Best External Ssd Hard Drive For Mac 2017

The best external hard drives for Macs are more vital than ever, especially with the latest MacBook Pro 14-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch being even pricier than their older counterparts. Hard drives are a vital tool for professionals, especially those in the creative field who deal with large files. But, with Macs and MacBooks making it expensive to upgrade their storage, these storage solutions have become indispensable.

Finding a reliable external hard drive for your Mac lets you acquire more storage space without having to shell out a lot of cash, making it the most cost-effective solution. That’s especially if you don’t really need something incredibly speedy – for even faster read and write speeds, you might want to consider an SSD. Even if you can afford to spend more, you’re getting more storage capacity with an external hard drive. As a bonus, these drives are also built to be light, portable, and rugged.

Seagate One Touch SSD 500GB External Solid State Drive Portable – Black, USB 3.0 for PC Laptop and Mac, 1yr Mylio Create, 2 months Adobe CC Photography (STJE500400) 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Get one of the best external hard drives made for Macs for your storage upgrade needs. Here are our top picks below, alongside our price comparison tool so you can also get the best deal available.

Protect the data on your external hard drive with this cloud storage solution

IDrive, the cloud storage veteran, delivers tons of storage online for an incredibly small outlay. 5TB for $3.98 for the first year is unmatched till now and so is the support for unlimited devices and the extensive file versioning system available.

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Protect the data on your external hard drive with this cloud storage solution

IDrive, the cloud storage veteran, delivers tons of storage online for an incredibly small outlay. 5TB for $3.98 for the first year is unmatched till now and so is the support for unlimited devices and the extensive file versioning system available.

1. Western Digital My Passport 4TB external hard drive

Specifications
Interface: USB 3.0
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

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 external hard drive

Specifications
Interface: Thunderbolt, USB 3.0
Reasons to buy
+Low price compared to other Thunderbolt drives+Mac-formatted
Reasons to avoid

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. 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 external hard drive

Specifications
Interface: USB 2.0, USB 3.0, eSATA, FireWire
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

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 feel, while also protecting your data from knocks and drops, and keeping the drive cool when used.

External Ssd Hard Drive For Mac

Speedy and large

Specifications
Interface: USB 3.1
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

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 external hard drive

Specifications
Interface: USB 3.0
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

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. Western Digital My Passport Ultra external hard drive

Specifications
Interface: USB 3.0
Reasons to buy
+Large capacity+Type-C connector+Suite of applications
Reasons to avoid

The latest generation of the Western Digital My Passport Ultra range of external hard drives has landed, coming in sizes from 1TB to 4TB. It features cloud storage and 256-AES encryption, along with WD's own software suite.

It is a good performer when it comes to data transfer speeds but doesn't come near the top of the leaderboard. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't reach the top speeds of solid state external drives, but for external hard drives based on traditional HDDs, this is the drive to consider.

USB-C star

Specifications
Interface: USB-C
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
-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.

A brilliant external hard drive for extra security

Specifications
Interface: USB 3.0
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

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.

What to look for in a external hard drive for your Mac

When choosing the best external hard drive for your Mac, you need to consider other things beyond storage capacity and price. Of course, those two things are absolutely vital. Finding one that’s not only affordable, but has enough storage space – a minimum of 1TB is highly recommended – for your present and future needs is definitely ideal, even if you have more than enough money to splurge for something expensive.

Another deciding factor, however, is the connection. Many external hard drives have USB 3.0 connections, but since MacBooks and Mac accessories rely on the power and data transfer speed of USB-Cs, USB Type-C or Thunderbolt 3 or 4 connections are certainly favorable.

If you’re storing very important files, especially for work, consider getting one that has more robust security features. There are other things as well, including a rugged build if you plan on taking it out in the field with you, and portability if you plan on traveling around with it.

Best external hard drives for Mac: How we chose them?

