Best Mac External Hard Drive

We spent over 30 hours researching and testing 20 different external hard drives and found that HDD capacity, warranty, and backup speed were most important. The Seagate External hard drive scored high marks in every category and is our top pick. This hard drive is the perfect device to back up the information on your Mac computer. This external HD offers fast file transfers with strong USB 3.0 connectivity. The backup drive does not need power to work, as it is powered with a USB. You will have all the storage room you need to protect your important files, documents, and photos.

Introduction to the Mac External Hard Drive

These days everyone is purchasing external hard drives for their computers, because you never know what’s going to happen. Should you lose your computer, or if something happens to its hard drive, then you have completely lost the data on your computer. That means that owning and using an external drive is a smart way to store your information in a separate location, so that you’re prepared in case the unexpected should happen.

Also, people have more data than ever, when you consider all the photos, videos, music, and so much more that folks keep on their computers. Even MacBooks aren’t designed to store all this information, and that’s why an external hard drive will help you to clear some space on your computer. Lets take a look at the top rated Mac external hard drives so that you can be well on your way to finding the right drive for you and your unique requirements.


Top 10 Mac External Hard Drives

RankPictureHard DriveHDD
Capacity (GB)
Data Transfer
Rate (MB/s)
1
Seagate
500 - 2,000120
2
Western Digital
1,000 - 3,000480
3
Toshiba
500 - 3,000100
4
G-DRIVE
1,000136
5
My Passort
500 - 1,000640
6
Buffalo
500 - 1,000480
7
U32 Shadow
500 - 2,000450
8
Air
1,000640
9
Mac
500 - 2,000640
10
Studio
500 - 2,000800

Best Overall Mac External Hard Drive

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Portable External Hard Drive for Mac with 200GB of Cloud Storage & Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0

This external hard drive from Seagate is the perfect solution for backing up your Mac. You get 200GB of free OneDrive cloud storage for up to 2 years, and this is included with your purchase when you register a new Backup Plus drive. After you have registered the drive on seagate.com, you then get an added 200GB on your new or existing OneDrive account.

You can only redeem one offer with your OneDrive account, but you’re going to see that this is really all the storage that you’re going to need. The program allows you to create customized backup plans that include the signature Seagate dashboard software. You can also backup your mobile device photos and videos anytime using the Lyve App which works automatically.

You experience the fastest file transfer with powerful USB 3.0 connectivity. Also, the USB powered backup drive needs no power supply to operate. All in all, what you’re getting here is a tremendous backup drive that is going to give you all the storage that you so desperately need.

WD 1TB Black My Passport for Mac Portable External Hard Drive – USB 3.0

This backup drive for your Mac is manufactured by WD and features a secure portable storage capacity of up to 3TB. You also get an optional 256-bit AES hardware encryption if you so choose. This drive is compatible with Apple Time Machine as well, and its stylish design adds an overall creative style to your work desk.

You get a whopping USB 3.0 connectivity, and the drive is formatted for MAC OS X, so reformatting will be required for Windows. With a 3 year limited warranty, you can be sure that this drive is going to stand the test of time, and should anything go wrong, it’s easy to simply return it for a refund.

The chances are there’s not going to be any reason to return this drive because it’s solidly constructed and made from only the best materials. Perfect for all your backup and storage needs, you’re going to see that this drive outperforms the rest, and that’s why it’s one of the top rated models on the market.

Best Budget Mac External Hard Drive

Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable Hard Drive – Black

With its 1 TB capacity and 5400 RPM speed, this backup drive is a top pick because it provides ample storage and comes in a sleek design. This is a USB 3.0 powered portable device that gives you all the add-on storage that you crave, and at a price that you can afford. With its plug and play operation, it’s easy to use this device with no software to install.

The drive accommodates large digital files with a spacious storage capacity that customers swear by. Also, the body of this drive is compact, and smudge-resistant so that you don’t have to deal with unsightly fingerprints. All in all, this is a top rated external drive for Mac because it offers ample storage space in the perfect sized device.

It’s easy to carry on the go, and you can be confident when you’re using it that you’re getting a safe and effective means of saving your important data, so that you can retrieve it whenever you need it most.

Top Rated Mac External Hard Drive Summary

Mac computers are superior in a number of different ways, but they’re not completely perfect. Like all computers, they have a limited amount of storage, and in our data-heavy lives, this storage can run out in no time. Owning an external hard drive for your Mac is a wonderful way to not only have a place for this excess data, but also store it safely in case anything should happen to your computer.

We highlighted the top rated external hard drives on the market, and these are popular because they have an ample amount of storage, are affordable, and constructed from the highest quality materials. These top rated models also have the latest technology that makes them easy to use and reach lightening-fast speeds.

If you’re not yet convinced that one of these drives is right for you, then you can take a look at this buyer’s guide to find some other options that are out there for you. Each drive is so different, so it’s important to know what options are available to you so that you can make an informed decision.

Mac External Hard Drive Comparison


Seagate
View

Western
Digital
View

Toshiba
View

G-DRIVE
View

My Passport
View

Buffalo
View

U32
Shadow
View

Air
View

Mac
View

Studio
View
Interface
Transfer

Rate
(GB/s

5.005.005.005.005.0010.004.805.005.005.00
HDD
Capacity
(GB)
500
– 2,000
1,000 – 3,000500
– 3,000
1,000500
– 1,000
500
– 1,000
500
– 2,000
1,000500
– 2,000
500
– 2,000
Disk Speed
(RPM)
5,4007,2005,4007,2005,4005,4004,8007,2007,2007,200
Sustained
Data

Transfer
Rate (MB/s)

120480100136640480450640640800
Dimensions

(Inches)

2.99 x 4.47 x 0.384.33 x 3.21 x 0.623.10 x 4.70 x 0.590.80 x 5.00 x 3.304.35 x 3.23 x 0.603.17 x 0.91 x 5.123.00 x 4.90 x 0.503.27 x 4.41 x 0.432.00 x 5.00 x 6.005.00 x 3.30 x 0.90
Weight
(Ounces)
5.283.008.1612.304.809.289.925.609.90 10.88
Warranty
(Years)
2313333333

 

Mac External Hard Drive Buying Guide

How to Get Started?

