Best Fast 5t External Hard Drive For Mac

See it on Amazon. One of the Best External Hard Drives from Samsung for Mac Samsung T5 Portable SSD. The Samsung T5 Portable SSD comes with 500 / 1 TB / 2 TB GB storage capacity, an impressive write speed of 540 MB/s, metallic body, optional password protection and AES 256-bit hardware encryption, USB Type C to C and USB Type C to A cables and dimensions of 2.3 x 0.4 x 3 inches. The G-Drive by G-Technology is a great USB-C hard drive for most people. It has 1TB of storage and features a quick drive speed of 7200RPM, with transfer rates of up to 136MB/s, thanks to USB 3.1. It comes Mac ready and USB-C ready. From $80 at Amazon.

When you're working with lots of digital files the best external hard drives and solid state drives (SSDs) are an absolute godsend. It's a good idea to free it up your computer's space by clearing out old files, and if you're working on an SSD-based laptop then you're likely to fill it up quickly, so a handy external drive makes it easy to offload unwanted data and get things moving faster.

In this article, we list the very best external hard drives and SSDs available today, and include all the facts and figures you need to buy the best one for you. Getting one of the best external hard drives gives you peace of mind, too, as they're super-secure, and if your computer drive fails or your laptop gets lost and stolen, it's less of a disaster if you have one of the best external hard drives and a regular backup regime.

External hard drives are ideal if your priority is to store the most data for the lowest price, but there are some drawbacks. They're slow and their moving parts mean that unless you invest in a rugged solution, they're not great if you want something to take out and about with you. An SSD is the faster and more portable (plus more expensive) option. Whatever external drive you choose, they're all plug in and use, whether that's into your Mac or PC via Thunderbolt or USB.

If you've bagged a PS5, check out our best SSD for PS5. Or if you're thinking of using the cloud, check out our guide to best cloud storage. And if you need to know about the best external drive bargains as well as other great seasonal savings, be sure to take a look at our guide to Cyber Monday 2021.

The current best external hard drive deals

Samsung T7 Touch, 2TB: $369.99 $299.99 at Amazon
Save $70:
The Samsung T7 Touch is our all time favourite SSD, and so this $70 saving on the 2TB model is a great deal indeed. We have seen it go as low as $279, but this is still a worthwhile deal to take advantage of.
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Samsung T7 Touch, 2TB: $369.99 $299.99 at Amazon
Save $70:
The Samsung T7 Touch is our all time favourite SSD, and so this $70 saving on the 2TB model is a great deal indeed. We have seen it go as low as $279, but this is still a worthwhile deal to take advantage of.

The best external hard drives and SSDs 2021

The best external hard drive overall

Specifications
Interface: USB 3.0
Warranty: 3 years
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
-WD backup software is basic-Needs formatting for Mac

If you're after plenty of reliable storage at a good price, it's hard to go wrong with the Western Digital My Passport range. This popular storage option is one of the best external hard drives around and provides plenty of capacity, from 1TB to 5TB, and if security matters to you then its 256-bit AES encryption should appeal. It's also perfect if you want regular backups; it comes with WD's own backup software so that you can set it up and leave it to get on with keeping your data secure.

Data transfer speeds are impressive. And while it can't match the speeds of solid state drive devices (SSDs), it hits a great balance between high storage and quick file transfers, without knocking the price way up. That makes this our pick as the best external hard drive available today.

If you want something even faster, though, Western Digital also offers SSD and Ultra versions: check our WD My Passport deals for the best prices.

The best external SSD right now

Specifications
Interface: USB 3.2 Gen2
Warranty: 60 months
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

You might not think that speed really matters when you're looking for the best external drive, but you'll soon change your mind when you're copying over gigabytes of files and watching the progress bar crawl along at a glacial pace. That's when having an SSD feels like the really smart option, and the Samsung T7 Touch is probably the best option available right now.

It's not just fast, it's secure too. It has a built-in fingerprint scanner backed up with AES 265-bit encryption, and once you set that up nobody except you will be able to access your files. You can alternatively use password protection if you prefer.