While we will talk mostly about hard drives as storage device write and read on spinning metal or glass platters, we have to mention SSD (solid state drives) as well as they have grown both in capacity and in performance. That however came at the cost of endurance, especially at the lower end of the market and is likely to be an issue if you use our SSD storage extensively.

All newer MacBook and desktop Macs (iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro) come with one or more Thunderbolt ports which are also compatible with USB Type-C. So we look not only at the versatility and general performance of the drives - across a number of benchmarks - but also their relevance to specific use cases, after sales and warranty as well as sheer value for money.

You might also want to check out the best PS5 external hard drives.

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VERDICT
REASONS TO AVOID

Included in this guide:

Samsung

T7 SSD

Samsung

T5 SSD

Seagate

Fast SSD

Samsung

X5 Portable SSD

Adata

SE730H External SSD

WD

My Passport Wireless SSD

Adata

SD700 External SSD

LaCie

Portable High Performance External SSD

G-Technology

1TB G-DRIVE mobile SSD

GNARBOX

2.0 SSD

Kingston

XS2000 USB 3.2 Gen 2 x 2 external SSD

What makes the best portable SSDs so stellar is their ability to quickly and smoothly give you access to your files while ensuring that those files are kept safe. However, because of their portable nature, they’re also able to let you easily share files between PCs, add more capacity to an overwhelmed laptop, and backup sensitive files.

Because portable SSDs are being made increasingly robust and efficient, they’re not only designed to be fast but secure as well, boasting a more durable build to survive drops, bumps, and any other potential accidents while in transit.

No matter what you’re looking for, even if brand is a consideration, we have some great options for you here including ones from Seagate, Western Digital, and more. These are especially popular during the holidays since portable SSDs tend to get a good amount of deals and sales. That means that this is the perfect time to do your research and pick out the SSD that fits your needs and your budget.

  • Best cloud storage online: free, paid and business options
Backup your portable SSD with this cloud storage solution
IDrive, the cloud storage veteran, delivers tons of storage online for an incredibly small outlay. 5TB for $3.98 for the first year is unmatched till now and so is the support for unlimited devices and the extensive file versioning system available.'>
Backup your portable SSD with this cloud storage solution

Backup your portable SSD with this cloud storage solution
IDrive, the cloud storage veteran, delivers tons of storage online for an incredibly small outlay. 5TB for $3.98 for the first year is unmatched till now and so is the support for unlimited devices and the extensive file versioning system available.

Best external SSD for the security-conscious

Specifications
Interface: USB 3.2 Gen2
Reasons to buy
+Built-in security with fingerprint access+Incredibly fast+Compact
Reasons to avoid

If you’re looking for a portable SSD with lots of features, then you might want to take a look at the Samsung T7 SSD. This external storage is not only fast – with sequential read and write speeds of up to 1,050 and 1,000 MB/s, respectively – but it also boasts quite a few nifty features in its palm-sized package.

The most important of those features is, of course, its built-in security options that use AES 256-bit encryption and give you the option to use fingerprint sign-in, which you can set-up through its own management software.

Overall, the Samsung T7 SSD is one of the best portable SSD's currently available and well worth considering for a purchase.

  • Read our full Samsung T7 SSD review.

Our pick for the best portable SSD

Specifications
Interface: USB Type-C
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

Samsung is a company that has made some brilliant portable SSDs, and you'll see a number of its devices on this list, however the Samsung Portable SSD T5 is our pick of the best portable SSD of 2018.

It builds on the brilliant design and performance of its predecessor, the Samsung T3 SSD (also on this best portable SSD list), but brings it up to date with an incredibly fast USB Type-C connection that ekes out every last drop of performance from the solid state drive inside.

Of course, it's also backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 if your PC doesn't have USB Type-C. It's expensive, but it's well worth the cash.

  • Read our full Samsung Portable SSD T5 review.

One of the best value portable SSDs

Specifications
Interface: USB Type-C
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

Seagate is a well-known brand when it comes to storage, and it's brought its impressive experience to the portable SSD market with the brilliant Seagate Fast SSD.

