When it comes to data storage, enough space is never a possible word. Fortunately, thanks to the constant changes in technology, users are empowered with storage options that were unthinkable a few years ago.
- 10 Best External Hard Drives
- Best External Hard Drive For Macbook Pro
- The Best External Hard Drive For Macbook Pro
- The Best External Hard Drive For Mac
- Best Usb External Hard Drives
- Who Makes The Best External Hard Drive For Mac
Before diving into reviews of the top external hard drives, best suited for a Mac, here's a short buying guide, that will point out the essentials. Choosing an External Hard Drive for a Mac Here's what you need to check out in the specification sheet.
Best External Hard Drives for Mac:
1. LaCie Rugged Mini
This best hard drive for Mac is available in two different sizes, namely 2TB and 4TB. The device is easily identifiable by its distinctive orange rubber sleeve. In addition, it has been purposely designed to stand the most difficult environmental conditions.
The Rugged Mini is rain, drop, and crush resistant, compact in size, and has a 2 year warranty. It is tested to resist a drop of 1.2m, and a crush of a 1tn car. Besides, its compact size makes it very easy to transport.
In brief, the Rugged Mini presents a great alternative for those making films, photo shoots or other activities in tough places.
2. Maxtor M3 Portable External Hard Drive
Although the brand is presently owned by Seagate, the M3 still is presented under the Maxtor umbrella. This external hard drive is provided with a 3-year guarantee. Presented in a handy portable form, it is designed to store up to 4TB of data and supports Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later.
2TB: $64.99; 4TB: $99.99
The device is supplied with the software, including AutoBackup for drive backups, Secure Drive for drive security, and SecretZone for data encryption.
The M3 is ideal for environmental challenges, as it works with temperatures ranging from 5° to 40°C, and can be stored in places under temperatures ranging from –20° to 65°C. The device speed is 5.0GB/s using a USB 3.0.
Its size varies according to capacity, measuring:
82mm W x 118.2mm L x 19.85mm H (max) for 4TB and 3TB
82mm W x 112mm L x 17.5mm H (max) for 2TB, 1TB, and 500GB.
The weights are: 236g for 4TB and 3TB; 169g for 2TB; 151g for 1TB; 141g for 500GB.
Overall, this best portable hard drive for Mac is a very good alternative for those working under hard conditions.
3. WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo
This nice hard drive is available in 4TB and 6TB capacity, with a 30 days money back guarantee. In addition, it can be easily upgraded by the owner, by opening the case and replacing the existing drive. No screwdriver is needed for the operation.
4TB: $249.99; 6TB: $279.99
The Thunderbolt Duo is based on a bi-directional technology that permits fast multitasking. Thus, showing a video, doing a 3D rendering, and other graphic-intensive tasks at the same time present no problem to the user.
This best external hard drive for Mac includes the WD Drive Utilities, which enable the user to register the drive, run some tests, manage RAID or JBOD modes, and other tasks.
It is a very connectable drive, which is provided with two channels of up to 10Gb/s transfer rate, in both directions.
10 Best External Hard Drives
Formatted for Mac OS X Snow Leopard or Lion operating systems, the Thunderbolt Duo requires a computer with a Thunderbolt connector and supported by a Mac OS version 10.6.8 or higher. The device includes an AC adapter and a quick install guide.
Measuring 99 x 157 x 165 mm, and weighing 2.3 kg, the Thunderbolt Duo works with Time Machine for automatic backups.
It is a secure drive, provided with password protection and encryption capacities.
Overall, the Thunderbolt Duo is the best hard drive for Mac, which combines good storage capacity and great technology.
4. Apple AirPort Time Capsule
Apple’s Time Capsule is available in 2TB and 3TB sizes. It is actually more than a simple hard drive, as it has the capacities of both a wireless router and a network attached storage (NAS) device.
