8 Best External Hard Drives for Mac Users

Are you in the market for a brand new external hard drive? Since many of us are computer users, we all know that it is usually a good idea to have a backup device for our information. In addition, those who play games, watch movies, and download quite a bit of data may require extra space. Both cases are excellent reasons to invest in an external hard drive. 

Reasons to Invest in an External Hard Drive

There are many reasons why Mac users should purchase an external hard drive. Security is a major concern in today’s day and age. Data storages and rights to your own data are also two of the most important motives. Another great feature of external drives is the portability and the ability of offline access. Overall, storing your information on an external drive for a one-time cost, rather than purchasing memory from various online sources, is an attractive objective. 

Lastly, investing in an external hard drive is definitely the most reliable decision. There have been times where accessing online data is impossible due to server issues with providers. This is not a concern with an external hard drive. Dropbox, Apple, Microsoft, and Google have all experienced issues over time. Using an external drive allows you to have access to all of your data in the palm of your hands. If this is an appealing notion, it’s time to purchase your hard drive. 

SpeedWeightUSBWifiPrice
WD My Passport Portable105MB/s250g2.0, 3.0NoCheck Price
Toshiba Canvio Basics 106 MB/s149 g 2.0, 3.0NoCheck Price
Samsung T5 Portable SSD 540 MB/s51g2.0, 3.0NoCheck Price
Seagate Backup Plus 100MB/s200g 2.0, 3.0NoCheck Price
G-Drive Mobile 100MB/s140g2.0, 3.0NoCheck Price
Silicon Power Armor 102.7MBps180g 2.0, 3.0NoCheck Price
Apple AirPort Extreme Time Capsule100Mbps1480g 2.0, 3.0 YesCheck Price
ADATA HD710A 119MBps220g 2.0, 3.0NoCheck Price

The Best 8 Brands of External Hard Drives for Mac

As with any product, it is important to purchase the highest quality device for the lowest cost possible. We all have budgets and all need for the product to last a long time. Finding the hard drive with the best memory storage for your buck is also incredibly important. To find out all of this information, research is required of the best of us. Therefore, we go to the Internet to find any and all resources to give us readied information quickly. In our research, we determine which device can meet our needs. 

In saying this, here is a list of the Top 8 brand external hard drives available for Mac users in 2018. 

1. Western Digital My Passport Portable

Sources seem unanimous in suggesting the Western Digital is the top selection. Manufactured by Western Digital, the My Passport Portable is the best external drive for Mac. Different models with various amount of memory are obtainable for the consumer all at different price ranges. It has a stunning design and is available for USB 3.0, the latter coming in a variety of vivid colors (black, blue, red, yellow, white, and orange). These drives are compatible with Apple Time Machine as well as Mac. 

Features

There are plenty of great features for these external drives. All models of this brand come with a 3 year limited warranty. Memory limits of 1 TB ($59.99), 2 TB ($77.95), 3 TB ($104.99), and 4 TB ($109.99) are available. Surprisingly, the features are similar even with the different memory capacities. 

All of these external hard drives are formatted for Mac OS X, though they can be reformatted for Windows. The software allows for automatic backup of all of your important files. Plus, all models have a 256 bit AES hardware encryption to protect all of your important information, keeping it more secure. With high storage capacities available and security features, you can store a ton of data also and take it anywhere without worry. 

Pros

  • USB 2.0 backwards compatible
  • Social media and cloud storage import
  • Compatibility with Mac OS X, Xbox One, and PS4
  • High longevity
  • WD Discovery software for WD security
  • Hardware encryption & Password protection
  • Automatic backup
  • 3 year limited warranty for added protection

Cons

  • Slow data transfer speeds
  • Poor customer service

Positives

With so many great reviews, it is no wonder that the My Passport is the top rated external drive. People have given feedback ranging from positive experiences with customer service to the quality of the product for a reasonable price. Many have used Western Digital products, never having a problem with them, even after six to seven years. If there is an issue, WD can have you return the drive and recover your data. There are many prompts upon setup that allow you to control the drive’s settings. 

