Best USB-C Hard Drives for Mac iMore 2020

You might be wondering why you need a USB-C hard drive for your Mac. Here's why: if you're not backing up your Mac's data in multiple places, then you're not as safe and secure as you possibly can be. Even if you use cloud storage to back up all of your data, you should always have a safe "hard" copy on a hard drive if your data is important. Of course, the current MacBook lineup only has Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, but that's OK, because USB-C is fast, future-proof, and will likely replace standard USB, HDMI, DisplayPort, power, and more. Here are a few options to get you started on your search.

Fan favorite: G-Technology G-Drive 1TB

Staff Pick

The G-Drive by G-Technology is a great USB-C hard drive for most people. It has 1TB of storage and features a quick drive speed of 7200RPM, with transfer rates of up to 136MB/s, thanks to USB 3.1. It comes Mac ready and USB-C ready.

Best for speed: Samsung T7 Portable SSD

Samsung's T5 SSD is a solid-state drive that provides way faster transfer rates than physical hard drives. Solid-state drives don't have moving parts, so if you happen to drop this one, there's less to break! SSDs are more expensive, but with this one, you get write speeds of up 1,050MB/s. If you like to store TV shows and movies on your hard drive, consider a solid-state drive! Capacity ranges from 500GB to 2TB.

Rugged pick: Glyph Blackbox Plus 1TB

The Glyph Blackbox Plus is a rugged, portable hard drive that can keep up with you wherever you go. It's surrounded by rubber to protect from drops and has enough capacity for all your backups and then some. You get write speeds of up to 140MB/s from just 5400RPM and It also features fan-free heat dissipation, so it's nice and quiet.

Best for video: Samsung 5X Portable SSD

With read and write speeds of up to 2,800MB/s and 2,300MB/s, respectively, this portable drive is perfect for videographers. It's designed for rendering and compiling high res photos and videos with up to 40Gb/s data transfer. Starting at 500GB and going up from there, it also looks like the Ferrari of external hard drives.

Upgrade option: SanDisk Extreme 900 SSD 960GB

SanDisk's Extreme 900 SSD is a powerhouse solid-state drive that offers up to nine times the transfer speeds of external hard drives. It's made of durable aluminum and rubber, and the solid-state core is shock-proof. So, this is far less likely to die on you should you drop it (compared to hard drives).

Best value: G-Technology G-DRIVE Mobile SSD Durable Portable External Storage

With a low price per terabyte, G-Technology's G-Drive SSD is one of the more versatile solid-state drives on the market, and it comes from a brand that Apple recommends. You'll get transfer rates of up to 560MBps and USB-C connectivity. Plus, it has IP67 water/dust resistance, it's drop-tested to ten feet, and it has 1000 pound crush-resistance.

Long-lasting: LaCie Rugged USB-C External Hard Drive

The LaCie Rugged of yesteryear got me through my entire post-secondary education, and now that there's a USB-C option, it'll help get you (and maybe even your children!) through school or work with reliability and that fast connection. The body is rubberized to help it stand up to daily wear and tear. Choose from 1TB and up, whatever you need for all of your files, documents, Final Cut projects, and much more.

Durable and tiny: CalDigit Tuff Nano

CalDigit's Tuff hard drives are rugged, colorful 2TB drives that offer USB-C connectivity, and there's even a USB-C to USB-A cable for backward compatibility. With an IP67 rating, these drives are water-resistant in three feet of water for up to 30 minutes. These ultra-portable hard drives are dust-resistant, so you can take yours with you anywhere, knowing that your data is safe from the elements.

Portable: SanDisk Extreme SSD

You may know SanDisk for its SD cards, but its hard drives are excellent as well. This solid-state drive is smaller than the average smartphone and has a hole in it so that you can clip it to a bag. It's shock-resistant and ruggedly designed, so it's perfect for life on the move.

Budget pick: WD 2TB My Passport for Mac Portable External Hard Drive

Western Digital makes some of the best hard drives around, and this well-priced USB-A and USB-C compatible hard drive fits right in with all its other excellent drives. It's made for Mac and is Time Machine ready. Capacity starts at 2TB and goes up from there.

Shock-resistant: G-Tech Portable External Hard Drive

For the adventurer, this rugged hard drive is shock-resistant up to 1.5 meters (4.92 feet). It has read speeds up to 136MB/s for quick access to your work and comes with USB 3.0 and USB C cables. Capacity starts at 1TB and goes up from there.

Our recommendations

External hard drives are must-have peripherals for anyone with a computer. They give you additional storage space, which can fill up fast on laptops, and are essential to backing up your data safely and securely. Every one of the drives on this list is easy to set up and start using right away. All you have to do is plug one into your Mac. If you're getting an external hard drive, make sure it can connect to your Mac. What if you already have a perfectly good hard drive, but it has a USB-A plug? We have a list of the best USB-C hubs for you, in case the hard drive you already own isn't USB-C compatible.

If you are buying a USB-C hard drive for your Mac, the G-Drive is our staff's favorite portable hard drive because it's affordable and reliable. It's Mac-ready but can also be reformatted for Windows computers. If 1TB isn't enough, there are also a 2TB, 4TB, and 5TB versions available.

On the other hand, if you want something super portable, lightweight, and inexpensive, the SanDisk Extreme SSD is a great pick. It's roughly the size of your iPhone, and you can even clip it to your bag when you're on the go.

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