Fix; Cannot copy files to an external drive on a Mac:

You can’t copy files to an external drive on a Mac – this is one of the problems faced by primary Windows users who find themselves on macOS. As for the data and its backup, you may have already encountered the number 3. This determines the minimum number of places where you should have your data, which you do not want to lose, backed up. Maybe that’s why you bought external storage to back up this data to it. But what to do if your Mac can’t record the required data to disk? To explain: you should have your data backed up in three places. These are the  computer on which, for some reason, they need  external storage , which is ideally located outside the location of the computer and the  cloud. . External storage has the advantage of being off-line, and when it is located outside the home or office, for example, there is no risk of its destruction by natural disasters. The cloud is then a logical solution given the current time. For a small fee, this is a convenient solution that you can access from anywhere – regardless of the device and location.

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When you buy a new external / hard drive, or even a flash drive, regardless of SSD or HDD technology, whether it has USB-C or just USB, if it does not note that it is intended for use with Mac computers, you will not be able to access it after connection upload data. If it already contains some, you will be able to download them, but you will not add others to them. This is because manufacturers can only format a disc in one format. And how many more computers are in the world? Those with Windows or macOS? Yes, the first answer is correct. Therefore, it is common for the disk to be formatted more for use with the Windows operating system and is therefore in NTFS format. And that’s what he only half understands with Mac. In the case of a new disk, it is enough to format it, in the case of an already used disk, you must first decide what to do with the data it already contains, otherwise you will lose them during formatting.

Cannot copy files to an external drive on a Mac: How do I?

  • Open the  Disk Utility application.
    • By default, you can find it in the  Launchpadin the Other folder You can use Spotlight to start it . 
  • You should see the already connected disk on theleft side  . If not, select View -> Show All Devices. 
  • Select the discyou want to format in the sidebar  . 
  • Click the Delete button  on the toolbar. 
  • Click the Formatpop-up menu  . 
  • Select one of the options below. You can learn more about formats at the end of the article.
    • MS-DOS (FAT) : Ideally select this format if the disk is no larger than 32 GB.
    • ExFAT : Ideally select this format if the disc is larger than 32 GB.
  • Enter the desired name,which cannot be longer than 11 characters.
  • Please note once again that confirmation will delete all data from the formatted disk!
  • Click Deleteand then  Done

What do the individual formats mean?


NTFS  (New Technology File System) is a term in computer science for a file system developed by Microsoft for its Windows NT family of operating systems. The NTFS file system was designed in the late 1980s as an extensible file system that can be adapted to new requirements. In developing NTFS, Microsoft used the knowledge from the development of HPFS, in which it cooperated with IBM. 


FAT  stands for File Allocation Table. This is a table containing information about disk occupancy in a file system created for DOS. At the same time, it refers to the file system. Used to find a file (allocation) that is written to disk. 


In 1997, a version called FAT32 was released  . Delivers 32-bit cluster addresses, where the allocation unit number uses 28 bits. This increases the partition size limit to 8 TiB for a 32 kiB cluster and the file size to 4 GB, so it is not suitable for storing large files such as DVD images, large video files and the like. We do not recommend using FAT32 nowadays, precisely because of the maximum size limit for a single file, which is 4 GB. 


In 2007, Microsoft introduced the patented  exFAT . The new file system was simpler than NTFS and similar to FAT, but was not fully compatible. Support started with Windows 7 in 2009. The exFAT system is mainly used for SDXC cards. You can easily upload files larger than 4 GB, which is not possible with FAT32.


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