External SSDs may cost considerably more than hard disks, but the faster speeds go a long way. You’ll be able to easily load edit and save 4K video directly on the T7, which can be very slow with a USB hard disk. You can install applications onto it, and you could even run an entire alternative operating system off it at full speed, if wanted to.

Like the older Samsung T5 it's compact, lightweight and robust, with a shock-resistant aluminium housing that means it can withstand drops of up to two metres. And it's no slouch; it's twice as fast as the T5, with read/write speeds up to 1,050MB/s and 1,000MB/s. Best of all we're currently seeing some epic discounts on the Samsung T7, so get in there if you want to save big on one of the best SSDs around.

The best external hard drive for all-round security

Specifications
Interface: USB 2.0/ 3.0
Warranty: 3 years
Reasons to buy
+Rugged design+NFC security+256-bit AES encryption
Reasons to avoid

Even the best external hard drives are susceptible to knocks and drops; that's the risk you run when you rely on a storage solution with moving parts inside. For properly bulletproof storage you'd do well to spend more on an SSD, but for a cheaper option there's the Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC. Its rugged design means that it can withstand a lot more rough handling than other external hard drives, and there's an extra layer of security if you're taking it out and about, in the form of 256-bit AES encryption so that nobody but you can access your files should your drive fall into the wrong hands.

You can quickly and easily unlock the device using an NFC (Near Field Communications) card, and it also offers a generous 2TB of storage space. It's not the fastest external hard drive, but its rugged design and security features more than make up for that.

The best external hard drive for PC and Mac backups

Specifications
Interface: USB 2.0/3.0
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Great backup software +Fast transfer speeds +Large capacity
Reasons to avoid

For a reliable backup solution that you can set up and forget about, the Seagate Backup Plus is just the ticket. It comes with its own backup software and can be set up to safely store data from just about all your devices. So not only will it move files from your computer, it can also grab data from your phone, cloud storage and social media accounts if you want.

It's fast with a good choice of storage capacity from 1TB-5TB, and it's a good looker with an attractive slim metal design that's also nice and portable. Bear in mind, though, that if you're a Mac user you'll find that it's formatted for PC, however if you install the Mac NTFS driver you'll be able to use it on both platforms without the need for reformatting.

The best external hard drive with Thunderbolt

Specifications
Interface: Thunderbolt, USB 3.0
Warranty: 3 years
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
-Not as fast as an SSD-Needs reformatting for Windows

For the best external hard drive speeds on a Mac, you need something that'll use that super-fast Thunderbolt connection, so look no further than the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt. While hard drives that connect over USB 3.0 are reasonably fast, with this one you should get double that speed.

Best Fast 5t External Hard Drive For Mac Os

Obviously you won't get SSD speeds out of this external hard drive, but this is as good as you'll get with an old-fashioned platter. And if you're not on a Mac you can still connect via its USB 3.0 port.

Seagate 5t external hard drive

The best high-capacity external hard drive with Thunderbolt

Specifications
Interface: Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1
Warranty: 5 years
Reasons to buy
+Very high capacity+Easy to remove disks+HDMI 2.2 port
Reasons to avoid

Here's a top external storage option for Mac users who need a heavyweight backup solution. G-Technology's G-RAID dual hard drive is designed to look great next to your MacBook or iMac with its aluminium casing, and it provide a serious hit of storage; options range between 8TB and 24TB, and if you connect via Thunderbolt you should get a pretty decent 440MB/s transfer rate out of it.

The G-Raid also features an HDMI 2.2 port on the back that'll route a video signal for an external display over the G-RAID’s Thunderbolt 3 cable, which has plenty of bandwidth to spare, even with the hard disk going at full speed. And there's also a USB-C port to connect to Macs or PCs that lack Thunderbolt.

Expect to pay a small fortune for the largest capacities. But thanks to the easy drive removal system, you could always buy a cheaper, lower capacity G-RAID and upgrade it with off-the-shelf hard disks yourself.