This is an impressively slim external SSD, at only 9mm thick with a footprint of 94 x 79mm. Best of all, it's affordable – with prices likely to drop – and it’s an excellent performer, relatively small, plus it has a nice design and a three-year warranty.

The Seagate Fast SSD is well worth considering if you're looking for a the best portable SSD for a low price.

  • Read our full Seagate Fast SSD 500GB review.

Thunderbolt 3 and NVMe come together to deliver top notch performance

Specifications
Interface: Thunderbolt 3
Reasons to buy
For
Reasons to avoid

If you want speed above all else, and money is (almost) no object, than the Samsung X5 Portable SSD is the best portable SSD for you. It comes with a Thunderbolt 3 connection that takes full advantage of the super-fast speeds of the brilliant Samsung 970 Evo NVMe SSD that comes inside.

However, that pure dedication to speed comes at some expense. First, there's the financial expense, as this is a pricey external SSD. It's also larger and bulkier than the Samsung T3 or Samsung T5, which are also on this list. The device is fairly heavy at 150g, triple the weight of the Samsung T5, and at 116 x 60 x 18mm, it can best be described as portable rather than miniature.

However, when it comes to performance, the Samsung X5 Portable SSD is definitely the portable SSD to go for.

  • Read our full Samsung X5 Portable SSD review.

The best high-speed external storage device

Specifications
Interface: USB 3.1 (Gen 2)
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

This small and compact external hard drive offers very decent speeds, as well as a rugged body that keeps it safe from water - as well as drops and knocks. It's not the fastest drive out there - as it's still reliant on the aging SATA technology, rather than the newer - and faster - NVMe tech, but for the money you're still getting a brilliant performer.

Adata claims this is the most compact external SSD, and with dimensions of 72.7 x 44 x 12.2mm and weighing only 37g excluding the cable, it is smaller and lighter than Samsung’s T3 and T5 drives - which are also on this list of the best portable SSDs. While it is pricey compared to some of the other external SSDs we have on this list, remember that it comes with military-certified protection.

The stringent MIL-STD-810G 516.6 impact resistance test so it should survive accidental drops and shocks without much damage. If you shop around, you can also get it for less than its RRP.

  • Read our full Adata SE730H External SSD review.

The best portable SSD for travelling photographers

Specifications
Interface: USB 3.0
Reasons to buy
+Drop-resistant rubber bumper+Excellent USB transfer speeds
Reasons to avoid

Storage giant Western Digital is no stranger when it comes to storage gear aimed specifically at pro photographers, and with the WD My Passport Wireless SSD it has created another brilliant device that photographers (or even regular users) will love.

The WD My Passport Wireless SSD joins WD's growing stable of wireless hard drives, which allow you to view and move files via a Wi-Fi connection, rather than with a cable, which is handy.

However, over Wi-Fi, you're not utilizing the full speed of the SSD. It also connects via USB 3.0, which offers very good speeds, but not quite as fast as USB Type-C or Thunderbolt. But the flexibility and durability of the WD My Passport Wireless SSD is certainly tempting, plus it comes with a built-in SD card reader, making it one of the best portable SSDs for photographers.

  • Read our full WD My Passport Wireless SSD review.

One of the best cheap portable SSDs

Specifications
Interface: USB 3.0
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

The Adata SD700 will suit those looking for a rugged storage device that can provide ample capacity without costing too much. It offers good speeds, and it's IP68 rated, which means you can carry it around with you without worrying about it getting damaged.

The Adata SD700 External SSD comes in capacities up to 1TB, so you don't have to worry about missing out on storage space just because it uses an SSD. However, it doesn't come with the new USB Type-C connection, which means speeds aren't quite as fast as they could be.

  • Read our full Adata SD700 External SSD review.

Light and minimalist

Specifications
Interface: USB-C, USB 3.0
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

There’s a reason why LaCie is among the few brands trusted by creators and digital nomads alike. The manufacturer has designed its hard and solid state drives to be travel-friendly, making them rugged enough to survive most accidental drops, as well as being lightweight and shock-resistant.

