Welcome to our pick of the best external hard drives for Macs. In this guide we'll look at the top external hard drives that offer quick and easy (as well as affordable) ways to expand the storage space of your Mac or MacBook.
Macs, iMacs and especially MacBooks are notoriously difficult when it comes to upgrading the internal hard drives, which means if you're running out of storage space it's best to move some of your files onto a external hard drive, and in this list of the best external hard drives for Macs, we look at external drives that have been especially made for Apple MacBooks and Mac computers.
This means they are all compatible with Apple's file system, and many make use of the range of high speed ports that Macs come with, such as Thunderbolt.
We've also chosen these hard drives based on their ease of use, affordability and dependability. This last consideration is perhaps the most important, as when you're entrusting your important files to an external hard drive, you need to be confident that it won't break and lose your data.
1. Western Digital My Passport 4TB
A brilliant external hard drive for Mac or PC
Capacity: 4TB | Interface: USB 3.0
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
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
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.
4. Samsung T3 SSD
Speedy and large
Capacity: 1TB | Interface: USB 3.1
If you really want a super-fast external hard drive for your Mac, then the Samsung T3 SSD is easily one of the best. As it uses a solid state drive, the read and write speeds of this drive are much faster than external hard drives that use traditional hard drives. It does mean the price is higher, but if transfer speed is the most important consideration when looking for the best external hard drive for your Mac, then this is the drive to go for.
5. Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC
Capacity: 2TB | Interface: USB 3.0
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.
6. Seagate Innov8 8TB
Combines capacity and portability
Capacity: 8TB | Interface: USB 3.0 and USB Type-C
If you really want your data to zip between your Mac and an external hard drive, then the Seagate Innov8 8TB is a brilliant choice. it uses the relatively new USB-C connection, which is found on new Macs and MacBooks, and it allows the transfer of files at much higher speeds than the ageing USB 3.0 ports can manage. It is expensive, however, but the fast speeds, and large capacity, make this a worthwhile investment.
7. LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive 4TB
Capacity: 4TB | Interface: USB-C
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.
8. iStorage diskAshur 2TB
A brilliant external hard drive for extra security
Capacity: 2TB | Interface: USB 3.0
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.
- Check out our list of the best external hard drives in 2018