fix with no risk!!! Thank you.'

Seagate hard drive has got a large reach to help us store the number of files, folders, videos, and other necessary data. But good experience might be hindered by unprecedented cases. Imaged your device fails to add files and show as read-only mode...A bad day might start at that point. To fix Seagate external hard drive read-only on mac, you can read this full guide.

Workable SolutionsStep-by-step Troubleshooting
Case 1: External Hard Drive is Windows-formatted (NTFS)Check file system first > Run NTFS reader for free...Full steps
Case 2: Have no permission to Access Seagate DeviceLocate Seagate external hard drive on desktop...Full steps
Case 3: Hard disk gets corruptedOpen disk utility > Go to the External tab...Full steps

Why is My Seagate Drive Read-Only on Mac

Before taking solutions, it's better to figure out why your device turns into read-only mode. Here are three catches for 'Seagate external hard drive is read-only':

  • Reason 1: External Hard Drive is Windows-formatted (NTFS).
  • Reason 2: Have no permission to Access Seagate Device.
  • Reason 3: Hard disk gets corrupted.

In the following part, we will list the corresponding methods to fix the above three culprits. Take the detailed steps in different cases.

Data Recovery is not a challenge anymore. EaseUS serves as a dependable data recovery application to retrieve lost data within simple clicks.

How to Fix Seagate External Hard Drive Read-Only on Mac

1. Fix Windows-Formatted Drive (NTFS)

Check the File System of Seagate Hard Drive first:

Step 1. Click Go from the taskbar and select the Utilities.

Step 2. Locate Disk Utility and open it.

Step 3. Go to the left side and find your Seagate external hard drive.

Step 4. Then you can see the disk info on the right side. Check the File System line.

Next, run EaseUS NTFS for Mac to Access Hard Drive:

Generally, one easy solution is to format NTFS as APFS in disk utility. But it serves to remove all your data. If you have not contained valuable data on it. Surely formatting is enough for you. But why not try a method without a data wipe? The Seagate hard drive read-only mode can be easily changed in a click by using a third-party NTFS reader - EaseUS NTFS for Mac.

EaseUS NTFS for Mac is a robust NTFS mounter, which features to change the drive from read-only to read-write mode on the hard drive, external hard disk, SSD, USB drive, Thunderbolt drive, SD card, CF card, etc. Don't worry about Mac compatibility.

What you can get on EaseUS NTFS for Mac:

  • Automatically mount and unmount NTFS drive from Mac's status bar.
  • 1 click to turn on read-write access. (Free to write, move, edit, delete, transfer files.)
  • Safely eject Windows NTFS volume without data loss.
  • Compatible with an M1-based Mac computer and also supports macOS Big Sur, macOS Catalina, and other old versions.

Download the software and get a 7-days free trial now:

Three Steps to get read-write support:

Step 1. Launch and activate EaseUS NTFS for Mac. Click 'I already have a license' to unlock this software.

Step 2. Connect an NTFS drive to Mac, EaseUS NTFS for Mac will automatically detect the device. Select your drive and you'll see it's now marked as 'Read-only'. Click 'Enable Writable' to add read and write rights to the drive.

Step 3. When the state of NTFS drives turns into 'Writable', click 'Open'. NTFS for Mac will open the NTFS drive on Mac.

Step 4. Now, you can check, read, write, and even modify saved data on the NTFS device.

2. Change Permissions to Access Seagate Hard Drive

Step 1. Connect external hard drive on Mac computer. When your device appears on the screen, click it and press Command+I to move forward.

Step 2. Check the Sharing & Permissions tab on the bottom list of External Drive Info. Click the triangle icon on the left side.

Step 3. Go to the bottom right side and choose the lock icon. Input your password if it prompt.

Step 4. Check the 'Ignore ownership on this volume'.

Step 5. Click the gear option and choose to Apply to enclosed items...

3. Repair Corrupted Disk

Despite the above two solutions, you can resort to First Aid on Disk Utility, which can find disk errors and repair them right away.

Step 1. Open Disk Utility (Choose Finder from the dock > Click Applications > Locate and find Utilities > Run Disk Utility)

Step 2. Go to the External tab and click your Seagate hard drive. (Here we take Toshiba device as an example.)

Step 3. Click First Aid from the top taskbar. When the window pops up, click the Run button. If finished, click Done.

External Drive Not Showing Mac

Extra Tip: Format Windows NTFS Volumes to APFS/FAT32

Step 1. Launch the Disk Utility as we mentioned on fix 3.

