Best 2tb Portable External Hard Drive For Mac

External drives are quick and easy to use, and they’re usually extremely portable. Transferring files from one computer to the next can be much faster with the help of an external hard drive. They’re often used to store backup files or files too large to keep on a primary computer.

If you find that you’re constantly running out of space — or your overall computer performance is beginning to suffer — an external hard drive can be a very safe and secure way to move files around.

If you want to make use of your Mac's Thunderbolt port, then this is the best external hard drive for Macs. It provides twice the speeds of standard USB 3.0 drives. Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, PlayStation, & Xbox - 1-Year Rescue Service (STGX2000400) Visit the Seagate Store 4.7 out of 5 stars 165,698 ratings.

External hard drives vs. flash drives

External hard drives are basically hard drives (HDD) or solid state drives (SSD) that are wrapped in their own protective casing and connect to your computer from the outside as opposed to the inside. Flash drives are external drives, but they aren’t as fast, and they don’t usually store as much space as their larger external hard drive relatives. Some external hard drives get power directly from the computer connection. Others will need to be plugged into the wall. There are varying levels of storage capacity in an external hard drive, and the overall size of the HDD depends on the model.

There are hard drives that may hold values like 3TB, 6TB, and 10TB, but they are much less common than the standard hard drives that hold: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, and 8TB.

Key considerations

Formatting

For Mac users, buying an external HDD already formatted for your system makes getting started much easier. This is because when you initially connect an external HDD made for Mac (to a Mac computer), you won’t be required to format it before you begin transferring files. External HDDs that are not specific to Macs may also work, but you’ll need to reformat them first.

Even though Mac computers are capable of reading hard drives that are formatted for Windows, if you intend on using your external HDD as a bootable disk or want to use it to backup files with your Mac’s Time Machine, you must format it to be entirely Mac compatible.

Power

Your HDD will need to power itself by either an AC power cord or through its data cable that plugs into your computer. There are obvious benefits to getting power directly from your computer, but hard drives that are larger and more powerful may need an independent power source to optimise efficiency.

Storage capacity

In terms of storage space, 1,000GB is equal to 1TB (terabyte). Typically, 1TB is enough for 250,000 MP3s or 200,000 digital photos. This is also how much space you’d need for about 120 HD videos.

Best 2tb Portable External Hard Drive For Mac 2021

Common storage sizes for external HDDs include:

  • 500GB

  • 1TB

  • 2TB

  • 4TB

  • 8TB

Portability

Portable hard drives are designed for travel. They’re lighter, thinner, and will likely have extra protection for the casing. They’re made to easily slip in and out of a laptop case or book bag, taking up very little space. The best external hard drives should be able to withstand an occasional drop or two.

Passport For Mac 2tb

Desktop

Some external hard drives are meant to stay relatively stationary. They tend to be bigger in size and don’t have as much protection against drops. These drives tend to pack a slightly larger punch than smaller, more portable HDDs.

Connection types

Portable External Hard Drive Amazon

USB 3.0

This is a common connection type for many external hard drives. USB is very compatible with Mac machines, especially those with older versions. Its max transfer rate is 10 Gb/s. Most (but not all) Mac computers and will have at least one USB port that supports external memory.

USB-C

This is a newer form of USB connection that delivers more power and slightly faster speeds for Mac users. New hard drives will come with the proper connection cords to ensure compatibility. The max transfer speed provided by USB is 20 Gb/s.

Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt connections are the latest in data and power transfer and are popular amongst Mac devices. Its strength is in its speed and power as well as its ability to chain more than one device to a single computer. Its max transfer speed is about double that of USB-C at 40 Gb/s.

Did you know?
It’s possible to install and run programs or games directly from your external HDD. There are a few downsides, however, such as longer loading speeds and the need to have the drive with you in order to play the game.

External hard drives for Macs: prices

Overall storage space will typically play the main role in the final price you’ll pay for an external hard drive.

$50 and under

In this range, you’ll find quality external drives that hold 500GB to 1TB of storage for Mac computers.

$60 to $80

If you’re looking for anywhere between 2TB and 3TB of storage space, you’ll be spending within this price range.

$100 to $150+

You won’t be able to find many quality HDDs that hold 4TB of space for under $100. As you get closer to 8TB of storage, you’ll be looking at spending $150 or more.

