How Can I Fix Error Code 36 on MacOS Finder

So, just imagine you’re in the midst of transferring files on your trusty Mac, everything seems to be going smoothly, and then suddenly, a cryptic message appears – Error Code 36. For many macOS users, this enigmatic error can be a source of frustration and confusion. What does it mean? And more importantly, how can it be fixed?

Error Code 36

This guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to overcome it. Whether you’re a seasoned Mac user or just getting acquainted with the platform, this comprehensive walkthrough will provide step-by-step solutions to tackle this pesky issue.

From understanding the underlying causes to implementing effective troubleshooting techniques, we’ll cover it all. So, if you’ve ever encountered Error Code 36 Mac external drive or want to be prepared for when it inevitably strikes, read on.

Let’s dive into the world of macOS troubleshooting and get your files back on track!

Also read: Apple macOS 14 Sonoma Released – Is Your Mac on the List?

What is Error Code 36 on macOS?

Error Code 36 is commonly associated with external drives on macOS. This error often occurs when users attempt to copy or move files from their Mac to an external storage device or vice versa. It can be particularly frustrating for those relying on external drives for backup or additional storage. Resolving this issue involves addressing potential compatibility issues, file system inconsistencies, or hardware problems related to the external drive.

How to Fix Error Code 36 on Mac: 5 Simple Solutions!

Solution 1: Run the dot-clean Command in Terminal

One of the most effective methods to tackle Mac Finder error code 36 involves utilizing a command-line tool called ‘dot-clean’ in the Terminal. This command is designed to clean up inconsistencies and hidden files that may be causing the error. Here’s how you can do it:

Step 1: Open Terminal. You can find it in the Utilities folder within Applications, or quickly search for it using Spotlight.

Open Terminal

Step 2: In the Terminal, use the ‘cd’ command followed by the directory path. For example, if the problematic folder is on the desktop, type cd Desktop.

Step 3: Type dot_clean followed by a space, and then drag and drop the problematic folder into the Terminal window. Press Enter.

Terminal window

dot_clean /path/to/problematic/folder

Make sure to replace “/path/to/problematic/folder” with the actual path of your folder.

Step 4: The dot-clean command will initiate the cleanup process. Allow it to finish.

This method often resolves Error Code 36 by rectifying any hidden file or metadata discrepancies that might be causing the issue. If the problem persists, don’t worry; we have additional solutions lined up to help you overcome this frustrating error.

Also read: How To Fix Error Code -8084 On Mac

Solution 2: Use Disk Utility First Aid

If Error Code 36 persists, another powerful tool at your disposal is Disk Utility’s First Aid. This tool can identify and repair minor file system issues on your external drive. Here’s how you can use it:

Step 1: Open Spotlight (Cmd + Space) and type “Disk Utility”, then press Enter. Alternatively, navigate to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.

Disk Utility

Step 2: In the left sidebar, locate and select the external drive displaying the error. At the top of the Disk Utility window, click on “First Aid”.

Step 3: Click “Run” to start the First Aid process. This will check and repair any minor file system issues on the drive. Allow the process to complete. This may take some time, depending on the size and condition of the drive.

Disk Utility option

Step 4: After successfully completing First Aid, attempt the file transfer again.

Running First Aid with Disk Utility can often rectify underlying file system problems that lead to error code 36 Mac external drive. If the issue persists, we have more solutions to explore. Keep reading for further troubleshooting steps.

Also read: How to Fix Zsh: Permission Denied in the Terminal on Mac

Solution 3: Check If The File Has Read And Write Permissions

Before copying files, ensure they have the correct Read/Write permission. If not, grant the necessary permission to prevent any transfer errors. Follow one of these steps:

If your account has Read access, grant Read/Write permission. Navigate to the Permission and Sharing options in Finder and set it to Everyone.

Music info

Alternatively, take ownership of the files being transferred to an external storage device, then proceed with the copying process. This should hopefully prevent Mac Finder error code 36 from occurring.

Solution 4: Use a Different File Transfer Method

If Error Code 36 persists, consider using an alternative file transfer method. Instead of relying on drag-and-drop or copy-paste within the Finder, try using a different application or method to move the files.

Options like using the command-line interface or a dedicated file transfer tool can sometimes bypass this error. This approach might circumvent any underlying issues with the Finder’s default file-handling process.

Also read: How To Get Rid Of Core Services UI Agent On Mac

Solution 5: Update macOS and Disk Utility

Outdated system software or Disk Utility may contribute to Error Code 36. Ensure your macOS and Disk Utility are up-to-date. Check for any available system updates and apply them.

Update macOS

Then, open Disk Utility and perform any updates available for that tool. These updates can contain important bug fixes and improvements that might resolve the issue.


The Error Code 36 on Mac can be a vexing obstacle. However, armed with these solutions, you’re well-equipped to tackle it head-on. From using Terminal commands to checking file permissions and exploring alternative transfer methods, we’ve covered a range of strategies. Remember, each solution is a valuable tool in your troubleshooting arsenal.

By applying these steps diligently, you’ll likely bid farewell to Error Code 36 and ensure smoother file operations on your Mac. Don’t let technical hiccups hold you back – take charge, and keep your workflow seamless. Follow us on social media – FacebookInstagram and YouTube.

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