Negatives

Though there are fewer negative reviews, the comments must be considered before making an informed decision. A common complaint was that the drive only worked for a couple of months before there was a problem. Transferring data takes quite a long time. There were many criticisms for WD’s customer service, also, contrasting claims in the positive reviews for the product. The common moral that many users seemed to emphasize was to test the drive right away before the warranty expires and to make sure you haven’t purchased a defective drive. 

Our Thoughts on Western Digital My Passport

As with any bit of technology, Western Digital has received both positive and negative feedback. No device is perfect, and investigating customer reviews has explained why. This lightweight and stylish drive is definitely a lucrative and reliable choice for your external hard drive needs despite the negative feedback it received. Not everyone has had these same issues with the product, nor have they had the same experience with customer service. 

The advice we can give is, if you purchase Western Digital, to test its backup capabilities right away. If you have any issues with the drive, contact customer service right away. Make sure you talk to a supervisor if the agent you get can’t seem to help you. Sometimes the higher ups know best.

2. Toshiba Canvio Basics

The runner up is the Toshiba Canvio Basics. This drive can also be purchased with different amounts of memory, its maximum being 1 TB. Still, even though its memory capacity can’t reach that of Western Digital’s My Passport, it is easy to use and can support large digital files. There is no software that needs to be installed.

Features

The Toshiba Canvio Basics comes in one color – black – but two designs, either classic or contemporary, with 500 GB ($63.19), 1 TB ($54.99), 2 TB ($73.97), and 3 TB ($105.71) memory.

It is a USB 3.0 powered device with high transfer speeds. In addition to that, all models have an internal shock sensor to protect your drive. The warranty, however, is only a one year warranty.

Pros

  • 5400 RPM speeds
  • Lower cost
  • Power saving capabilities
  • Smudge-resistant body
  • Compact size
  • Plug and play operation
  • Internal Shock Sensor
  • Ramp Loading Technology

Cons

  • Speed can become slow over time
  • Possible device failure reported

Positives

The storage space on the drive is its top and most appreciated feature, according to customer reviews. It can also turn itself off if it’s not in use, which is an excellent power-saving strategy. It is a cost effective solution to your backup needs, its price $10-$15 cheaper than certain Mac external drives. Gamers found this device useful, and many claimed that it worked perfectly for them for years, even after dropping it multiple times. 

Negatives

As far as the negative feedback is concerned, the biggest complaint among Toshiba users is that speed can become incredibly slow. For a device where speed is its chief feature, we can see where this could post a problem. Some claimed that the device failed after a few, short months. Like with Western Digital, some customers received lousy customer service and found the product a waste of time. 

Our Thoughts on Toshiba Canvio Basics

The Toshiba Canvio Basics is a highly portable device with its small size, and is a safe way to protect your data. Having it gives a peace of mind that all of your important files are at your fingertips. 

That isn’t to say that there weren’t some drawbacks, but everyone’s experience is unique. As for the contradicting, extremely slow speeds, if you’re backing up your data all at once, it will take long hours for the drive to transfer, no matter which device you choose.

3. Samsung T5 Portable SSD for Mac

Another great selection is the Samsung T5 Portable SSD. It is one of the pricier models, but it makes up for that with its stunning speed. The device has some protection with its durable, metal coating. Where it does not guarantee a safeguard from damage, it is a little bit of a safety net, especially since it can survive drops from up to 2 meters in height. This lightweight, blue and black aluminum model is a heavy-duty product worth investigating. 

Features

This drive is compatible with USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface and is backwards compatible. The storage capacity of the Samsung T5 Portable comes with 250 GB ($99.49, blue), 500 GB ($113.50, blue), 1 TB ($197.99, black), and 2 TB ($397.99, black) memories. The device has an aluminum, shock-resistant coating, as well as a 3 year warranty. 

The most significant feature is the superfast read-write speeds of up to 540 MB/s. For security and data protection, there is also optional password protection and 256 bit AES hardware encryption. The design is highly compact, weighing just 51 grams and only 10.5 mm in thickness, making the Samsung T5 the smallest external drive on the market. The Samsung T5 Portable is compatible with Mac OS and MacBook Pro.

