I have a USB flash drive. I would like to use it on 3 platforms.

The problem is that, I can't find any format that supports both reading and writing on OS X, Windows and Android.

(I am now using FAT32, but Android can only read it and the max file size is 8 GB)


Currently looking at he devices you use, FAT32 is the safe choice.

You can also use an NTFS filesystem. But both OS X and Android does not support NTFS by default and you will need to do some tweaks in both of them.

Adding NTFS support to Android:

NTFS support to Android devices without root access can be added using a app Total Commander - File Manager and it's USB plugin. Further instruction can be found on this article.

References :

  1. How to Enable NTFS Support on Android: With & Without Root - Techapp.com
  2. Add NTFS Support to Your Android Device - xda-developers

Adding NTFS support to OS X:

OS X can natively mount NTFS if an UUID was added to the UUID /etc/fstab with the ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse flag. Further instruction can be found on this article.

References :

  1. How to Enable NTFS Write Support in Mac OS X - OSX daily
  2. 10.6: Enable native NTFS read/write support - Mac world
  • While links can be useful, your answer seems a little reliant on them - you might want to paraphrase the gist of what's in those links in your answer. For example "OS X may be able to natively mount NTFS simply by adding the UUID to fstab with the ntfs rw flags" – Journeyman Geek Mar 15 '16 at 0:51
  • @JourneymanGeek Use FAT32 is my primary answer to his question. He asked which format to use not how to use NTFS in android and OSX. I believe I answered his question and added links for additional reference. – Kolappan Nathan Mar 15 '16 at 0:54
  • @JourneymanGeek Modified the answer as you asked though I didn't believe it is necessary. – Kolappan Nathan Mar 15 '16 at 1:17
  • 1
    Maybe not necessary, but it makes it a much better answer. +1 – fixer1234 Mar 15 '16 at 17:05

Android (with modern Linux kernel, at least) should be able to read AND WRITE on FAT32. The max file size should normally be 4GB (and that's not a limitation of Android but the filesystem itself).

You can also consider exFAT. Android devices that supports SDXC should have driver builtin supporting this filesystem, and it should be fully (although it might not be "well") supported by Mac OS X since 10.6.5. Surely it should be well supported in Windows.

FWIW there is also a FUSE driver for Linux distros: https://github.com/relan/exfat

(Ref.: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExFAT#Adoption)

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