Best External Hard Drives for Mac in 2019Source: iMore

Best External Hard Drives for Mac iMore 2019

When it comes to storing data, personal information, and essential documents, you can never be too safe. 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.

Getting a reliable external hard drive doesn't have to cost a ton of money, and with Black Friday just around the corner, there's a good chance that several of these hard drives will go on sale. Other great alternatives to the hard drives listed in the article may drop in price, and our deals team is on high alert to find you the best deals on everything. If you're looking to save money, check right here for great deals on some awesome products.

Best Overall: Seagate Backup Plus Slim (2 TB)

Seagate Backup Plus SlimSource: Seagate

If you want a reliable 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 essential 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 critical 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. This can help you wrangle your photo library if you don't already use some 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
  • No 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)

Samsung T5 Portable SSDSource: 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.

Its fast 540 MB/s read and write speeds are more than enough to transfer any 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)

Western Digital My BookSource: Western Digital

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. It ensures 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 Rugged ThunderboltSource: LaCie

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)

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 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.

Its 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. 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 (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.

Best Rugged Drive : CalDigit Tuff

CalDigit TuffSource: CalDigit

The CalDigit Tuff does the best it can to live up to its name, giving you a hard drive that isn't as delicate as most. Its official IP rating is IP57, meaning it can be submerged in 3-feet of water for 30 mins and come out the other side functional. That's not all; this Thunderbolt 3 compatible drive can also withstand falling from about 4-feet high. We still don't suggest that you purposely abuse the CalDigit Tuff. Still, it's always good to have peace of mind when you're carrying your hard drive around.

Pros:

  • USB-C and Thunderbolt 3
  • IP57
  • Great price

Cons:

  • Only come in 2TB

Best rugged drive

CalDigit Tuff

Can withstand drops and water

Official rated IP57, the CalDigit Tuff can survive an accidental dip into the water and has a great price tag.

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 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

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 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. 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 perfect for budding photographers as well.

What to look for in external hard drives this Black Friday

Your search for a new external hard drive for your Mac always needs to start with what you need. External hard drives have a lot of great uses, but if you're looking for a hard drive to store and transport giant 4K video files, you're going to need faster speed and larger capacity than a drive you're using for to simply backup your Mac. When it comes to capacity, you know your needs better than anyone, but our best advice is to make sure you buy more storage then you need so you have room to grow. New files, software, pictures, and everything else all adds up, if you buy a drive that just fits everything you want to put on it, you'll end up purchasing another drive before too long. Leave some room to grow, so you never run out of space when you need it most.

This Black Friday will likely be a great time to buy an external hard drive. In the past, we've seen deals from a lot of the top brands — like Samsung, Seagate, and Western Digital — as they slash their prices to cash in on the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Luckily, this means you should be in prime position to save money on something you were looking to buy anyway — that's a classic win-win situation in the making.

Regardless of your needs, our team is constantly looking out for the best deals on external hard drives because everyone needs storage for their Mac. So when it comes to Black Friday deals, iMore is ready to tell you all about the best deals.

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.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.