The best external hard drive for security

Specifications
Interface: USB 3.1
Warranty: 3 years
Reasons to buy
+Military-grade encryption+Fast transfer speeds+Self-destruct feature
Reasons to avoid

There are plenty of external hard drives that secure your data with 256-bit AES encryption, but if you want to take security to the next level then check out the iStorage diskAshur2. You might mistake it for an SSD given the price and amount of storage available, but it's actually a hard disk; you're paying a premium for some serious security.

The key feature of this external hard drive is its built-in keypad that enables you to set your own 7-15 digit PIN. Without that, the diskAshur2's 256-bit AES encryption ensures that nobody can see what's on your drive. And if you're extra-sensitive about security, there's also the option to create a self-destruct PIN that'll wipe the drive when entered.

There are plenty of storage and colour options, and if you want extra speed, iStorage also does a range of similarly secure external SSDs (with prices to match).

The best cheap external SSD

Specifications
Interface: USB 3.0
Warranty: 3 years
Reasons to buy
+Great performer+Cheap price+Rugged and water resistant
Reasons to avoid

SSD storage is fast but as we all know it's expensive compared to a hard disk. If you want the cheapest possible external SSD it's easy to build your own; check our guide further down the page. But if you'd rather just buy an external SSD at a great price, your best option right now is the Adata SD700.

Not only is it a great-value SSD, it's also good and rugged. SSDs can take a lot more punishment than hard drives, but this one goes a bit further: it's water-resistant for up to 30 minutes, and it's also IP68 rated, which means that it can withstand dust, dirt and sand. Perfect if you enjoy working on the beach!

Its capacity isn't all that but you can get a 1TB model if you need more storage; in all, though, it's a perfect mix of speed, price and durability.

The best external hard drive for generous storage

Specifications
Interface: USB-C (Gen 1)
Warranty: 3 years
Reasons to buy
+Huge amounts of space+Integrated USB hub+Includes backup software
Reasons to avoid

If you work regularly with 4K or 8K video or massive 3D scenes, you're likely to need a bit more storage than most of the best external hard drives can provide. Basically you're going to need something like the WD My Book Duo, which delivers storage options up an incredible 36TB. And while that might seem far too much storage, there's a good reason why you might choose this over smaller external drives.

Instead of using all the storage normally, you choose to set up the My Book Duo's drives as a RAID 1 backup, which means your data's duplicated across two drives. So if one of them fails, everything's still safe on the other drive, making this the perfect choice for anyone who doesn't want to leave anything to chance where their files are concerned.

It provides two additional USB ports on the rear, so you can easily insert flash sticks. The device has 256-bit AES hardware encryption, and automatic backup software (WD SmartWare Pro).

It's also worth noting that the enclosure used is fully serviceable, and that WD ships the drive already pre-formatted for Windows users (NTFS). So you will need to reformat it to work with your Mac.

This best rugged external hard drive

Specifications
Interface: USB 3.1
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Withstands high drops+Water resistant+Backwards compatible with older USB
Reasons to avoid

We're not entirely sure about that bright orange rubber casing, but one thing we're certain about is that the LaCie Rugged USB-C is an excellent choice if you're after the best external hard drive that'll cope with rough treatment. Lacie's rugged drives can take the pressure of a one-ton car and they can withstand up to 1.2 metre drops, and they're also rain-resistant. If you want plenty of storage to take on a camping trip, this is the ideal option.

That casing makes it difficult to lose, too. And if you need something a bit faster, Lacie also does a range of rugged SSDs that can withstand even rougher handling.

The best external hard drives: What to consider

The best external hard drives will have to have ample storage capacity for all your data, ideally with room to spare. A 500GB drive will probably do the job if you want to clear project files off your main computer, but if you regularly work with video then you'll probably need more than that. We'd recommend working out roughly how much storage space you need, then doubling it to be on the safe side.

You'll need also to be sure you can actually connect it to your PC or Mac. The early generation of rectangular USB-A ports are gradually being superseded by the newer, smaller reversible USB-C ports, which now dominate all modern laptops. So make sure you know which slots your device has, and that the external hard drive or SSD supports one of them.

