I'm copying a big archive of files from a Linux host to an external USB hard drive, that will then plug into a macOS host. The copy should preserve the archive's many symbolic links (ln -s). What filesystem should I format the external disk as?

  • Not exFAT, because that doesn't support symlinks.
  • ext4 can be mounted only read-only, via e.g. ext4fuse.
  • Something else, that can mount read-write? (Must also be writable by the original Linux host, Ubuntu 16.04.)

1 Answer 1


HFS+ (Mac OS Extended Journaled)


  • Supports Symlinks
  • Read/write on macOS natively
  • Easy installation for read/write on Linux

See this for Linux installation tutorial.

  • Yes, but disable journalling so Linux can write to it. Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 18:27
  • If you format it on Linux with apt-get install gparted hfsprogs; gparted /dev/sdd and choosing HFS+ in the menu, then Linux can read and write. Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 18:55

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