Fix Mac Error Code 36

Mac users encounter error code 36 when copying files or folders to or from an external drive. The error is known to occur with microSD cards, flash drives, and external HDD or SSD drives. Although it happens on rare occasions, the error code 36 can completely halt the copy process or move the Mac OS X Finder process.

If you’ve faced the Mac Error Code 36 issue and looking for ways to fix it, you’re in the right place. Here, we’ll show you what error code 36 is, what causes it, and how to fix it.

What is Mac Error Code 36?

When you experience the error code 36, it will explain what has occurred. For instance, if you were copying photos, the full message will read: “The Finder can’t complete the operation because some data is in .DS_Store can’t be read or written (Error code -36)”.

The error code 36 on Mac is an I/O (Input-Output) error. Its functions indicate that either the SD/microSD card has failed/is failing, or Mac is experiencing an incompatibility with the SD/microsSD reader. Aside from that, the error can sometimes signal that your Mac’s internal drive is starting to fail.

What Causes Error Code 36 on Mac?

The Mac error code 36 is a system error. Users often observe the problem when they transfer folders from a Windows-compatible volume to a Mac OS X.

The causes of the Finder error code 36 on a Mac include:

  • Corrupted files
  • Malware entities or computer viruses
  • Cached files
  • Your Mac OS system is out of date (allowing a small bug on Mac Mini servers to interfere with the copy-paste)
  • Overprotective antivirus program

How to Fix Mac Error Code 36

Use the following solutions to fix the error code 36 on Mac. You don’t have to follow them in their order of listing.

Preliminary Workarounds

Before proceeding to the solutions to fix the Mac error code 36, we recommend that you perform the following preliminary operations to be sure that the problem is not a system error:

  1. Eject the external drive you’re using and attach it back to your Mac, then see if the problem persists
  2. Restart your Mac and see if the problem is still there

If the problem persists, use the following solutions to fix error code-36 on Mac:

Fix #1: Scan your Mac with a professional antivirus

Scan your Mac with a trustworthy antivirus software program. A malware or virus attack is the most prominent cause of error 36 on Macs. A full system scan using a quality antivirus can quickly solve this issue.

Note: If you still experience the problem, you can consider temporarily uninstalling the antivirus program. Some users have noted that uninstalling the AV application can help fix the error code 36 on Macs. Once the error code is resolved, reinstall the antivirus software program again to ensure protection.

Fix #2: Run ‘dot_clean’ from Terminal

If you’re experiencing the Mac error code 36 issue, running the dot_clean utility will help remove (delete) the hidden redundant “dot-underscore” data in the external drive (flash drive, SD card, HDD, or SSD).

To run the dot_clean utility:

  1. Launch Terminal (Applications > Utilities).
  2. Into the Terminal, type dot_clean, and a single space.
  3. Drag the external drive (flash drive or sd card) icon to the terminal window.
  4. This will add the proper /path/folder syntax to the terminal window command.
  5. Press Return to execute the ‘dot_clean’ command.

Fix #3: Update your macOS to the latest version

The Mac error code 36 issue is specific to some macOS versions, particularly macOS version 10.9.2 and below. Users of this version frequently report the error on both Mac mini servers and end-user versions.

Some users who’ve experienced mac error code 36 report that updating their Mac machine to the latest available version helped fix the issue.

To update your Mac:

  1. At the bottom of the screen, use the action bar to click on the System Preferences icon.
  2. In the system preferences, locate and click Software Update.
  3. The Software Update utility will begin scanning for new updates. Don’t close the window until the process completes.
  4. If the utility finds a new OS version, click Update Now to update your Mac.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to update.

After the next restart, check if the process has helped you fix the error code 36 on Mac.

Fix #4: Run the Disk Utility on the affected drive

Suppose you’ve established that an internal drive or SD card is causing the error code 36 on your Mac, in that case, you can consider the possibility that the internal drive is beginning to fail or the SD card is incompatible. Running Disk Utility First Aid on the drive/SD card should to fix the issue.

To run Disk Utility:

  1. At the action bar at the top of the screen, Click Finder App.
  2. In the Finder App, click Go.
  3. In the Menu list, click Utilities.
  4. From the list of available utilities, double-click on Disk Utility.
  5. In the Disk Utility, start by selecting your Boot drive, then click on the First Aid Icon (at the top of the screen).
  6. On the confirmation prompt, click Run to start the process.

The utility will check and repair errors. If it does not identify any mac errors, it will show you a success message (green tick), indicating no issues.

Note: If you have more than one drive, repeat steps 4 to 6 with the other drives (including any SD cards) until you’ve analyzed every drive, then restart your Mac, and see if the issue is resolved.

Wrapping Up

Fixing the Mac Error Code 36 may appear difficult. However, with little patience and careful application of the methods we’ve shared here, you can easily fix it. We believe you found this post helpful. You can share with us your comments or feedback in the comments section.

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