Step 2. Click on the Erase button on the top taskbar.

Choose the file system as Apple-supported APFS or FAT32.

Concluding Thoughts

To fix Seagate external hard drive read-only on Mac, you can check three situations in this article.

  • NTFS file system - Try EaseUS NTFS for Mac.
  • Limit for Read-write access - Change settings.
  • Unknown Disk Errors - Run First Aid.

External disks such as external hard drive, thumb drives, and SD cards are frequently used as extended storage for digital devices or portable media for file sharing.

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Using physical external disks will sometimes encounter unexpected situations. For example, when you connect an external disk to a Mac, the disk becomes readable but not writable.

The read-only state could result from limited file control, unsupported NTFS access or corrupted disk protection. We will look into each cause and illustrate detailed solutions.

If you know the cause, you can jump to the specific case and find the solutions. If not, read through the article to get the read-only disk problem resolved.

Case 1: You have read-only file privilege over the external disk

It happens often if you get the disk from another hand. The previous owner has set up read-only permission to this disk to protect data from unwanted changes.

If the read-only permission was set up by third-party software, you will need the same software to change the file permission. If the permission was set up on the Mac computer, follow the following steps to change read-only files on Mac.

  • Step 1: Connect the external hard drive to the Mac and wait for it to be mounted on the desktop.
  • Step 2: Right click the icon of the external disk and select Get Info.
  • Step 3: Unfold Sharing & Permissions at the bottom. A message ” You can only read” will be shown underneath.
  • Step 4: Click on the lock at the corner and input your user name and password.
  • Step 5: Click the Read only under Privilege of your user name and select Read & Write.
  • Step 6: Click on the lock to ensure the change.

If you are the administrator of this computer, you can also tick the box in front of “Ignore ownership on this volume” and then input your admin password to be able to write to the external disk.

Case 2: macOS has read-only support to NTFS-formatted disks.

If the restrained file permission is not the cause, file system incompatibility could be the roadblock. Still in the Get Info window, under General information, you can see the Format is Windows NT File System.

NTFS is the proprietary file system by Microsoft and macOS only allows read-only access to NTFS. When using an external USB drives such as external hard drive, solid-state drive or thumb drive, you will find you can’t store any files to it and existing files are locked or read-only.

To enable full NTFS read and write access, you can modify macOS kernel extension through commands. But it will become tedious because you need to do it every time you restart your computer.

Another one-for-all solution is to back up the current files and format the disk to FAT or exFAT. The drawback is that it is time-consuming especially when you have tons of data to back up.

We recommend you install free NTFS for Mac to read/write to a Windows NTFS drive.

  • Step 1: Download iBoysoft NTFS for Mac or any other app you may be interested in.
  • Step 2: Install the app and launch it following the onscreen wizard.
  • Step 3: Read & write to NTFS-formatted disks freely if the disk is automatically mounted in read-write mode. If not, manually unmount and remount the disk by yourself.

Case 3: The external drive becomes read-only because it is corrupted.

Most times, when a disk is corrupted, the macOS is unable to mount it or shows “the disk you inserted is not readable by this computer” error when it is plugged in.

It is rare that a corrupted disk still can be viewed as usual. However, in a certain scenario, the disk still can be mounted in read-only state to prevent data overwritten from any writing activities.

This could be a warning sign that your external storage device is failing. You should get hands on saving your files and fixing the corrupted disk.

  • Step 1: Move your files to another destination to make sure they are safe before the disk completely stops working. If necessary, use professional data recovery software to restore important files.
  • Step 2: Open Disk Utility and find the disk on the right sidebar. Disk Utility can be found in Applications folder in Finder.
  • Step 3: Right-click on the disk and select Run First Aid.
  • Step 4: Eject the disk safely and reconnect it to the Mac if the disk still can’t be mounted to be editable.

First Aid can only fix minor software errors on a storage medium, so big chances are that it may fail to fix the read-only disk.

To remove all errors, you can format the disk in Disk Utility using Erase option with an adequate backup first.


When external hard drives, SD cards, or USB flash drives suddenly became read-only, don’t panic. The problem is totally solvable with free and easy solutions.

Why Is My External Hard Drive Read Only On Mac

We want to remind you again, formatting the disk to get rid of NTFS file system or repair the corrupted file system will delete all files on the portable disk, so remember to back up files first when conducting erase option.

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