How to Fix Error Code 0 on Mac: A Detailed Guide

Summary: Seeing Error Code 0 can be frustrating and scary. But it is possible to fix Error Code 0 on Mac. Discover solutions, ways to recover your data, and answers to FAQs right here.

Seeing the above message when copying files from an external hard drive can be frustrating. You have some important files to move and the error isn’t letting that happen.

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Don’t worry though. Error Code 0 is a common error in Mac and can be solved.


Table of Content:

What is Error Code 0 and when does it occur?

Error Code 0 is a common error message on Mac that often appears when you are trying to copy large files from an external drive.

It is usually accompanied by the statement, “The operation can’t be completed because an unexpected error occurred”.

How to Fix Error Code 0 on Mac

The Cause Of Error Code 0

This error code is a result of the FAT32 file system’s limitation, which restricts individual file sizes to a maximum of 4GB.

Let’s understand it in detail.

Many external drives, including USB flash drives, often use the FAT or FAT32 file system. The system is well-known for its compatibility with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. However, the FAT32 file system has certain limitations. One of its significant drawbacks is its 4GB file size limit.

To avoid that, Windows primarily employs the NTFS file system today. However, FAT and FAT32 remain in use due to their cross-platform compatibility.

So when you are attempting to copy or transfer large files on your Mac exceeding this limit you are likely to encounter the Error Code 0.

Also Read: ExFAT vs NTFS vs FAT32 – A Detailed Comparison of Key File Systems

Some other reasons why you might see the Error Code 0 on Mac include

File System CompatibilityCopying files to an incompatible file system, such as HFS+ files to an NTFS-formatted drive.
Drive or File CorruptionIssues with drive health, file system errors, bad sectors, or drive corruption.
Permissions IssuesInsufficient user permissions to write to the destination folder or drive.
Filename IssuesUsing special characters, symbols, or excessively long filenames.
Software or Hardware ConflictsSoftware or hardware conflicts that interfere with file operations.
Network ProblemsNetwork interruptions or issues when copying files over a network.
Insufficient Disk SpaceTrying to copy files to a destination with insufficient available space.
Outdated SoftwareUsing outdated or incompatible software for file operations.
Third-Party SoftwareInterference from third-party applications or drivers during file transfers.

To fix Error Code 0 on Mac, you may need to address the specific cause. Some of the solutions have been detailed below.

How to Fix Error Code 0 On Mac?

Try using the following ways to fix Error Code 0 on Mac.

Method 1: Compress Large Files

Compressing large files into ZIP archives can help you bypass the 4GB file size limit of FAT32 and resolve the error.

Here’s how to compress a file to fix Error Code 0 on Mac:

Step 1: Select the file you want to copy.

Step 2: Right-click on the file and choose “Compress” 

Right-click on the file and choose

The compressed file will have a .zip extension and will be smaller in size than the original. Now try copying the compressed file to the destination.

Method 2: Split The Large File Into Smaller Parts

If you want to maintain the original file format and quality and not compress it, you can try splitting the large file into smaller parts. This allows you to bypass the 4GB limitation and fix Error Code 0 on Mac.

You can use a third-party file-splitting tool and then follow the instructions provided by the tool to split the large file.

Then try copying the smaller parts to the destination. You can use the same software to reassemble the file on the destivation drive, if necessary

Method 3: Use Terminal To Copy The File

In some situations, using the Terminal on your Mac can help you avoid Error Code 0 while moving big files. Here’s how:

Step 1: Go to Applications → Utilities → Terminal

Fix Error Code 0 on Mac

Step 2: Type sudo cp -R source_path destination_path and press Enter

Note: Replace source_path with the path of the large file and destination_path with the path of the destination where you want the file.

Step 3: You might be asked for your Mac’s admin password; enter it and press Enter.

Step 4: Wait for the process to finish.

Once the process is finished, your large file will be copied to the destination.

Method 4: Check For Disk Errors On The External Drive

Error Code 0 can sometimes be caused by disk errors. Checking and repairing the external drive can help fix Error Code 0 on Mac.

Here’s how to do that:

1: Open “Disk Utility.”

2: Select the external drive from the list on the left.

3: Click “First Aid” 

Fix Error Code 0 on Mac

4: Click “Run” to check and repair disk errors.

Once the Disk Utility returns a message saying the Disk is OK or was repaired, try copying the large file again. 

Also Read: How to Recover Deleted Files From Mac Trash?

Method 5: Ensure Your Software And Hardware Are Up-to-Date And Functioning Properly

Ensuring that your Mac’s operating system, drivers, and hardware are up-to-date might help fix Error Code 0 on Mac.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Check for macOS updates by going to the Apple menu > “System Preferences” > “Software Update.”

Fix Error Code 0 on Mac

2. Update your external drive’s drivers or firmware, if applicable.
3. Ensure that your hardware connections are secure and functioning correctly.

What If nothing Can Fix Error Code 0 On Mac?

If none of the methods above work, you can try formatting te drive.

Important: Please note that reformatting will erase all data on the drive, so back up your files before proceeding.

Here’s how you can format your drive:

1: Plug the external drive into your Mac.

2: Open “Disk Utility.”

3: Pick your external drive from the list on the left.

4: Go to the “Erase” section.

5: Choose a system like exFAT and give a name to the drive.

6: Click “Erase” to format.

Can Error Code 0 Lead to Data Loss?

Error Code 0 itself does not lead to data loss. It’s simply an error message indicating that a file transfer or copy operation has failed due to the limitations of the file system.

However, the actions you take in response to Error Code 0 can potentially lead to data loss. 

For example, if you attempt to reformat the destination drive or make significant changes without proper backup or precautions, you could inadvertently erase data and lead to data loss.

How To Recover Your Data?

If you accidentally lose data while trying to fix Error Code 0 on Mac, do not panic. 

You can still get your data back by using reliable data recovery software like Stellar Data Recovery For Mac.

Stellar Data Recovery For Mac – Your Data Recovery Solution

Stellar Data Recovery for Mac is your go-to DIY tool for effortlessly recovering deleted files on all Mac devices. Compatible with macOS Ventura and earlier OS versions, it ensures accurate and efficient data retrieval from various scenarios.

Also Read: How to Get Activation Key of Stellar Data Recovery for Mac

With this tool, you can recover:

  • Deleted documents, emails, videos, audio, and photos
  • Data from crashed or non-booting Macs
  • Data from USB corruption, partition loss, and unrecognized drives
  • Data lost from MacBook, iMac, MacBook Pro, and other Mac devices

Also Read: Mac Documents Folder Emptied Suddenly – How to Recover Data?

Plus, you can download the free version to scan and preview your lost or deleted files.

Here’s the simple 3-step process to use Stellar Data Recovery for Mac:

Stellar Data Recovery for Mac

Also Read: Top 10 Data Recovery Software for Mac [2023]


1. What is the difference between FAT32 and NTFS?

FAT32 is the older file system, limited to 4GB file sizes. NTFS is a modern system that supports larger files and advanced features.

2. Is it safe to use third-party file-splitting tools?

Third-party file-splitting tools can be useful, but it’s essential to choose a reputable and trusted tool to avoid potential issues or security risks.

3. How can I prevent Error Code 0 in the future?

To avoid Error Code 0,

  • Use NTFS for large files
  • Avoid special characters and long filenames
  • Keep Mac and software updated, and 
  • Regularly check external drive health.

Don’t let Error Code 0 scare you, use the right method to fix it and keep your data safe. 

Also Read: Comprehensive Guide on How to use Stellar Data Recovery for Mac?

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