Written byAmanda Wong
If you have enough budget, you can choose to equip your new MacBook Air/MacBook Pro/iMac with large storage when purchasing. For a price-sensitive user, it is more cost-effective to choose a new Mac with medium storage and use an external hard drive as a supplement to expand the capacity.
In addition, an external hard drive is also a good choice to upgrade the Mac hard drive if your Mac is running slow after years of use, given that only some Mac models’ internal hard drives are replaceable, leaving the rest to take an external hard drive as a remedy.
Far more than that, an external hard drive can be used for backing up Mac with Time Machine, transferring gigabytes of files between two devices, etc. Keep reading to know what to consider when choosing an external drive and which is the best external hard drive for Mac.
Before you make the final choice of an external hard drive for MacBook Air/MacBook Pro/iMac, you should consider it in full-scale, including the aspects listed below:
SSD vs. HDD. Whether to choose an SSD or an HDD depends on your pursuits of price, speed, compacity, etc. Generally speaking, SSD drives are smaller, lighter, more durable, and have quicker access time and lower latency. HDD drives are much cheaper and have larger storage space.
File system compatibility. You’d better choose an external hard drive pre-formatted with macOS-supported file systems, including Mac OS Extend, APFS, FAT32, and exFAT, otherwise, you have to format an external hard drive on Mac by yourself.
Connection interface. To use an external hard drive on Mac, you need to connect the USB ports on both sides with a cable, and the ports should be compatible. Although a USB adapter also works, it significantly decreases the speed. Most modern Mac models support USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3, and the newly released MacBook Pro in 2021 even supports Thunderbolt 4. You can visit Apple.support to identify the ports on your Mac.
Which Is the Best External Hard Drive for Mac
After considering all vital factors, we pick out the top 5 best external hard drives for MacBook Air/MacBook Pro/iMac. Knowing the pros and cons of each so that you can select the best external hard drive for your case.
A list of the Top 5 external hard drives for Mac:
- G-Tech G-Drive USB C
- Western Digital My Passport
- Seagate Ultra Touch HDD
- Samsung T7 Portable SSD
- LaCie Rugged SSD
G-Tech G-Drive USB C
G-Tech G-Drive USB C is covered with an all-aluminum enclosure, being premium-looking and resistant to knocks and drops. It provides a huge capacity ranging from 4TB($179.95) to 18TB($549.95), which can meet the needs of professionals to deal with 8K videos.
- Slim and study
- USB C and USB A ports
- Fast read and write speeds
- No Thunderbolt 3 port
Western Digital My Passport
Western Digital My Passport is the choice of most users. It features a convenient, slim form factor and is available in a range of vibrant colors. It is the desired external hard drive for people who needs medium storage, covering 1TB($54.99) to 5TB($114.99) at an affordable price.
- Palm-sized package
- Affordable price
- Comes with backup software
- Only supports USB 3.0
- Needs to reformat for macOS
Seagate Ultra Touch HDD
Unlike most drives’ dull monochrome colors, Seagate Ultra Touch is coated with smart woven fabric. There are two colors available, black and white, and two capacity to choose from, 1TB ($89.99) and 2TB($99.99). One of Seagate Ultra Touch’s highlights is to protect the data by encryption.
- Unique appearance
- Compatible with USB 3.0
- ToolKit app for backup and encryption
- No Thunderbolt 3 port
Samsung T7 Portable SSD
Samsung T7 Portable SSD claims to keep data intact from falls of up to 2 meters with its mental enclosure. Being slim, small, and light, it is pretty portable, just as its name tells. The T7 gives a range of options so you can find your perfect match, three colors, and three capacities - 500GB($81.99), 1TB($119.99), and 2TB($249.99).
- Fast performance
- USB C available
- AES 256-bit encrypted password
- Sophisticated thermal solution
- Relatively expensive
LaCie Rugged SSD
LaCie Rugged SSD is right designed for the people on the go as it has IP67-rated extreme water resistance. Plus, the orange-colored out-layer rubber makes it being drop, rain, dust, and crush resistance. It offers 4 options of storage, including 500GB($179.99), 1TB($299.99), 2TB($529.99), and 4TB($839.99).
- USB C interface