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Best Mac External Hard Drive

Mac External Hard Drive Reviews

Mac External Hard Drive Reviews

There’s nothing more awful then losing data on your computer because you didn’t back anything up. Gone are the days where you had to do this on a disc, and thank goodness we have external hard drives to help us sleep soundly at night. You can store a whopping 1TB of info on most Mac drives, and this will also allow you to free up storage space on your device. Most Mac drives are incredibly affordable, and the technology seems to improve every day. Not only that, but most models are incredibly portable and perform routine backups in the background without even having to think about it. The simplest drives have a powerful USB 3.0 as well as Thunderbolt. Often right out of the box you can plug in one wire and everything is taken care of for you. Not only that, but an external drive is really essential when you purchase a new computer and want to safely and efficiently move your data from the old device to the new one.

Most Popular Mac External Hard Drive

Western Digital

5/5 Product Rating

The Passport is great if you’re looking for a lightweight hard drive that is compatible with both OSX and Windows. Format the drive as exFAT to get it to work on both operating systems with ease. The Passport is just about the size of an iPhone, and maybe even a little smaller. The design is sturdy and elegant, and it’s made entirely of durable plastic. Thunderbolt is definitely faster than this hard drive, but the USB 3.0 works with great speed and efficiency nonetheless. Western Digital is famous for their drives being very reliable and long-lasting, so the Passport is great if you’re looking for a device that is going to last you for the long haul. In fact, the Passport really does perform with the best of them, and offers a 3 year warranty that is one year longer than most other drives on the market. The backup is automatic, and there is a lot of built in protection that ensures that your data will be safe at all times.

  • USB 3.0 interface provides great speed
  • Works right out of the box thanks to HFS+ journaling
  • Compatible with Apple Time Machine
  • Hardware encryption and password protection
  • 3 year limited warranty

Best Overall Mac External Hard Drive


4.8/5 Product Rating

Like many external hard drives on the market, the Seagate Backup Plus Slim allows you to choose between two different storage capacities: 1 TB, 2 TB and 4 TB. This device provides automatic backups, and is a good addition to any Cloud backups that you perform, as these can sometimes be insufficient and unsafe on their own. The quality that makes this drive stand out from the rest is its size. Because it’s so slim and lightweight, it’s very easy to take from place to place, even though it perhaps doesn’t offer as much heavy duty storage as other hard drives do. The packing is easy to open and the device is simple in appearance. Other drives allow you to choose fun colors and accents, but this Seagate is pretty spartan in appearance. The small USB cable is just long enough to be at a comfortable distance from your computer, and the plastic body of the device feels good and stable. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket, and has the added benefit of a 2 year warranty.

  • Up to 4TB of easy backup
  • The slim, metallic design is simple in appearance and easy to carry
  • Works right out of the box and is compatible with Time Machine
  • Free Seagate Mobile Backup app available for iOS devices
  • Share feature allows you to upload multiple files to social networks

Best Budget Mac External Hard Drive


4.4/5 Product Rating

The TEYADI is a great Mac external hard drive when you’re looking for a simple way to back up all your data locally as well as on social networks. Right out of the box the TEYADI will start doing its job, and it’s also compatible with Time Machine software. The Save feature is what allows you to back up your content from social media sites automatically. One of the big downsides of taking so many photos on your smartphone is that they’re liable to be lost, because they aren’t constantly backed up and saved, and the TEYADI takes care of all this with simplicity. If a file gets accidentally deleted from your device, then there’s a copy waiting for you on your external hard drive. With HFS+, you’re able to use the drive on both your Mac OS X and your PC. The TEYADI operates so smoothly and intuitively that you really don’t need to even take a look at the Quick Start Guide that comes included.

  • Super fast USB 3.0 transfer speed
  • 500 GB storage capacity
  • Save feature allows you to save content from social media sites
  • Can work for both Mac and PCs with the HFS+ driver installation

Mac External Hard Drive Buying Guide

Mac External Hard Drive

There are many different kinds of external hard drives for Mac on the market. With a large selection available it can be difficult to know which one to select when shopping. This buying guide for Mac external hard drives is designed to help you narrow down the search and find the one with the features and options that will be best suited to meet your storage needs. We’ve provided the information about what to look for in a Mac external hard drive for whatever your intended purpose. By following a few tips and recommendations you’ll be able to determine just what it is that you need in an external hard drive before you begin shopping.

