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How to Fix Mac Error Code -36 [Solved]

What Is Error Code -36?

Are you experiencing Mac Error Code -36? This article will help you solve it.

Mac Error Code -36 is an error related to Finder – a file system tool that can be described as the macOS version of Windows Explorer. This error code appears when using Finder to copy or transfer files to or from an external drive. The complete error message says the following:

The Finder can’t complete the operation because some data in “FileName” can’t be read or written. (Error code -36).

Continue reading to learn what is causing the Mac Error Code -36 to appear, and what to do to fix it.

Error Code 101 How to Fix It

Mac Error Code -36 Details

Name Mac Error Code -36
Type Hard drive error
Short Description The Finder can’t complete the operation because some data in “FileName” can’t be read or written.
Symptoms Failing to copy or transfer files.
Program Finder on macOS
Fix Tool Try this fix to repair your Mac from errors and optimise system performance:



What Is Causing Mac Error Code -36?

Error code -36 is related to Finder actions such as moving, copying, or deleting files. It usually means that the Finder cannot access some or all data in the file. The error message will display which file is causing issues. The file name may have a ‘.’ before its name, and an ‘_’ later in the name. An example of this is ‘.DS_Store’. This ‘.’ means the file is hidden in the Finder. The error code -36 indicates that the file cannot be read or written.

When Error -36 appears, it typically means that a file with a dot (.) and an underscore (_) in its name has become corrupted or has some other issue. This prevents the Finder from being able to transfer, delete, or move the files because it cannot access the required information.

To sum it up, the reasons for this error message to appear could be the following:

  • Damaged or corrupted files on the external drive;
  • A pending update of the operating system;
  • A malware-related problem.

Is Mac Error Code -36 Dangerous?

This answer depends on the cause of the error. In most cases, the error is related to data transfer, and it shows up when using Finder to copy or transfer files to or from an external drive. However, there may be cases when a malicious program is causing it.

How to Fix Mac Error Code -36?

There are several fixes you can try to solve this error.

Option 1. Run the dot_clean command in Terminal

  1. Open the Terminal application.
  2. Type the dot_clean command and hit the Return key.
  3. Drag the problematic folder that you failed to copy into the Terminal box. Once loaded, hit the Return key again.
  4. Once you’ve completed these actions, you can attempt to perform the same action again and see whether the error appears.

Option 2. Allow full access to the problematic file/folder

This solution will help you, if the error is related to your account lacking privileges to change the problematic folder or file. You can fix that by logging in your administrator account and changing the file property to allow full access to the said file/folder.

  1. Right-click the folder or file that triggered the Error Code -36.
  2. Select Get Info.
  3. Uncheck the Locked option under the General Tab.
  4. Go to Sharing & Permissions, and make sure your account has read and write permissions to the said file or folder.

Option 3. Use Disk Utility’s First Aid

Since this error is related to a hard drive, using the First Aid in Disk Utility may do the trick of fixing it. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open Finder and select Applications, then Utilities.
  2. Double-click Disk Utility to start it.
  3. From its sidebar, choose the hard drive that caused the error to appear.
  4. Click First Aid and wait for the repair process to finish.

This should have resolved the Mac Error Code -36. However, if the problem persists, continue with the last two options.

Option 4: Install the latest updates of your OS.

Go to System Preferences – Software Update and check whether a newer macOS version is available for download. You will see a button to install it and Upgrade, if it is available.

Option 5: Scan your computer for errors and optimise it automatically.

If you have tried most of the fixes, but you keep getting error messages, consider checking your Mac for:

You can do all of this by running an automatic scan of your computer using a professional anti-malware program.



Spy Hunter scanner will only detect the problem. If you want the issue to be automatically removed, you need to purchase the full version of the anti-malware tool.Find Out More About SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool / How to Uninstall SpyHunter

Mac Errors – Frequently Asked Questions

What are Mac Errors?

Mac errors are faulty problems of macOS. They are different types, affecting various programs running on your Mac.

Since macOS is frequently updated, it is easier to fix such errors, due to the way this operating system is constructed.

What Do Mac Error Codes Mean?

Error Codes on Mac are how your macOS explains the different types of problems that can occur on it. The number of the Mac Error code pops up on your screen, and it shows you the error with some explanatory text to help you fix it.

These error codes exist for both small and bigger problems, and in some cases, they can mean that there is a significant issue with your device.

Why Do I See Errors On My Mac?

The reasons may vary. These can be due to a badly written code, faulty software, external app modifying your app, incompatibility, problems with the resources required to run the app, and even a Mac malware infection.

What Types of Mac Errors Exist?

Just like with Windows devices, there are some general error types with Mac as well, including:

  • Runtime Errors – when you execute a program and it fails due to badly written code, incompatibility with the program and web servers or other problems, like malware.
  • Logic Errors – something in the logic makes the program fail to return results.
  • Arithmetic Errors – a type of logic error, which involves miscalculation due to an erroneous configuration or code that does not fit the same logic as the system reads it.
  • Resource Errors – when your device does not meet the resources required to run a program or if the program is coded faulty, so it requires more resources than necessary.
  • Interface Errors – when there is a difference between what an app is meant to do and what it actually does.
  • Compilation Errors – when the compiler of a software fails to turn complicated code into a simple language, understandable by your Mac.

Which are The Most Common Mac Errors?

According to different sources and online forums, the most commonly encountered errors on Mac carry the following codes:

  • Error Code 36 – when Finder fails to read or write a file on your Mac.
  • Error Code 41 – caused by malware, outdated software or corrupted files and directories.
  • Error Code 50 – when you fail to copy and paste a file onto another drive, like USB or an external SSD or HDD.
  • Error Code 2003F – it shows up when you try reinstalling your macOS in Recovery Mode. Possible causes include bad sectors in the hard disk, malware, etc.

What to Do If I See a Mac Error?

If you see an error on your Mac, your first job is to check the meaning of it. Then, you can see reputable forums, like Apple Discussions or SensorsTechForum in order to find different types of fixes for the problem.

How to Stop Getting Mac Errors?

You cannot. As long as there are people writing the code, there will always be the human error factor. However, there are several measures that you can take in order to significantly reduce the chance of getting a Mac Error:

  1. Check and update your Mac and your Apps (if possible) to the latest version on a daily basis.
  2. Install a relevant and reputable anti-malware for Mac.
  3. Install an optimizer for your Mac, which will keep all your apps updated, remove junk software, and improve your Mac’s health.
  4. Only install apps from trusted sources.

Milena Dimitrova

An inspired writer and content manager who has been with SensorsTechForum since the project started. A professional with 10+ years of experience in creating engaging content. Focused on user privacy and malware development, she strongly believes in a world where cybersecurity plays a central role. If common sense makes no sense, she will be there to take notes. Those notes may later turn into articles! Follow Milena @Milenyim

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