Pros

  • Superfast read-write speeds
  • USB 2.0 and 3.0 compatibility
  • Top to bottom metal design
  • Shock-resistant
  • Weights less than 2 ounces
  • 3 year warranty

Cons

  • Connectivity issues
  • Not compatible with Mac OS High Sierra

Positives

The speeds are great for gamers, music producers, and Mac users alike, according to customer reviews. With 88% percent of Amazon reviews at 5.0 stars, you can definitely assume you’re getting the best quality for your buck. The majority of reviewers actually claimed that the speed combined with the storage space made this expensive device worth it. There were claims that it was highly compatible with USB 2.0 and 3.0. It is a reliable drive overall.

Negatives

There were very few negative reviews for this product, though it is important to look at all the cases. Some consumers who purchased Samsung continuously received defective hard drives and had to go through the rigmarole of sending each device back over and over again. In addition to that, there were complaints that the device was not as durable as it looked, which is a common claim we’ve found through our online research. 

The software stops recognizing the drive when the computer goes into sleep mode, causing much frustration. Another suggestion from other customers is that the Samsung T5 should not be purchased unless you have a USB 3.0 or better, contradicting the claim of backward compatibility and some of the positive reviews.

An important piece of information for a Mac user to know is that a user of the Mac OS High Sierra claimed the drive did not work for their device at all.

Our Thoughts on Samsung T5 Portable SSD

As a frequent consumer of Samsung products, I personally believe in the quality the company puts forth in their technology. Though there is quite a bit of negative feedback from a fraction of the customers, overall there is an understanding that the Samsung T5 is a dependable product. By now, I’m sure you’ve realized that different users have different experiences. It does not undermine the issues, but hopefully can give you some insight on what could happen with the device.

4. Seagate Backup Plus Slim External Drives

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable Hard Drive is reliable and perfect for downloading photographs. If you’re a photographer or take thousands of pictures, you may want to invest in this model. It is easy to use and is advertised at a low price for a large amount of storage space. It is also a compact device, which is another attractive feature if you’re always on the move.

Features

Some of the features of the Seagate Backup Plus include its quick file transfer with USB 3.0, Time Machine backup compatibility, and its small size at 9.6 mm and 150 gram weight. This model comes in 1 TB ($59.99), 2 TB ($69.99), and 4 TB ($119.99) memory. Additionally, purchasing this external hard drive includes a 2 month complimentary membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan.

Pros

  • Quiet device
  • Time Machine compatibility
  • No power supply necessary
  • Quick file transfer
  • 200 GB of free OneDrive cloud storage for up to 2 years
  • 2-month membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan

Cons

  • Slower speeds
  • Device failures
  • Poor customer support

Positives

Positive response for this device is in regards to its simple use and basically silent transfer. Users were pleasantly surprised by the seemingly flawless performance. For its price, the Seagate Backup Plus Slim has proven reliable to many consumers. It is an excellent choice when finances are a concern or you need to get a new drive immediately.

Negatives

The speeds are not lightning fast, which could be annoying. Other than that, some of the negative comments regarding this product concerns hard drive failures. Seagate will replace the drive, but does nothing to recover lost data without additional coverage. From customer reviews, it is apparent that without the additional coverage, customer support is nearly useless.

Our Thoughts on Seagate Backup Plus

This is the best drive in terms of budget. If cost is a concern to you, this is one of the best on the market in terms of storage. Still, for a cheaper price, the Seagate has its drawbacks. If you can look past them, great. Even so, it is recommended that you purchase the data protection coverage, just in case.

5. G-Technology Hard Drives: G-Drive Mobile

G-Technology’s G-Drive Mobile has a classy appearance and provides excellent storage capacity for a Mac user. It is lightweight and has a sleek, aluminum body. This model works remarkably well with Mac.

Features

The G-Drive Mobile comes with 1 TB ($60.84; compatible with USB 3.1), 2 TB ($81.94; compatible with USB 3.0 and 3.1), and 4 TB ($115.99, plus $66.36 if you purchase expert installation; compatible with USB 3.0 and 3.1) storage capacities. Apple Time Machine and Apple File Vault are both supported by this drive. 

