What is Finder error code 36

“The Finder can’t complete the operation because some data in “FileName” can’t be read or written. (Error code -36)” – is the type of error message one can receive while copying, deleting, or transferring data on Mac. The error message usually contains a file with the .DS.Store extension. The .DS.Store files are known as hidden cached files created by macOS. The error 36 indicates they are more likely corrupted, which leads to problems with performing different file operations. In most reported cases, it appeared when trying to copy or transfer files from external storage units like SSD, HDD, microSD, and other USB drives. However, it is not excluded that the same error may pop when trying to delete files as well. Error 36 is normally categorized as an Input/Output error. It means there is likely to be some file corruption or incompatibility with the file system used by Mac and the file being transferred – just as we mentioned above. Usually, the reasons mentioned above are most common to cause issues like error 36. The question of how such incompatibility and corruption problems occur may have different causes. We will discuss them with corresponding solutions in our tutorial below.

finder error code 36

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There are special repair utilities for Mac, that can solve problems related to file system or app malfunction, virus infection. We recommend you to use CleanMyMac to fix the “Finder error code 36” in MacOS.

1. Ensure your macOS is up-to-date

It is no news that many system-related problems can be solved easily by downloading new OS updates. Outdated software may contain some bugs or flaws, which are potentially solved in newer releases. If you do not remember the last time your system was updated, checking for updates is definitely worth it. If you are unsure what to do in order to check it, use our quick instructions below:

  1. Go to Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen and choose System Preferences.
  2. Then, click Software update and choose Update Now to install the latest update available for your current version.
  3. If you don’t see this button, this means your system is already up-to-date.

2. Modify File Permissions

While this should be defined by default and not create any above-mentioned problems, something could still go wrong with permissions and sharing options of files. It is important that the file you are trying to copy is given the Read-Write permission. Your system may prompt error 36 due to not-granted permissions, which prevents it from transferring files as needed. Thus, do the following to make sure such permissions are allowed to Everyone.

  1. Select a disk or folder you are trying to copy to on your Mac.
  2. Then, choose File and Get Info.
  3. In the opened tab, expand Sharing & Permissions options.
  4. If the lock in the bottom right corner is locked, click on it and enter your account details to be able to apply the further listed changes.

  5. Next, click on a user or group in the Name column and then choose a privilege setting from the pop-up menu.
  6. Make sure the selected user or group is granted the Read & Write permission.

After doing these steps, try to perform file operations again. If you encounter the same problem again, move on to other possible solutions below.

3. Disable third-party antivirus

Some users reported BitDefender, an anti-malware program, could be involved in causing interference with file transferring settings. As a solution, try to disable the antivirus for the time being and see if that resolves the issue. Even if you have some other antivirus installed, turn it off as well. If switching your antivirus off showed positive results, you can contact the support team to find out why such an incompatibility happens. You can also try to change your current antivirus for something else. Malwarebytes is one of those we recommend to our readers. A big and constantly updating database with various features will keep your Mac strongly protected. The program also offers a 14-day period of full-fledged anti-malware experience completely for free to try out their software. You can download it via this button below.

4. Run the dot_clean command

Error 36 can appear due to mismanagement with the .DS.Store files. Dot_clean is a command one can enter into the Terminal to delete redundant files and make sure there is nothing corrupted in there. Although it should not be necessary to run this command after 2021 update releases, the error may still forward its presence. Thus, make sure you have your system updated before trying this specific solution. Note that this method works if you are trying to transfer files from Mac to some external storage. Before running the necessary command, we advise you to back up important data in case something goes wrong during the process.

  1. Navigate to Finder > Applications > Utilities and open Terminal by double-clicking on it.
  2. Copy-paste dot_clean and press the Return button on your keyboard.
  3. Then, drag and drop the folder (that you are failing to copy) into the Terminal window.
  4. Once the process is finished, close the console and try to perform the same file operation you struggled with before.

5. If you are unable to empty deleted files from Trash

Although error 36 is usually related to problems with transferring files, it may also appear when trying to empty deleted files from Trash. It is possible that your macOS drive runs into compatibility issues with the connected external storage while performing operations with files. This can be potentially solved by running First Aid in Disk Utility on macOS. The feature is designed to detect problems with drives and fix them if possible. Do this in the following steps:

  1. On top of the left corner desktop, navigate to Go > Utilities and double-click on Disk Utility.
  2. Once the application is opened, choose your native drive involved in transferring files and click First Aid at the top.
  3. Follow the on-screen instruction and wait until the disk analysis is done.
  4. Now do the same with the external drive involved in transferring files.

After checking both drives for problems and fixing them if found, check whether the same error is prompted.

6. Format the connected drive

One and last reason that could indicate the 36 error is when a formatting type of external drive is incompatible with macOS. The solution is to try and reformat the connected drive in the proper way. Note that formatting leads to the complete erasing of data, so make sure you do a backup of it. After the backup is made, or you are convinced there is nothing important to lose, proceed to the following steps:

  1. Like we did in the solution above, navigate to Go > Utilities and double-click on Disk Utility.
  2. On the left-pane side, select your connected external drive and click on Erase on top of the window.
  3. If you are using a 32 GB drive (or less), set Format to MS-DOS (FAT). If you are using a drive of 64 GB or larger, choose Ex-FAT instead.

  4. Once everything is ready to go, click on Erase and wait until the process is done.


Being unable to perform such an easy action as transferring files has become an unexpected reality for unlucky users. We hope there is nothing to worry about anymore after solving error number 36. If you want to report some other errors or malware attacks that have not been published on our website just yet, feel free to contact us with your concern.

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James Kramer
Hello, I'm James. My website Bugsfighter.com, a culmination of a decade's journey in the realms of computer troubleshooting, software testing, and development. My mission here is to offer you comprehensive, yet user-friendly guides across a spectrum of topics in this niche. Should you encounter any challenges with the software or the methodologies I endorse, please know that I am readily accessible for assistance. For any inquiries or further communication, feel free to reach out through the 'Contacts' page. Your journey towards seamless computing starts here