Best external hard drives for Mac

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Welcome to our list of the best external hard drives for Macs in 2018. If you find that your Mac, iMac or MacBook is running out of storage space, then these excellent external hard drives can quickly and easily give you a boost in storage space.

When looking for the best external hard drives for your Mac, you'll want something that is well built and robust, so that it can keep your important files safe and secure. You'll also want something that is fast.

This means considering a solid state drive, as these are faster than traditional hard drives, though they are also more expensive. The type of connection the hard drive uses, such as USB 3.0, Thunderbolt or USB Type-C will also have an effect on data transfer speeds.

So, with that in mind, here is our list of the best external hard drives for Mac.

Seagate 5TB

1. Western Digital My Passport 4TB

A brilliant external hard drive for Mac or PC

Capacity: 4TB | Interface: USB 3.0

Large capacity
Good data transfer speeds
WD backup software is basic

This is the latest generation of the Western Digital My Passport external hard drives comes in capacities from 1TB to 4TB, and features cloud storage and 256-AES encryption, along with WD's own backup software. While transfer speeds aren't the quickest, due to its USB 3.0 connection, it offers a good balance between speed, capacity and price.

2. Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt

A brilliant Thunderbolt external hard drive

Capacity: 1TB, 2TB | Interface: Thunderbolt, USB 3.0

Low price compared to other Thunderbolt drives
Mac-formatted
Not SSD

If you want to make use of your Mac's Thunderbolt port, then this is a great option, as it provides twice the speeds of standard USB 3.0 drives. It still uses a traditional hard drive, rather than an SSD, and while this means speeds aren't quite as fast as possible, it at least keeps the price down, while offering large capacities. There's also a USB 3.0 port for connecting to computers that don't have a Thunderbolt port.

3. G-Technology G-Drive USB 3.0 4TB

Slim and stylish

Capacity: 4TB | Interface: USB 2.0, USB 3.0, eSATA, FireWire

Slim design
Sturdy
Can be noisey

This is one of the fastest high capacity hard drives you can plug into your Mac, with a huge 4TB of storage space that zips along its USB 3.0, eSATA or FireWire connection. The all-aluminium enclosure gives the drive a premium look and fell, while also protecting your data from knocks and drops, and keeping the drive cool when used.

Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC

4. Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC

Wireless security

Capacity: 2TB | Interface: USB 3.0

NFC security
Rugged design
Not the fastest drive

With compatibility for both Mac and Windows machines, the Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC is very flexible, and comes with a rugged case that's dust and water resistant, along with a built-in USB 3.0 cable. Not only is your data kept protected from knocks and drops with the rugged shell, but it's also got 256-bit AES security features and NFC (Near Field Communication) features as well. This is a great external hard drive for your Mac if you are concerned about keeping your data safe and secure.

OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini

5. OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini

Super-fast storage

Capacity: 1TB/2TB/4TB/8TB or empty enclosure | Interface: Thunderbolt 2 x 2

Great build quality
Very good speeds
No use to non-Thunderbolt devices
Free software is Mac-only

If you work with a lot of large files, such as videos, on your Mac, then the OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini is an excellent external storage solution. It supports up to four 2.5-inch drives, and can be bought with SSDs already installed, or as an empty enclosure. It comes with two Thunderbolt 2 ports for extremely quick read and write speeds, so you can edit files on the OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini's hard drives as quickly and smoothly as if they were located on your internal hard drives. The Thunderbolt connectivity makes it one of the best external hard drives that have been specifically made for Macs.

The price we show above is for the empty enclosure.

StoreJet 25M3

6. Transcend StoreJet 25M3

Big space, tough body

Capacity: 2TB | Interface: USB 3.1

Triple layer protective case
Large capacity
Not the slimmest external hard drive

If you want an external hard drive for your Mac that can withstand the elements, then the Transcend StoreJet 25M3, which is encased in three layers including a shock absorbing silicone shell, and reinforced outer case, will be the perfect choice for you. It's been drop-tested to US Military standards, and comes with plenty of additional features, such as a one touch Auto-Backup button, and a quick reconnect button to make sure there's no issues when you unplug it.

LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive 4TB

7. LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive 4TB

USB-C star

Capacity: 4TB | Interface: USB-C

Fast USB-C connection
Great design
Expensive
You need USB-C ports to take advantage of speed

You may have stumbled upon the LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive when perusing the Apple website for USB-C accessories. There’s a reason for that: the Porsche Design ships with both USB Type-C to Type-A and USB Type-C to Type-C connectors, making it a worthy candidate regardless of your setup.

It’s expensive for an external hard drive, don’t get us wrong, especially if you’re in the market for the top-end 4TB option. On the other hand, this is an HDD that could theoretically output speeds of up to 5Gbps, if it weren’t hindered by the limits of SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) technology. With MacBooks coming with USB Type-C connections, this is an excellent - and stylish - external hard drive that makes the most of this speedy new port.
 

iStorage diskAshur 2TB

8. iStorage diskAshur 2TB

A brilliant external hard drive for extra security

Capacity: 2TB | Interface: USB 3.0

Physical security
Rugged design
Expensive

If you're worried about people getting access to your data if your external hard drive is stolen, than you'll like the iStorage drive here. If someone tries to tamper with your iStorage drive, you can configure it to self-desturct. What's more, the data is encrypted by the 256-bit AES protocol, with multiple forms of protection in place to ensure the bad guys don't get in no matter how persistent. When you consider all that extra security, the prices won't scare you away either. It's more pricey than the other drives of its capacity, but the extra security it offers will be well worth it for many people.