Can Mac write to exFAT

Format ExFAT for Mac, Windows and Linux

Those who (often) want to transfer data between Mac and PC (via external medium) are faced with the problem that the Mac naturally cannot write NTFS / FAT 32 and FAT cannot save files larger than 4GB. So what to do ExFAT is a wonderful file system that you can use on Mac, Windows and Linux at the same time. How to format and set up ExFAT ...

In this post, I'll tell you how you can format an external hard drive for Mac and Windows so that it can be fully used on Mac, Windows (and Linux) (i.e. also with write access) - and all without external software or drivers need to install.

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Format ExFAT as a common file system for an external hard drive on Mac and Windows

So that a PC (Windows or Linux) and a Mac can read and write files larger than 4 GB on an external hard drive, the hard drive must be saved as a ExFAT format! Then both the Mac and the PC can write and read data - and that larger than 4GB! The ExFAT file system was originally developed for USB sticks and SD cards in order to create greater mutual usability between peripheral devices and other operating systems, but can of course also function as a file system on hard drives. No other file system is as flexible for data exchange as ExtFAT.

Format ExFAT on Mac

Around ExFAT To format with a Mac (OS X 10.6.5 or higher), you have to start the "Disk Utility" in Spotlight and select "Erase with ExFAT" for the external hard disk:

Use ExFAT on the Mac

So far, I have seen practically no disadvantages with external hard drives formatted with ExFAT on the Mac. Ok, you can't create a TimeMachine backup on it, but I don't want that with an external hard drive that is supposed to serve as an "exchange disk" between several systems due to the system.

Format ExFAT in Windows 7

It is very easy to format ExFAT on Windows 7. Everything you need is already included in Windows 7. So you can use an (external) drive under Windows 7 with ExFAT format

  1. Open Windows Explorer and right-click on the drive that should be formatted with exFAT.
  2. Select "Format" in the menu
  3. Then you choose the dropdown for filesystem exFAT.
  4. Click on start

Danger. With this you overwrite all data on the medium.

Use ExFAT under Windows

So far I have seen practically no disadvantages with external hard drives formatted with ExFAT Windows. In theory, there are in fact differences that may be important for you:

exFAT vs. NTFS


Which format exFAT or NTFS should I use? Well that all depends on what you want to do with it. If you only want to use a hard drive for Windows use, then you should definitely choose NFTS because:

  • The exFAT file system cannot be compressed compared to NTFS.
  • exFAT does not offer redundant storage of the "master data". So peeling off the plate while writing is dangerous.
  • the performance of exFAT is better than that of NTFS on smaller drives. NTFS is only performant with larger drives.

exFAT or NTFS for USB stick?

ExFAT was developed for USB sticks. NTFS has been developed for larger hard disks with proper access rights management. You usually don't need them on a USB stick. One USB stick so you should always format with exFAT. Then it can easily be read on as many systems as possible. No matter whether on a Mac, Linux or Windows PC. NTFS, on the other hand, is a proprietary Windows file system and can be read by Linux and Mac, but not written!

exFAT or NTFS for external hard drive

Whether you are using exFAT or NTFS for an external hard drive, it is important to know what you want to do with that hard drive. Large partitions are faster under NTFS under Windows, but can only be written by Windows. If you want to exchange data between as many operating systems as possible on the external hard drive, I can highly recommend exFAT. If you only want to use the external hard drive for yourself and under Windows, then you should format NTFS as the file system. If rights management under Windows is also important on the external hard drive, then you cannot ignore NTFS. ExFAT has no rights management.

exFAT vs. FAT32

Are you wondering whether you should format exFAT or FAT32? The answer is simple: If you don't want to save files> 4GB, format FAT32 - if you do, use exFAT. Why? Therefore:
- Compared to FAT32, exFAT has one big advantage: It can save files with a file size of more than 4GB - FAT32 cannot!
- Of course, FAT32 also has an advantage. Because it is so old, it is de facto standard. It is supported by every smart TV, every DVD player and every game console with a USB port.

Use ExFAT with Linux

Can I use ExFAT with Linux? Yes. Ubuntu ver.> 11.10 supported ExFAT By default. So is ExFAT the ideal file system to exchange data between Mac, Windows and Linux without restrictions!

Can DVD players or televisions read ExFAT?

Unfortunately, most televisions, DVD or Blu Ray players cannot ExFAT read, so this tip is unfortunately not suitable for a shared hard drive for video playback hardware.

Are there disadvantages with ExFAT?

exFAT has no redundant storage of the "master data". Removing the disk while writing can easily and efficiently destroy the file system. So always throw it clean.

The maximum exFAT file size

The maximum exFAT file size is 16 exabytes = 16 * 1024 petabytes = 16 * 1024 * 1024 terabytes = 16 * 1024 * 1024 * 1024 gigabytes = 17,179,869,184 gigabytes. Should be enough for most applications :-)

Conclusion exFAT

My wife has a PC and I have a Mac. We save our photos and videos of our son on a shared hard drive (FireWire NAS RAID 1). We have a big problem with this: The Mac naturally cannot write NTFS and FAT cannot store data larger than 4GB. (The Mac cannot format FAT 32). exFAT is THE solution to still be able to store larger films on the shared NAS! This has been working very well for several years now.

Hi, my name is Viktor. In this blog you will find technology and gadget reviews as well as tutorials. There should be an abbreviation for you in your technical questions so that you can have the best experience with technology.

I am a technology and gadget enthusiast who would like to share my passion for technology with others. My goal is to bring technology enthusiasts and newbies together to share knowledge through reviews, tutorials, guides and personal testimonials. I am happy to show you alternatives to expensive branded technology so that you can often save money.

Who am I and what am I doing? Computer scientist since 2010 | Digital native since 1995 | Content Creator | Affiliate | SEO | Social Media Management & Advertising | Media & Design Coordination | HighTicket eCommerce shop operator for sleep optimization | Biohacker

Technickr> Mac> Format ExFAT for Mac, Windows and Linux

Published on: 08/07/2014

Last update: January 14th, 2021