Best

$200+

For those who want hefty amounts of storage — 10TB or more — you’ll need to invest $200 or more.

Tips

  • Avoid unplugging your hard drive before unmounting it from your computer. Disconnecting your HDD while it’s transferring or updating can cause files to become damaged or even lost forever. It can also put unnecessary stress on your computer and the hard drive itself.

  • Even though many external hard drives are built for portability, you’ll still want to take extra care of them so they last. If possible, look to keep them in a travelling pouch or case for greater protection. This will undoubtedly extend the overall life.

You can partition most HDD to support as many different operating systems and file formats as you’d like. A disk partition is a section of the hard drive that is separated from other segments.

FAQ

Q. How long will files last on a quality external HDD?

A. Typically, the files will remain until you delete or destroy them — intentionally or by accident. Generally, your external HDD for Mac should last anywhere between three to five years. A good indicator is how long your manufacturer's warranty is for, as studies have shown that they are fairly accurate when it comes to HDD lifespan.

Q. Can I use my HDDs with my Mac and Windows computer at the same time?

A. Technically, yes. Mac-compatible hard drives will come formatted for Mac right out of the box. If you want to use it for Windows also, you’ll have to partition your drive and create the needed space to support your windows files or disks.

Storage can come at a premium sometimes, so it's important to have flexible storage options to move your data around. While thumbdrives were once the wave, external hard drives have become small enough in form factor (and expansive enough in storage space) to become the best way to keep your files, documents, and even games on you.While you can get external hard drives in all sizes, 2 terabyte drives hit the sweet spot of price and storage space, so check out our list, which includes some of our favorite 2TB externals.

Samsung T5 Portable SSD

Best Overall Drive / SSD

On Amazon
If you feel the need... the need for speed... this Samsung T5 external SSD is the way. With optional password protection, AES 256-bit hardware encryption, and transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s this SSD is fast and secure. The drive also has a small form factor, and connects with USB C to C and USB C to A via included cables.

WD Elements Portable External Hard Drive

Best Standard Drive

WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive (WDBU6Y0020BBK)
Best 2tb Portable External Hard Drive For MacThis slim Western Digital external hard drive is compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 and is USB-powered, so there's no need for an external power source. This hard drive also has a small 3.23'x4.35' form factor, so you can stick it in a small pack pocket or your pocket as you go about your business.

Toshiba Canvio Basics External Hard Drive

Best Standard Drive: Runner-Up

Toshiba Canvio Basics Portable External Hard Drive (HDTB420XK3AA)
The Toshiba Canvio Basics external hard drive has a slim, matte black finish and is USB-powered, so you won't need anything but the drive and the included cable to get started. It's also USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 compatible, so you'll be ready to go, regardless of your setup.

Seagate External Hard Drive

Best Warranty Drive

On Amazon
This sleek Seagate External Hard Drive features a slim, black form factor. It sports 2TB of space, a USB 3.0 connection, and it is USB-powered, so you won't need to deal with the hassle of an extra power cable. Seagate also includes a 3-year limited warranty.

AIOLO 2.5-inch Portable External Hard Drive

Best Slim Drive

On Amazon
This sleek aluminum alloy AIOLO 2.5' external is USB 2.0 and 3.0 compatible. It's small size means is incredibly easy to travel with. It works seamlessly without an external power supply, and is compatible with PC, Xbox One, Mac, Smart TVs, PS3, PS4, and more.

Silicon Power Rugged External Hard Drive

Best Travel Drive

On Amazon
This 'military-grade' shock-resistant external hard drive is the best choice for those who like to travel. Whether you are heading over to a friend's place, or you are hotel-hopping for work, this external can handle the road. It also has 2TB of storage and your cable fits along the outside, so you'll never have to wonder where it is.

LaCie Rugged Secure External Hard Drive

Best Durable Drive

LaCie Rugged Secure External Hard Drive (STFR2000403)
LaCie's Rugged Secure AES External HDD transfers files at up to 130MB/s via Thunderbolt 3, USB C, and USB 3.0 connections, and it has AES 256 'government-grade' encryption. It also has a shock-resistant, crush-resistant, rain-resistant shell to keep your data safe, as well as one month of Adobe Creative Cloud.