Best External Hard Drives for Mac in 2019

Best External Hard Drives for Mac iMore 2019

When it comes to storing data, personal information, and important documents, you can never save it in enough places. External hard drives are not only useful for storing data but are an excellent way to transport files from one location to another. When you take into account price, ease of use, and portability, the Seagate Backup Plus Slim is the most reliable hard drive you can carry around with you at all times.

Best Overall: Seagate Backup Plus Slim (2 TB)

If you want a solid external hard drive that has a decent amount of storage, is super easy to carry around, and has a very affordable price tag, the Seagate Backup Plus Slim is the best option for most people. Formatted for Windows and Mac right out of the box, it's easy to carry all your important documents from desktop to laptop without missing a beat.

The Seagate Dashboard back up system is a fantastic simple tool that can let you schedule backups to ensure you never miss any important files you need in case something terrible happens to your computer. You can set automatic backups daily, weekly, or monthly, and change the frequency whenever you want.

Seagate also throws in a one-year complimentary subscription to Mylio Create, which can help you wrangle your photo library if you don't already use some sort photo managing tool, and a two-month membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Great backup software
  • USB 3.0
  • Metal enclosure

Cons:

  • Proprietary cable
  • Not USB-C

Best Overall

Seagate Backup Plus Slim (2 TB)

Reliable, portable, and affordable.

Don't worry about lengthy setups or formatting procedures, plug in the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB which is formatted for Mac right out of the packaging.

Best USB-C hard drive: Samsung T5 Portable SSD (1 TB)

This small compact SSD drive from Samsung comes with both a USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-C to USB-A, meaning it's perfect to use with your MacBook or Mac.

Its fast 540 MB/s read and write speeds are more than enough to transfer any type of file, and should be able to store all your photo and video files with ease thanks to its straightforward software. Plus, if you're worried about encryption, the Samsung T5 Portable SSD has you covered with an optional password to launch the drive, and AES 256-bit hardware encryption on all your files.

Pros:

  • USB-C
  • SSD
  • Super compact
  • AES 256-bit hardware encryption

Cons:

  • A little expensive per storage

Best USB-C

Samsung T5 Portable SSD (1 TB)

Fast and encrypted

With 540 MB/s read and write speeds the Samsung T5 Portable SSD is fast enough for photographers and videographers to transport all their work.

Best Capacity: Western Digital My Book (8 TB)

Compatible with Time Machine right out of the box, the 8 TB storage capacity on the Western Digital My Book is perfect for people looking for a lot of stage at a reasonable price. It's USB 3.0 meaning it's easy to take advantage of its storage speed with fast transfer speeds.

While portability is not the Western Digital My Book's strong suit and it needs a separate power source, it does offer 256-AES encryption when you download its easy-to-use security software, ensuring all your important files and documents stay private.

If you're looking for a drive that has lots of space, os you don't have to have multiple as your storage needs grow, look no further.

Pros:

  • Lots of storage
  • 256-AES encryption
  • Time Machine compatible

Cons:

  • Not very portable
  • Needs power

Best Capacity

Western Digital My Book (8TB)

Lots of storage for those who need it

Western Digital offers 256-AES encryption when you download its security software, meaning you can rest easy knowing your private information and personal data is safe.

Best Thunderbolt 3 Drive: LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt

LaCie hard drives have always been good for people on the go because of the rugged design. The LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt can withstand some dust, dirt, and even a tiny bit of water being splashed on it.

It's 7200 RPM Hard drive keeps things running smoothly, and the included USB-C cable — which supports Thunderbolt 3 — makes it perfect for MacBook and Mac users alike!

Pros:

  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Water-resistant
  • 7200 RPM

Cons:

  • Only 130MB/s

Best Thunderbolt 3 Drive

LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt

Rugged design with Thunderbolt 3

The LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt 3 is a favorite because it can withstand drops, dust, and even the occasional splash of water, making it easy to carry around!

Best for Legacy Hardware : G-Technology G-DRIVE USB 3.0 (4TB)

While Apple has been going the way of USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 for a while now, some of us still use older hardware and thus don't need hard drives that have USB-C connections. If you're still rocking USB-A or even a Thunderbolt 2 connection from your Mac, the G-Technology G-DRIVE USB 3.0 (4TB) is a perfect companion.

It's all metal design is not only more durable than plastic hard drives, but it also looks stylish! Plus, it's 7200 RPM speed allows the G-Technology G-DRIVE USB 3.0 to achieve 195 MB/s read and write speeds making it fast enough to transfer large video files in a quick and efficient manner.

Pros:

  • USB 3.0
  • All metal design
  • 7200 RPM

Cons:

  • Needs to be reformatted for Windows

Best for legacy hardware

G-Technology G-DRIVE USB 3.0 (4TB)

Stylish and fast even on older computers

With 7200 RPM, this hard drive works hard and fast to get your files transferred quickly. Plus, it uses USB 3.0 and it even has a Thunderbolt 2 port.

Bottom line

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim is the most reliable hard drive you can carry around with you at all times. It is formatted for both Mac and Windows right out of the box, and its easy-to-use software can automatically do backups for you as often or as little as you want.

Seagate also throws in a one-year complimentary subscription to Mylio Create, which can help you wrangle your photo library if you don't already use some sort photo managing tool. A two-month membership to Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography Plan means it's perfect for budding photographers as well.

Best Overall

Seagate Backup Plus Slim

Reliable, portable, and affordable.

Don't worry about lengthy setups or formatting procedures, plug in the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB which is formatted for Mac right out of the packaging.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Luke Filipowicz is an iMore staff writer who has been carrying around his Seagate Backup Plus Slim since his college days.

Lory Gil is the Managing Editor of iMore and an avid believer in having as many backups of your important files and documents as possible.

Rene Ritchie is the foremost authority on all things Apple and has insider knowledge about the goings on at the biggest tech company in the world. When it comes to accessories for Mac, Rene has used them all.

This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.