Update: According to this document in homebrew-core from November 2020, Homebrew maintainers no longer update or support macFUSE formulae, and Homebrew's continuous integration doesn't test them. macFUSE formulae will eventually be removed in the indeterminate future.
ext4fuse(mentioned below in the post) is disabled:
brew install ext4fuse Error: ext4fuse has been disabled because it requires closed-source macFUSE!
The reason for this is that FUSE for macOS does not have a license that is compatible with Homebrew.
Mac does not support ext4 file system. If you plug in a hard drive, Mac won't recognize it. Fortunately, there are several ways to handle this situation.
1. Temporary options: Use VM
Just install a version of Ubuntu, or whatever your Linux distribution of choice is, in a virtual machine host like VirtualBox, then mount the drive as you would any other and read away.
2. Add ext4 support for macOS
If you regularly use ext4 formatted drives and / or need to copy multiple files from there to the macOS drive, you need a better option.
You need to install macFUSE (
osxfuse has been succeeded by
macfuse as of version 4.0.0) and
ext4fuse. The easiest way to install
ext4fuse is to use Homebrew. Note that
ext4fuse us a read-only implementation of ext4 for FUSE to browse ext4 volumes and it cannot be used to write into ext4 volumes.
First, download and install macFUSE from their releases page or install it using Homebrew.
brew install --cask macfuse
Then use Homebrew to install
brew install ext4fuse
After installing the ext4 support software, you now need to determine the hard drive you want to mount. To do this, run the following command:
Save the partition ID (will look like
/dev/disk3s1). Then, run the following command to mount the hard drive:
sudo ext4fuse /dev/disk3s1 ~/tmp/ext4_support_PARTITION -o allow_other
ext4_support above can be any name you choose. Now, navigate to the '/ tmp /' directory in the Finder and you will see the contents of the partition listed. If your drive has multiple partitions, you can mount them using the same steps as above. Just make sure to use different directory names to mount them.
Attempting to install
ext4fuse with brew results in an error. (See issue #66 on GitHub), so instead use the following commands to install it:
curl -s -o ext4fuse.rb https://gist.githubusercontent.com/n-stone/413e407c8fd73683e7e926e10e27dd4e/raw/12b463eb0be3421bdda5db8ef967bfafbaa915c5/ext4fuse.rb brew install --formula --build-from-source ./ext4fuse.rb rm ./ext4fuse.rb
Although these tools can help you read ext4 formatted hard drives, they are not stable. As long as you are mounting read-only drives, as what is being done in this solution, you will not have many risks. If you try to use these tools to write to an ext4 drive, you may lose data.
If you need to move files back and forth on a shared drive with Linux, this method is not recommended. Instead, use another file system like ExFAT or try the commercial option listed below
3. Use Paid Software
Software such as Paragon offers a free trial version, but to be safe, you should back up your hard drive first, in case there is a problem. If you want to buy software, it is available for 40$ Note: I haven't used this tool and can't say anything about what they have promised.
Although reading ext4 format on macOS is no longer an impossible task, it is frustrating when Apple does not support this format.
Try it on your own risk but I strongly recommend the first solution which is easy and convenient.
With regards to the prior answer by @Udhy only the VM option has any chance of working but with a major caveat that it is VERY slow (I never got better than 30mb/sec).
Paragon simply does not work, refuses to mount any of my EXT4 disks. Not sure why, maybe a Catalina issue? However I'm not going to pay them so they can tell me we're SOL.
ext4fuse is a waste of time, it has not supported the last 3 versions of OSX so unless you're pre-Sierra this is not an option. There's an open issue in the Github: https://github.com/gerard/ext4fuse/issues/36
It's five year's old and his last reply was 3 years ago, so don't get your hopes up.