Recommendation for Purchases

How You Plan To Use Your External Hard Drive for Mac

Before actually making a purchase, it’s important to establish what the drive will be used for. This will help you to know which size and capacity you will need. For example, will you be using the external hard drive for backup of your important system files? Perhaps you need additional storage space for videos or music files. How much space will you need for your external hard drive? Will you need a full sized drive or a portable one? Finally, how much speed will you require from the drive? This is a big one for gamers who will be storing game data on the external drive. Once you determine the intended uses and approximately how much storage you will need, it’s time to look at which features you will want the drive to have.

Different Types of External Hard Drives for Mac

There are of course several different brands and models of external hard drives available for Mac. These types of additional storage are usually connected to your Mac through a USB connection or Firewire. The smaller 2.5 inch portable models obtain their power through this connection and are easy to unplug and carry with you to other locations. The larger 3.5 inch drives require a power supply that is plugged into a wall outlet.

Features of External Hard Drives for Macs

The storage capacities for external HDDs for Mac range from 160 gigabytes to 3 terabytes. Pricing goes up for the maximum storage units and this is one of the reasons why the 1 terabyte drives are so popular. Most external HDDs for Mac are compatible with Time Machine, but it’s wise to double check and make sure prior to purchase.

What to Look For In an External Hard Drive for Mac

While storage space is an important aspect of an external hard drive, it is by no means the only consideration to be made. The data transfer rate and access speed of the hard drive are what make the difference between a more useful and time saving drive or one that is frustrating and a waste of time with slower speeds for performing functions.

Many of the available drives feature multiple connection ports such as USB, FireWire, eSATA or Thunderbolt, but some only offer one. If you need a variety of options then make sure that the model you select is versatile. This is particularly important if you will be connecting the drive to different machines.

Thunderbolt is an extremely fast interface type, but not all Macs have the ability to support this option. If your Mac does not support Thunderbolt, you cannot use this type of drive.

Mac External Hard Drive Computer

Check System Requirements

Prior to purchasing an external hard drive for Mac, check the system requirements to ensure that the drive is compatible with your current system. You will benefit from using some of the faster interface formats such as Thunderbolt or eSATA or even Firewire over USB. If your Mac does not support eSATA, it can be added by using an ExpressCard/34.


Speed can be an important factor, particularly if you are storing gaming applications for use in your external HDD. Higher rpm drives provide better performance for most activities and gaming is no exception. For example, most Mac notebooks come with 5400 rpm drives, but the addition of an external drive which operates at 7200 rpm can improve your gaming or downloading experience with faster access and load time. This is particularly important when heavy graphics are involved. To gain optimal performance, high performance drives that run with 10,000 to 15000 rpm are available, however; the downside is that the often require a SCSI connection and they offer less storage capacity.

Pros and Cons of External Hard Drives

External hard drives can be used to back up important system data in case of a crash or other type of system failure. This can help to ensure that your information is not lost and it could help to get you back up and running with less hassle and expense. The prices are less expensive for external desktop hard drives than for the portable versions. These drives have transfer speeds that are faster than CDs or DVDs and they are easy to use.

The downside is that larger capacity drives can be expensive and tend to be priced on a per gigabyte basis. Also, the most common connection option is USB which is much slower than some of the other options.


External hard drives for Mac come in a variety of sizes, models and storage capacities. The best drive for you is solely dependent upon your individual needs. Some are designed for providing lots of storage space for back up of your system and other files while others feature fast access and transfer speeds which enhance the experience of gaming and transferring files from one location to the other. Smaller portable units may be more expensive, but they offer a better option for those who are on the go. By knowing up front what you will need to use an external hard drive for, how much storage capacity and what rates of speed you will need, you are prepared to choose a unit that will meet your storage needs. You are prepared to look for the features that will enhance the activities that the drive will be used for in a new external hard drive. Following a few simple tips and recommendations can be helpful in avoiding making the wrong choice.

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