Mac External Hard Drive1When it comes to finding the right external hard drive for your Mac, you have a lot of options out there. When looking for the right solution, you need to consider how much data you have to store, and whether you have multiple computers that are connected to your home network. You also need to take into account backup speed, the sensitivity of our data, how good you are with computers, and the physical size of the drive. This is going to effect the portability.

How Much Storage Do You Need?

It’s possible to spend up to $200 on a 2 terabyte drive, or even $300 for a 4TB model, but having all that space may not be necessary for you. You basically want to get the largest drive that you can afford, because this will allow you to store all your data for years to come. Keep in mind that your storage is going to accumulate, but it’s about knowing how much data you really have on a consistent basis.

You for sure want to get a drive that has at least the same amount of storage as your computer’s hard drive. The physical size of the drive is another consideration, especially if you want it to be portable. Should you need to take your backup with you, then you want to make sure that it’s small enough to carry.

How Fast Should it Be?

The speed of the external hard drive is another consideration that you need to take into account. Some people think that online storage options are a good idea but the problem is that they’re really too slow. Sometimes after your first backup it can take almost days to complete the next one, and that’s why an external hard drive offers you a faster solution. This makes it quick and easy to store music, videos, and images in a flash. Keep in mind that installation of the drive is going to require a little bit of technical know-how. Once you learn the ropes, you’re going to see that an external hard drive is a great alternative to all other forms of storage.

How Many Computers Do You Have?

This is something you definitely need to consider when buying an external hard drive. If you have many computers running on the same network then consider purchasing a network drive that can cover all these devices at once, and helps you to share data that you save. It’s going to take a little more time to figure out the installation, but in the long run it’s the easiest solution. Also, if your computer is placed near a router then connecting it with an Ethernet cable is a smart choice that is going to give you faster speeds. When you have a wired connection it makes it up to 50 times faster than your usual wireless connection.

Are You Good With Computers?

Mac External Hard Drive2This is going to help determine which drive you purchase. It’s fairly easy to set up a backup, but when you’re not tech savvy it’s important to choose the simplest option. When it comes to going with the handiest choice, and these are thumb drives and optical discs, it’s going to require you to use multiple discs and devices to get the backup done. A good alternative if you know you’re not adept at technology is an external hard drive that runs without software or a drive that does backup at the push of a button.

Supplementing your Software

You can find inexpensive drives that do not require software but they’re a bit short when it comes to features and flexibility. You can even get software that is bundled with other drives, and these have their limitations as well. Often these are not able to back up onto CDs and DVDs. Third-party backup software is going to be quite inexpensive, and sometimes this option is well worth it. Some operating systems come with their own backup software such as Max OS X 10.5, and these will automatically back up everything that you have and they let you restore anything from a single file onto the entire drive.

It’s possible to restore the most recent version of a file that you have modified, and Time Machine in particular makes it easy to do this. The interface of this is quite simple to use, but it does take a little effort to learn the basics of the backup process. Windows 8 also comes with a backup program that has a feature called ‘File History’ that will backup copies of files similar to the way that Mac OS X does it.

Add More Protection

Should your backup and computer live in the same area then your data can be prone to fire, burglary, flood and other problems. If you want your content to be as safe as possible then consider a supplementary backup that is in a different location. This means that your content will always be safe should something happen to your computer.

Types of Backup

There are a number of different backup options, including internal, external, online services, network drives, and thumb devices. You get the fastest backup with an internal drive, but installation of this can be quite complicated. This kind of backup is also susceptible to malware that may infect the primary drive. Optical discs are quite easy to use, but you’re going to need a lot of them, and the discs themselves are prone to wear and tear.

Mac External Hard Drive3Thumb drives are another good option and they offer higher capacities than optical drives. Keep in mind that it is easy to lose these and they don’t have the same capacity as hard drives. With all the types of backup that you should consider, an external hard drive seems to be the most appealing.

Conclusion

If you’re someone that owns a lot of data then having an external hard drive is a must to ensure that all that data is safe and secure. Most computers just don’t have the storage capacity that people need, and that is why an outside source helps to take the load off your computer while also keeping this data safe in a remote location. There are a lot of external drives out there to choose from, and when you’re looking for a model that is specifically designed for the Mac then you’re going to see that the options almost seem endless. We highlighted the top rated external drives on the market, and these are praised by customers because they deliver solid performance, durability, and are made from the highest quality materials. You can be confident when you purchase one of these models that you’re getting a product that will safely store all your material and will be able to handle ample volume.

The buyer’s guide took it a step further by highlighting the various features that are available to you. When it comes to finding the right drive for you, it’s really about knowing yourself and what you’re looking for. If you’re someone who is not very tech savvy, then it’s smart to go with a simpler option that isn’t going to require as much installation and upkeep. If you’re very good with technology, then you can select one of the more complicated options that is probably going to work faster and more efficiently. No matter what device you choose, you’re going to love the benefit that you get from owning an external hard drive, and the peace of mind that it gives you.

Resources

  1. http://www.seagate.com/products/laptop-mobile-storage/laptop-external-drives/backup-plus-slim/
  2. http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=1000
  3. http://us.toshiba.com/storage/external/portable/shop