Best External Hard Drives for Mac in 2019Source: iMore

Best External Hard Drives for Mac iMore 2021

We understand that your data is important to you. Whether it's personal documents, important work files, or just making sure you have everything you need to be backed up, you can never be too safe. The best external hard drives for macOS Big Sur are not only useful for storing data but are an excellent way to transport files from one location to another. When you consider price, ease of use, and portability, the Seagate Ultra Touch HDD is the most reliable hard drive you can carry around with you at all times.

Best overall: Seagate Ultra Touch HDD 2TB

Seagate Ultra Promo ImageSource: Seagate

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

The Seagate Dashboard backup system is a fantastic simple tool that lets you schedule backups to ensure you never miss any critical files you need if 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. This can help you wrangle your photo library if you don't already use some photo managing tool and a four-month membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Proprietary cable
  • No USB-C

Best overall

Seagate Ultra Touch Hdd Cropped

Seagate Ultra Touch HDD 2TB (black)

Reliable, portable, and affordable

No lengthy setups or formatting procedures; the Seagate Ultra Touch HDD 2TB is formatted for Mac right out of the packaging.

Best USB-C hard drive: Samsung T7 Portable SSD (2 TB)

Samsung T7 Ssd Promo ImageSource: Samsung

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.

It's super-fast. There's more than enough speed and power to transfer any file with up to 1,050 MB/s read speeds, and 1,000 MB/s write speeds. 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 T7 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

Samsung T7 Portable SSD (2 TB)

Fast and encrypted

With the fast read and write speeds, the Samsung T7 is fast enough for photographers and videographers to transfer their work.

Best capacity: Western Digital My Book (6 TB)

Western Digital My BookSource: Western Digital

Compatible with Time Machine right out of the box, the 6 TB storage capacity on the Western Digital My Book is perfect for people looking for a lot of space 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. It ensures all your important files and documents stay private.

If you're looking for a drive with lots of space, so you don't need 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 (6TB)

WD 6TB My Book Desktop External Hard Drive

Lots of storage for those who need it

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

Best Thunderbolt 3 drive: LaCie Rugged SSD Pro (1TB)

Lacie Rugged Po Promo ImageSource: LaCie

LaCie hard drives have always been good for people on the go because of their rugged design. The LaCie Rugged SSD Pro can withstand some dust, dirt, and even a tiny bit of water being splashed on it as it has an IP67 rating. Plus, its rubberized outside makes it shock-resistant, meaning it can survive the fall if you accidentally knock it off your desk.

Since it's an SSD, it's incredibly fast, being able to playback 6K video no problem. And the included USB-C cable — which supports Thunderbolt 3 — makes it perfect for MacBook and Mac users alike!

Pros:

  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Water-resistant
  • Shock-resistant

Cons:

  • Expensive

Best Thunderbolt 3 drive

Lacie Rugged Pro

LaCie Rugged SSD Pro (1TB)

Rugged design with Thunderbolt 3

The LaCie Rugged SSD Pro (1TB) is a favorite because it can withstand drops, dust, and even the occasional splash of water!

Best for legacy hardware : G-Technology G-DRIVE USB 3.0 (6TB)

G-Technology G-DRIVE USB 3.0Source: G-Technology

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 with 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.

Its all-metal design is not only more durable than plastic hard drives, but it also looks stylish! Plus, its 7200 RPM speed allows the G-Technology G-DRIVE USB 3.0 to achieve 195 MB/s read and write speeds. This makes it fast enough to transfer large video files quickly and efficiently.

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

G-Technology 6TB G-DRIVE USB 3.0

Stylish and fast even on older computers

This 7200 RPM hard drive works hard and fast to get your files transferred quickly. Plus, it uses USB 3.0; good for old Macs.

Best fast drive : Samsung X5 (1TB)

Samsung X5Source: Samsung

If you're used to dealing with giant file sizes and need a hard drive that can handle transfer data fast, the Samsung X5 is one of the fastest SSD's you'll find. Its read and write speeds are 2,800MB/s and 2,300MB/s, respectively, and the entire body is made of metal, making it much harder than plastic drives. Plus, the internal frame on the inside is shock-resistant for drops from 2 meters.

This SSD comes with Thunderbolt 3 technology included. This is so you can take advantage of the fast speeds on your Mac or MacBook Pro, and it doesn't need any formatting, so it's plug and play!

Pros:

  • 2,800MB/s read speed
  • Shock-resistant
  • Thunderbolt 3

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Gets warm

Best fast drive

Samsung X5

Samsung X5 Portable SSD (1TB)

Incredibly fast SSD

If you need blazing fast speeds for giant files, the Samsung X5 is a monster external SSD that can handle any workload.

Bottom line

The Seagate Ultra Tough HDD is the best external hard drive for Mac 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. No matter how you back up your Mac, the Seagate Ultra Tough HDD has you covered.

Seagate also throws in a one-year complimentary subscription to Mylio Create. This program can help you wrangle your photo library if you don't already use some photo managing tool. A two-month membership to Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography Plan means it's the best external hard drive for Mac for budding photographers as well.

If you are looking for something with USB-C to use with your MacBook, and nothing here suits your fancy, you can always check out the best USB-C hard drives for Mac to ensure you can use them on your Mac laptop with no dongle needed.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author:

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

Author:

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

Author:

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.

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