This best hard drive for Mac was introduced at the Macworld Conference and Expo on January 15th, 2008, and its fifth generation was released in June 2013, together with the sixth generation AirPort Extreme. For this last release, the name was changed to Airport Time Capsule.
Although it is more expensive than other more common hard drives, the Time Capsule has the advantage of working with Time Machine on Mac OS X and being automatically detectable by the Mac.
Measuring 168 x 98 x 98 mm, and weighing 1.48 kg, this device is not so good regarding connectivity as it includes four Gigabit Ethernet ports and only one 2.0 USB port.
Summarizing, although it is difficult to define what is the best external hard drive for Mac, Apple’s Airport Time Capsule is a valid option for Mac lovers.
5. Seagate Seven
Claiming to be the smallest 500GB external hard drive in the world, the Seagate Seven is a precision crafted device. It comes in a very elegant, but rugged stainless steel case.
It is indeed small in size, measuring only 7 x 82 x 123 mm, and weighing a mere 173g. It’s very slim format allows for great portability.
Its physical portability is enhanced by the fact that it is formatted for exFAT and thus can be used for Windows and Macs interchangeably.
The Seagate Seven includes the Seagate’s Dashboard Software, which can be used to backup photos and upload them later in social networks, such as Facebook. It also contains a high quality branded USB 3.0 to micro USB-B cable and an informational quick start guide. This device comes with a three-year guarantee.
On the downside, it is perhaps a bit expensive, and not very fast for an SSD drive.
Summarizing, the Seagate Seven is perhaps the best portable hard drive for Mac, when it comes to size. However, because its performance is not so good, it is more of the best buy external hard drive Mac based on looks than on efficiency.
Does this sound similar to you?
You thought you had enough disk space when you originally bought your MacBook Pro, but soon you realized that storage is being filled up quicker than you can clear old files.
Or maybe you already had an external drive to help extend your MacBook’s storage, but now it’s either outdated, too slow, or experiencing issues.
We may be in the age of cloud computing and remotely stored files, but it’s always helpful to have a portable hard drive you can count on both for file backups and to work off as needed.
In this buying guide, we’ll help you pick the best external drive for your MacBook Pro so you can access all your files without sacrificing speed or performance.
Here’s a brief overview of our recommendations depending on your specific needs and preferences:
- The 10TB G-DRIVE Desktop External Hard Drive will give you enough volume and lightning speed for a traditional drive, and comes pre-formatted for Mac.
- If you need instant cross-platform compatibility, and an array of color choices, you’ll be covered with the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB.
- Known for being rough on your electronics? The Silicon Power 1TB Drive is rugged and durable, with water resistance in addition to quick read and write speeds.
- If you prefer a modern speedy solid-state drive, the Glyph Atom RAID 1TB SSD is sure to meet expectations in terms of speed and durability.
Do I Need An External Drive for My Mac?
External drives are a worthwhile investment for more than just power users, but it can be hard to determine if you need one or not. Consider this:
- Do you regularly work with large files such as videos and edited images, or run other creative files such as video games?
- Is your MacBook Pro running slower due to being overburdened with files?
- Have you ever wanted to backup your Mac just in case of any data disaster?
- Are you using a cloud storage or online backup service but fear of security and reliability issues from the provider?
- Are old files being stored on your computer because you occasionally reference them but can’t completely delete them?
Answering yes to any of the above scenario questions is a fairly good indicator that an external hard drive would benefit you.
On the other hand, an external hard drive is probably not the best option for for those of you who only have a small volume of unimportant files to save, which might be better served by using a cloud storage program like Dropbox or Google Drive or by offloading their old files onto a large USB flash drive.
Best External Drive for MacBook: What to Look For?
If you’re purchasing an external hard drive, it’s because you need the space on your MacBook, so it doesn’t make sense to cut corners on how much exterior space you purchase. However, it’s still important to consider exactly how much space you need. Consider how quickly you create large files (such as photo imports) and if you plan on keeping them in a long or short term to decide your actual need.