External storage should also be fast and responsive, ideally as much as just moving things about on your normal computer. The external hard drives on this list are all pretty nippy, but if you want something even faster, a solid state drive (SSD) offers the ultimate in speed, even though these devices are also more expensive. For more on this, keep reading below.

Hard drive vs SSD: which is best?

When you're buying an external drive it comes down to a choice of two types: either a hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid state drive (SSD). Hard drives have been around for a very long time and are built around a spinning platter; SSDs are a relatively recent development and store data using flash memory, which means that they have no moving parts.

This means that SSDs are lighter, faster and use less power than HDDs; however the downside is that you'll inevitably pay more for your storage if you opt for SSD.

In other words, if you want to store huge amounts of data while keeping prices low, a HDD is the way to go. But if speed is your top priority – for example, if you move a lot of large files, or want to run programs off the drive – then choose an SSD.

Alternatively, you can always use a smaller SSD for files that you need to access or move around often, and then store the other data that you use less often on a higher capacity HDD.

We’ve included both in this best external hard drive roundup. Right now, our top pick for best external hard drive is the Western Digital My Passport 4TB, which is a mechanical hard drive. We think it offers creatives the perfect balance of speed, reliability, portability and price for both Mac and PC users.

Can I make my own external hard drive or SSD?

Yes, you can! If you don't mind getting a little hands-on, you can save money by buying an internal hard drive or SSD and a suitable enclosure and putting it together yourself; it'll take five minutes, tops. For the best performance, go for an NVMe SSD and enclosure, but bear in mind that to get top speeds out of it you'll need to plug it into a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port. For less speed at a better price, seek out a SATA SSD and a compatible enclosure; it's also easy to find hard disks and enclosures for maximum storage at the lowest prices.

Note that you won't benefit from any useful automated backup software that you might get with a ready-made external drive, so of that matters to you then you'll either need to source your own or settle for one of the options above.

It's also worth knowing that if an external drive fails on you, it's possible that the fault's in the enclosure rather than the drive. So if your external drive dies, it's worth finding a cheap enclosure and swapping the drive into that to see if it comes back to life; it's worked for us before!

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(Image credit: Western Digital)

Bylast updated

Best 5t external hard drive

Filling up the hard drive on your macOS machine isn't particularly difficult, which is where the best external hard drives for Mac come in: these plug-in drives add gigabytes of extra storage in an instant, giving you plenty of room for your photos, videos, music, podcasts and anything else you want to store. That's a fact.

You've got a huge amount of choice to pick from as well – from small and portable drives you can fit in your pocket, to hefty units that take up a substantial amount of desk space and can stream files to any computer on your local network.

You'll see two types of technology mentioned below – first HDD (Hard Disk Drive), which is the conventional, slower, mechanical technology. These can't compete on transfer speeds but do give you lots of capacity for not much money. Then there's SSD (Solid State Drive), faster storage technology with no moving parts for those who don't mind paying extra.

As we note in T3's best SSDs buying guide, these drives offer order of magnitude faster speeds than conventional HDDs, as found in many of the best external hard drives. Insane speed isn't everything though in extended storage, capacity is often the most important thing, so it's very much what product works best for a user's needs.

With so many makes and models out there, finding the best external hard drive for Mac can be tricky. Everyone's needs are different and the right drive for you depends on how you're going to use it, what you're going to store on it, how much you're willing to spend and several other factors.

Don't panic though because our buying guide will tell you everything you need to know: we've picked out the very best external hard drives for Mac machines that money can buy, and explained what makes each one so good.

The best external hard drives for Mac

The best external hard drive for Mac for most people

Specifications
Max read speed: 120MB/s
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

External hard drives don't have to be complicated at all, as the Seagate Ultra Touch HDD proves. It simply and efficiently gives you stacks of extra storage for your Mac, and at a very affordable price too. Here we've featured the cheaper, slower HDD version, but if you want to pay extra then a faster SSD model is available as well.

For most people, HDDs still offer the best value for money, even if you're going to have to wait a few extra seconds when you're copying large files over. Whether you go for the HDD or the SSD model, these drives are fully portable, so all you need is the drive and the USB3.0 cable (it has a USB-A connector but there is a USB-C adapter in the box).