There are many measures of protection with this device including password protection and encryption. It weighs 8.2 ounces and has dimensions of 4.33 x 3.23 x 0.75 inches, making it easy to carry around with you. The device comes with a 3 year limited warranty, also. The transfer rate is up to 130 MB/s, and the device comes with USB-C/USB-A cables for Mac compatibility. The product include a 3 year warranty.

Pros

  • Traditional yet elegant design
  • Aluminum body
  • Lightweight
  • Hard drive keeps cool under heavy usage
  • 3 year limited warranty

Cons

  • Problems with connectivity
  • Not very durable

Positives

The aluminum casing of the G-Drive Mobile keeps the device cool, preventing overheating. Its body is tough, and it can withstand a fall. Reviews declared convenience and efficiency, though there were some complaints about speed. The small size makes it easy to transport, and it is easy to use as well.

Negatives

There have been some reports over problems with connectivity of the device. Some other explanations of the negative reviews for this product came from Windows users, which isn’t a problem for you Mac users. Some devices needed replacing, but that can happen with any brand. Another complaint was that the G-Drive Mobile is not incredibly durable.

Our Thoughts on G-Drive Mobile

There are very few drawbacks with the G-Drive Mobile. The only issue that seemed to arise was the connection capabilities, and not everyone experienced those issues. It is a safe bet for an external hard drive, though if you prefer a device that is more durable, you may want to look elsewhere.

6. Silicon Power Armor: Best in Gaming External Drive

The Silicon Power Armor A60 is the top choice for gamers. This external drive is as weathered as it is portable. It is compatible with Mac, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS4 Pro, and PS4 Slim. That is why this device is the most suitable for gamers.

Features

This product features large file transfer capabilities and military-grade shockproof and IPX4 water resistance. It is available in 1 TB ($51.99), 2 TB ($69.99), 4 TB ($107.99), and 5 TB ($138.99, plus $66.36 for expert installation), making this the device with the most storage on our list thus far. Coming with its own case, this device allows for easy cable storage. A 3 year manufacturer warranty accompanies this product.

Pros

  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface
  • Gaming compatibility
  • Military-grade shockproof
  • Water-resistant & Rugged, rubber casing
  • Pre-formatted as FAT32
  • 3 year manufacturer warranty

Cons

  • Setup may be difficult
  • Some performance issues
  • When transferring single file larger than 4GB, must be reformatted to exFAT

Positives

With its textured surface, the device has a great grip and a defense against drops. The protective coating also protects the drive completely from water. It has incredible read-write speeds, making the transferring of files quick and easy, especially with HD pictures and videos. Many experienced years’ worth of use from the Silicone Power Armor and experienced no drama.

Negatives

The setup doesn’t appear to be the easiest, so make sure to do your research and contact customer support if needed. Some performance problems were noted by quite a bit of the negative reviewers.

Our Thoughts on Silicon Power Armor A60

As we stated, if you are a gamer and own a Mac, this may be the best model for you. With such large storage limits for the price, not to mention the resiliency of the device against the elements and accidental drops, you are looking at a very powerful and attractive external drive. The Silicon Power Armor A60 is an excellent product.

7. Apple AirPort Extreme Time Capsule (Best Security Hard Drive)

The Apple AirPort Extreme is the hard drive with the best security. The device works with Mac OS X and is Time Capsule compatible. This no-hassle backup device is rated so low on the list due to its extremely high price of $208.49, plus an addition $95.66 for expert installation. It is the most reliable model, which makes sense. If you’re looking to really invest in your external hard drive, this product is right for you.

Features

The AirPort Extreme offers 2 TB memory, with high-speed wireless connectivity of dual-band 802.11ac wi-fi. The speeds on this machine are incredible, a whopping 1.3 Gbps. Additionally, it has extremely high connectivity, eliminating the issues of the last few devices completely. It even allows for wireless printing capabilities.

Pros

  • High-speed wireless connectivity
  • Connects with all types of Apple products
  • Hassle free backup

Cons

  • Expensive

Positives

Basically, the product is a router that also acts as an external hard drive. You can plug directly into it, and use that vast storage. This Time Capsule is only compatible with Mac and no other computer system, but again, that’s not a concern for you Mac users.

