How to Format USB or External Hard Drive to NTFS on Mac/PC
If you want to format a USB flash drive or external hard drive to NTFS, you can check the step-by-step guide below for how to format USB to NTFS on Mac/PC.
How to Format a USB Flash Drive to NTFS on Mac
Method 1. Try Disk Utility
For newer macOS versions, you may use the built-in Disk Utility app to format USB or external hard drive to NTFS format. Follow the steps below.
Step 1. Connect the USB flash drive or external hard drive to your Mac. You may need to use a USB adapter for MacBook Pro/Air.
Step 2. Click Spotlight to search for Disk Utility to open Disk Utility on your Mac. You can also find and launch the Disk Utility app from Applications > Utilities.
Step 3. In the left sidebar of Disk Utility, you can see all connected drives. Select the USB flash drive or external hard drive that you want to format to NTFS. Make sure to select the right drive.
Step 4. Click the Erase button on the toolbar of Disk Utility. In the new window, click the drop-down icon next to Format and select Windows NTFS format. Choose GUID Partition Map scheme.
Step 5. After the configuration, click the Erase button to start formatting the USB or external hard drive to NTFS on Mac.
Method 2. Use Terminal
If you are familiar with Mac Terminal commands, you can also use Terminal to format a USB or external hard drive to NTFS on Mac.
Step 1. Connect the USB flash drive or external hard drive to your Mac. Launch the Terminal app on your Mac via Spotlight.
Step 2. Type
diskutil list command and press Enter. This will display the information of all detected drives on your Mac. Note down the identifier of the target drive.
Step 3. Type
diskutil eraseDisk NTFS LABEL /dev/diskx command. Replace “LABEL” with the new name you want to give to the drive. Replace “diskx” with the exact disk number like disk2. Press Enter to start formatting the USB/HDD to NTFS with Terminal.
How to Format USB to NTFS on Windows 10/11
The easiest way to format a USB flash drive to NTFS is to use Windows File Explorer. Check the steps below.
Step 1. Connect the USB drive to your Windows PC.
Step 2. Press Windows + E or double-click This PC to open File Explorer.
Step 3. In File Explorer, right-click the target USB drive under This PC or Devices and Drives. Select the Format option.
Step 4. In the “Format” window, choose NTFS as the file system and optionally type a volume label for the drive.
Step 5. Tick “Quick Format” and click Start to begin formatting the USB drive to NTFS.
These steps also work for formatting an external hard drive to NTFS on Windows 10/11.
NTFS Compatibility on Mac
Before you format USB/HDD to NTFS, please be aware that NTFS is a file system primarily used by Windows and macOS doesn’t support writing to NTFS drives. You can read from NTFS drives on Mac without any issues, but writing to them requires additional third-party NTFS for Mac software.
Therefore, if you need to use the drive on both Mac and Windows systems, exFAT is a better format than NTFS. You can easily format the drive to exFAT on Mac or PC.