A word too on the design of these drives, because they're some of the most stylish that we've come across. Whether you pick the white or the black finish, the woven fabric adds a touch of elegance to your Mac setup. As an added bonus, you get a 4-month subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography thrown in for free.

The best premium external hard drive for Mac

Specifications
Max read speed: 1,050MB/s
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

It's hard to go wrong with a LaCie drive – the premium brand has been putting out external hard drives for years and years at this point, and while they might often cost more in terms of price-per-gigabyte than other models, the extra investment is usually worth it. Which brings us nicely to one of their latest drives, the LaCie Portable SSD.

The name says just about everything you need to know about this external hard drive for Mac: it has super-fast SSD technology (with read speeds of up to 1,050MB/s), it's made by Lacie, and it's portable, so you can take it anywhere you like without a separate power brick. It's also pretty stylish in our opinion.

With the SSD technology installed here and the USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface (a USB-C cable is included in the box), you can, for example, transfer around an hour of high-resolution video footage in under a minute. It's ideal if you're regularly shifting large amounts of data around on your computer(s).

The best external hard drive for Mac for storage capacity

Specifications
Max read speed: Not listed
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

The WD My Cloud Home Duo is certainly bulky, and it needs a separate power supply, but it's undoubtedly one of the best external hard drives for Mac in terms of overall storage capacity: depending on the disks you get installed inside the unit (and there are two bays), you can configure this to have up to 20TB of room.

That gives you the capacity for a lot of data, though you're going to have to pay accordingly. We're impressed by just how many configurations you can get this drive in – the capacities start at 4TB, so you really can choose a storage and price point to suit your needs and your budget, while getting all the usual Western Digital quality.

Besides storing your files, the Home Duo plugs directly into your router, which means it's instantly accessible from all the Macs in your home. It can work seamlessly with backup programs such as Time Machine, and the on-board software even lets you set up different slots of storage space for different users.

The best portable external hard drive for Mac

Specifications
Max read speed: 1,050MB/s
Reasons to buy
+No power supply required+2 metres drop resistance
Reasons to avoid

If you want an external hard drive that powers itself solely from the USB port it's plugged into, then the WD Elements SE SSD is absolutely worth a look: it's fast, it's stylish, and it's affordable, and it comes in capacities of up to 2TB as well. It's perfect for sliding into a bag or even a shirt pocket (depending on the size of your shirt pockets) while you're moving between computers and locations.

Western Digital has made this too tough, with drop resistance up to 2 metres (over 6 feet) and a tough plastic shell, as well as a 3-year warranty for some additional peace of mind. It makes use of a USB 3.0 interface and you get a USB-A cable in the box (check the ports available on your Mac to work out if you'll need an adapter).

While it's not the absolute fastest external hard drive for Mac you're going to come across, your files will still speed along as you transfer them to and from the drive, thanks to the SSD (solid-state drive) technology in play here. If 2TB is out of your budget, you can get it in 480GB or 1TB capacity configurations instead.

The best external hard drive for Mac for speedy transfers

Specifications
Max read speed: 1,050MB/s
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

For those looking to pick up one of the fastest SSDs on the market without paying over the odds, the Samsung T7 has to be on your shortlist: this incredibly compact, remarkably fast external drive is a showcase for the power and potential of SSD technology, and it's likely to become your constant external storage companion if you invest in it.

Measuring just 85 mm x 57 mm x 8 mm and weighing in at just 58 grams, this is a very small drive – it's hard to visualise just how small it is until you've actually seen it for yourself, but it'll take up less room in your pocket or your bag than your smartphone will. It's definitely worth considering if you're on the move a lot and you like to travel light, and it's protected against drops of up to 2 metres, with a cool titanium exterior.

It's the speeds that are the star of the show here though, with read speeds of up to 1,050MB/s and the latest USB 3.2 Gen 2 technology for connecting the device to your Mac. You get a USB-A cable included in the box, so you may need to pick up an adapter or another cable if you only have the newer USB-C on your Mac.

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