External Hard Drive That Works With Both Mac And Pc

  1. Can External Hard Drive Work On Both Mac And Pc
  2. External Hard Drive That Works With Both Mac And Pc Wireless
  3. Best External Hard Drive Backups
  4. Best External Hard Drives For Mac
  5. External Hard Drive That Works With Mac And Pc Simultaneously
  6. External Hard Drive For Mac And Pc Interchangeable
  7. Are There External Hard Drives That Work For Both Mac And Pc

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.

Nov 27, 2021 External Hard Drive For Macbook Pro; External Hard Drive Mac And Pc Compa These new durable external hard drives are built to Toshiba's world. Silicon Power Black 1TB Rugged Portable External Hard Drive Armor A60, Shockproof USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, Xbox and PS4, Black by Silicon Power. You can format the external hard drive or USB drive to make it compatible with both Mac and Windows machines. This thing is still unknown for many users but doesn’t worry it’s not complex. If you are techy and use Windows and Mac computers frequently, then you might need to transfer data between Mac and PC.

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
With
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

External
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.

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.

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

Can External Hard Drive Work On Both Mac And Pc

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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An external hard drive that supports both Windows and Mac operating systems can be extremely helpful to users who work on both the operating systems. However, Windows was mainly optimized for NTFS (New Technology file system) format, on the other hand, APFS was created for the Mac OS.

As we all know NTFS is not compatible with Mac and similarly APFS does not get along with Windows. Fortunately, you could create an external hard disk which is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS with the help of this article. This does not require any third-party application or assistance of any additional software. Let’s get down to make the external hard drive compatible with Mac and Windows.

How to create an external hard disk compatible on Mac and Windows?

Lets us first understand how to make the external hard drive compatible with Mac and Windows? using exFAT and Dual formatting?

External Hard Drive That Works With Both Mac And Pc Wireless

  1. exFAT – Formatting a hard drive with the exFAT file system. Since exFAT formatted external hard disk are readable and writable by both the operating systems
  2. Dual formatting – If you are a user who prefers to have both APFS and NTFS file system on a single external hard disk, you can partition and dual format the hard drive.

How to format an external drive on macOS with exFAT

Best External Hard Drive Backups

  1. Connect the drive to the Mac.
  2. Open Disk Utility. The easiest way to do that is to hit CMD and the spacebar at the same time and type in Disk Utility to find the program.
  3. In disk utility, you will have an internal and external drive
  4. Select the drive you want to format and click erase.
  5. Give the partition a name and select exFAT for the format.
  6. Click Erase to finish and you will complete the procedure.

How to format an external drive on Windows with exFAT

  1. Connect the drive to your Windows PC.
  2. Open the Disk Management tool. You can do that by typing 'disk format' or 'disk management' in Windows search or going to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Create and format hard disk partitions.
  3. Right-click on the external drive's partition or unallocated space you want to format and choose New Simple Volume
  4. Follow the wizard to choose a volume size.
  5. Assign a drive letter.
  6. Choose exFAT as the file system in the Format Partition screen.
  7. Give the volume a new name, click next and finish to complete the procedure.

Note - Your exFAT-formatted drive or partition can now be used for both Windows and Mac. Keep in mind that using a drive frequently between Windows and Mac could increase the chances of hard disk corruption, so make sure you have a backup of the data any drive. In case if you happened to lose you will need a reliable third party application to fix the issue.

How to Dual Format an external hard disk?

Let us understand how to make the external hard drive compatible with Mac and Windows using dual formatting?

If the user desires to use NTFS, APFS or HFS+ for any specific reasons and does not want to opt for exFAT, there is another option. Instead of formatting a drive with a single file system, the user can create two partitions and format those with NTFS, APFS, HFS+ or any other file systems.

Best External Hard Drives For Mac

How to partition external hard disk on Mac?

  1. Connect the external hard disk to the Mac.
  2. Click on Disk utility. Select the drive from the left sidebar, then click the Partition tab.
  3. Under Partition layout, select '2 Partitions.'
  4. The user can adjust the size of the partition based on the desired requirement.
  5. Once adjusting based on the desired storage requirement, the user will able to choose the preferred operating system (NTFS or APFS) and complete the procedure.

How to partition external hard disk on Windows?

External Hard Drive That Works With Mac And Pc Simultaneously

  1. Plug the external hard drive into your Windows PC.
  2. Open the Start menu and search for Disk Management.
  3. Select the search result and the Disk Management utility will launch. In the left sidebar, you should see your hard drive and its partitions
  4. Select the drive which you want to be made into a partition. Right-click the Windows partition and select Shrink partition.
  5. In the Format dialog box, under File System, select the desired file system (NTFS). Click OK and complete the format process.

The chances of losing data in this scenario are comparatively high if anything goes wrong in formatting. It is recommended to have a backup of your data before performing this action. If you don’t have a backup you will need a professional hard drive recovery software to recover your lost or formatted data.

External Hard Drive For Mac And Pc Interchangeable

Remo hard drive recovery software is one such professional hard drive recovery tool that can easily help you to recover data from your lost or formatted hard disk. The tool supports more than 300 file formats with which you can be sure of recovering files of any format. The tool comes with two types of scan features, Normal scan, and Deep Scan which scans the hard drive sector by sector which ensures hassle-free data recovery.

FAQ

Are There External Hard Drives That Work For Both Mac And Pc

1. What is Hard format and Quick Format? Is data recovery possible in these scenarios?

  • Hard format - A hard format is an option in Windows, which allows the user to format the whole disk/partition. The disadvantages of this feature are that the data residing on this disk is permanently lost and cannot be recovered
  • Quick Format - Quick format is a feature in which the Windows allows the user to format the disk or partition. Know more on how to perform quick format and recover data after quick format here.
2. How can I use NTFS on Mac?

A. Yes, you can use NTFS on Mac only in read-only mode and it cannot write or overwrite any of these files.
3. How can I use APFS on Windows?
A. Windows is capable of understanding the file format and can read the APFS, but cannot write or overwrite any of these files.