That is, while it may not have that rugged build that Lacie’s storage drives are known for, it is still built for travel. It’s versatile too when it comes to connectivity – while it does have that USB-C connection that’s best for MacBooks and the Dell XPS line, it also allows USB 3.0 connectivity for the other laptops out there.

Keep your files safe and secure

Specifications
Interface: USB-C, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3 compatibility
Today's best G-Technology G-Drive Mobile SSD R Series 1TB deals
We check over 250 million products every day for the best prices
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

When it comes to keeping your files safe and secure – whether from prying eyes or accidents – G-Technology is still king. The manufacturer’s G-Technology 1TB G-DRIVE mobile SSD, for example, is IP67 water and dust resistant, can survive falls of up to 3 meters, and has a 1,000-lb crush resistance.

Impressed yet? Its transfer rate of up to 560MB/s and USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3 compatibility should sweeten the pot. That is, as long as you’re willing to pay for it. Much like the LaCie Portable High Performance External SSD, this isn’t exactly among the cheapest options out there.

Best for photographers and videographers

Specifications
Interface: 2 x USB-C, SD and Micro HDMI ports
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly convenient to use+Built for the outdoors
Reasons to avoid

Gnarbox’s rugged backup SSDs have a very specific purpose. They’re designed for photographers and videographers to have a convenient and reliable backup drive for their precious high-resolutions files while in the field.

The GNARBOX 2.0 SSD might not be for regular users, but it’s kind of an ingenious piece of peripheral for content creators – not just for backing up files but also for making space.

Who hasn’t run out space in their SD card while they’re on a shoot? And, because it is designed to survive the great outdoors, it’s water, dust and shock resistant as well. This is, hands down, the best external SSD for the adventurous creative set.

11. Kingston XS2000 USB 3.2 Gen 2 x 2 external SSD

A portable SSD with speeds almost as fast as Thunderbolt 3

Specifications
Interface: USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2x2
Reasons to buy
+Very solidly built+Rugged with IP55 rating+Fantastic speed if you have a compatible system
Reasons to avoid
-Requires the right hardware to maintain USP-Expensive if you just want plenty of fast storage

The Kingston XS2000 is one of the first and maybe only portable SSDs to feature USB 3.2 Gen 2x2. As a result, the device has impressive speeds with Kingston claiming it can reach up to 20000MBps read/write. Keep in mind though that your hardware will need to be compatible with the USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 protocol to take full advantage of this portable drive.

In addition to being fast, the Kingston XS2000 is also light at just 29g and quite compact. Kingston also includes a rubber sleeve to further protect this water resistant, dust resistant and shockproof drive.

Read the full review:Kingston XS2000

What is NAND flash?

Anthony Spence, from SSD and memory specialist Silicon Power , answers this question.

'NAND Flash is a type of non-volatile storage technology. Non-volatile simply means that NAND, unlike DRAM (or system memory), does not require power to retain data. The ability to retain data after turning off the power makes NAND a great option for external on-the-go storage devices.

Best Backup Drive For Mac

In contrast to hard disk drives (HDD), NAND Flash isn’t a magnetic technology, instead it makes use of electric circuits and a number of memory cells to store data.

External Storage For Mac

NAND holds several advantages over HDD, for instance it has no moving parts, thus in theory data won’t be affected by accidental drops or falls. NAND Flash devices tend to be smaller and lighter in comparison to HDD, but most importantly, the performance of NAND Flash devices is considerably larger than the one from HDD ones.

Best External Ssd Hard Drive For Mac 2017 Desktop

The major drawback from NAND comes from the fact that they tend to be expensive on a dollar per gigabyte basis, especially when compared to more traditional hard drives. The two most common ways to offset this problem are by either adding bits per cell or by moving away from 2D planar technology to 3D NAND technology and beyond.'