While many newer drives come formatted to work on both Mac and PC, it’s best not to choose one that is single-system compatible as it will limit the drive’s versatility (though you could manually format an external drive for both PC and Mac compatibility, it’s an extra effort and requires you to be a bit geeky). For added convenience, you should look for drives that come pre-formatted for Mac, which means you don’t have to install a special program and do it yourself.
HDD or SSD
There are several kinds of external drives based on the electronics that make them work. An HDD is the traditional spinning disk of data, whereas an SSD is newer technology that has no moving parts and store information inside the electronic components. An HHD, or Hybrid Hard Drive, uses a combination of these methods. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to speed, durability, price, and information safety, so make sure you know which you prefer.
The Best External Drives for MacBook Pro in 2019: Our Picks
Kindly note that the products chosen below are mainly based on our personal preferences and the guidelines as shown above. They are by no means made in the order below.
1. G-Technology 10TB G-DRIVE USB-C Desktop External Hard Drive
This speedy HDD drive offers a huge chunk of storage at an uncommonly high RPM. It will stand up to daily use in editing and media programs and connects to your computer via USB-C so you can take full advantage of its specs.
Best External Hard Drive For Macbook Pro
- If you have set up Apple Time Machine, this drive will be ready for easy file backup so you won’t be waiting for your files to read or write. Also, it comes with a great amount of storage space.
- The disk is pre-formatted for Mac, you won’t be able to use your files on a secondary computer such as a Windows PC unless you reformat it to NTFS file system.
2. Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB
Available in four different sizes, this hard drive from trusted brand Seagate comes in several colors. Approximately the size of your phone, it packs a punch for its size and is very portable.
- It can be used on both Mac and PC without reformatting. Also, it offers fast connection via USB and weighs about 5 ounces.
- Largest TB size option is not compatible with Mac.
3. Silicon Power 1TB Rugged Armor A60
An extremely versatile and sturdy drive, this model is compatible with more than just your MacBook. It’s water resistant, with read and write speeds at the standard 120 mbps.
- It can be used with several gaming consoles and Apple Time Machine in addition to your Mac.
- It’s also durable and available with the modern USB-C which is especially useful if you’re using the newest MacBook Pro.
- It appears somewhat unprofessional, also the drive is a bit on the heavy side as it weighs around 8 ounces.
The Best External Hard Drive For Macbook Pro
4. Glyph Atom RAID 1TB External Solid State Drive
Available with USB and USB-C connections and pre-formatted for Mac, this SSD from well-known brand Glyph provides extremely fast speeds that will support your casual and power use. It looks clean and functions beautifully.
- It comes pre-formatted for Mac with easy reformats for PC or cross-platform compatibility, significantly faster than comparable drives from Samsung and other brands, available in several colors and two connection types.
The Best External Hard Drive For Mac
- It’s the heaviest drive on our list at 11 ounces, and a bit on the pricey side as well.
Useful Tips & Resources
Picking a hard drive can be difficult, especially if you aren’t sure whether you need one. One way to help decide is to try a cloud storage platform such as Google Drive or Dropbox before you decide to buy an external drive. Both platforms are free to start with and they offer terabyte storage options for paying customers and using one may help you decide if you need more constant access to your files or simply a place to store them.
If you know you want an external drive but aren’t sure what storage type you need (HDD or SSD), perhaps this guide from PCWorld will help you decide which best fits your requirements.
Also, It’s worth noting that some external drives available on the market are formatted for PC only, but you can reformat it to Mac OS Extended, or for cross-platform compatibility (with NTFS) if you need to use your external drive for your MacBook Pro and a PC as well. This tutorial is definitely worth checking out:
Best Usb External Hard Drives
Who Makes The Best External Hard Drive For Mac
Regardless of your final choice of external drive, having one will definitely improve your workflow and computer performance. You’ll be able to use your files more effectively and improve your MacBook’s performance. Which external drive have you used in the past or are considering purchasing? Let us know.