Negatives

There were no negative reviews for this product on the Amazon website.

Our Thoughts on Time Capsule

Our thoughts, well, if it weren’t so expensive, most likely everyone would choose this product. Though there were only 8 reviews, all the customers were completely happy with their purchase. That isn’t to say this is the savior of the external hard drive world, but the sources point to this being the best quality device. If cost isn’t your concern, go for it!

8. ADATA HD710A: Best Value for Mac External Hard Drive

Last but not least, we have the ADATA HD710A, one of the most durable hard drives for the greatest value. The reason this gem is so low on the list is due to some connectivity issues and the focus on only one storage capacity. It appears that there are other memory sizes out there, but only 2T memory is available for Mac.

Features

This device is designed for Mac and Time Capsule compatible. This 2 TB device is valued at $109.99, not including professional installation which is $66.36 additionally. The device passed a MIL-STD-810G military-grade shock-resistant test due to its triple-layer contraction with elastic silicone material. G shock vibration technology instantly stops all activities when it senses a shock. The ADATA HD710A is compatible with USB 3.0. The hard drive case also comes in red, blue, black, and yellow, so you get to choose your favorite.

Pros

  • Designed for Mac
  • Supports Time Machine
  • Waterproof & Dustproof
  • Shock-resistant
  • Wrap-around USB 3.0 cable design
  • Weighs about 7.8 ounces
  • Triple layers of silicone and plastic

Cons

  • Data recovery service negates warranty

Positives

Just for the peace of mind, this is a great option. With how durable the device is, you don’t have to worry about losing your data due to a fall or flood. The protective features of this product has been a blessing to many of its consumers. Many stated how it withstood falls and the like or could be thrown to the bottom of their backpack. That isn’t to say not to be kind to your device. After all, we never know when a problem might arise. Still, this is a great product to give assurances that not much can stand in the way of accessing your data, especially if you’re paranoid about losing it all.

Negatives

In the event that the product fails, call the manufacturer first, and not the data recovery service, for the latter negates the manufacturer’s warranty. There have been many claims about connector issues as has happened with many of the other external hard drives. Some Mac users claimed their drive did not work with their computers; however, they were using a 1 TB unit, which, we have already noted, is not compatible with Mac.

Our Thoughts on ADATA HD710A

This product is very durable for a decent price. It may not be as attractive since it is only available with a 2 TB memory, but that is plenty of space to keep you photos, music, works, and other data safe from harm. Though connectivity is a problem, there were some who were able to solve it. It could just be a lemon, and you can contact the manufacturer if you have any issues. Besides, if you aren’t gentle with your electronics – like most of us accident-prone people are – the ADATA HD710A can be a reliable solution.

The Final Verdict for External Hard Drive Shopping

Overall, the point of this article is to serve as a guide in narrowing down your hard drive options. As with any purchase, it is necessary to put forth all your energy into research. Often times, we tend to just buy the cheapest model we see on the shelves in the store. Still, it is important to find the product best suited for your needs. Therefore, I recommended checking the manufacturers’ websites and product reviews. Getting the opinions of other consumers as well as determining the services the companies provide can all focus your search to your perfect match.

With this information gleaned from ThoroughlyReviewed and Technobezz, hopefully you’ve already determined your product needs. If you have not yet made a decision, you now have a guide to help you think over key factors and qualities your external hard drive must possess. Every model has its pros and cons. It is up to you to make the comparison. Now that you have some data, you must figure out in which device the benefits outweigh the costs.

Good luck with your search, and happy shopping!

One comment Add yours
  1. I think this is the best article and well researched product roundup. Does the external hard drives you list, support PC as well as Mac?

    I am a photographer and have large data to save for my clients. I do want to scale my external backup resources. Currently I am using USB drives to take backup of my clients 1 by 1. I hope buying an external hard drive will help me store data of lot of clients on my external hard drive.

    what do you suggest, do you shortlist and recommend a couple from those 8 hard disks listed in this article?

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