Running out of space for photos and important documents on your Apple computer? Then it’s time to look for an external hard drive. 🤔 🖥️
In the digital age, a large amount of information is stored digitally. Everything from photos to videos and even important documents are all stored on a computer. Yet they fill up a PCs internal storage fast. External hard drives are a great way to safely store everything you need, and if you purchase a portable drive, you can keep it with you at all times for extra security.
Things are a bit different when it comes to buying or partitioning an external hard drive for a Mac. Still, it really isn’t that different from buying one for other computers, yet the problem occurs if you have a newer Macbook. Modern Apple laptops feature Thunderbolt 3 ports, therefore, you’ll need to look for an external drive that’s compatible with Thunderbolt 3.
Our list of external hard drives for Mac are all Apple-ready and feature enough storage for video editors, photographers, and everyone else.
Best Choice: WD 6TB My Book
Pros & Cons
- Password protection with hardware encryption
- Complete backup software
- Apple time machine compatible
- 3-year warranty
- 3/4/6/8/10 TB options
- Reformat for Mac
- Requires external power adapter
- Capacity: 6 TB
- Connectivity: 2.0/3.0 USB
- Max Speed: 7,200 rpm
- Size: 5.5 x 1.9 x 6.7 inches
- Weight: 2.31 lbs
WD 6TB My Book Review
Our best choice option is a beast of an external hard drive, and if you’ve read our list of the best external hard drives, you’ll know that this isn’t the first time we’ve reviewed a Western Digital product.
This Western Digital My Book isn’t a portable drive, rather a desktop external hard drive suitable for the office. The size may put some people off, but if you’re a music producer, video editor, or photographer who requires much more storage than the average person, then the WD My Book desktop drive is perfect for you.
We chose the 6TB version which falls just short of $130, though that isn’t the max capacity. This desktop drive goes up to a whopping 20TB of storage, which is enough space for a lifetime of documents and photographs for most people.
When it comes to other options, you have the choice between a single or dual Western Digital drive. A duo external hard drive often serves as a docking station as they feature multiple USB ports.
For this reason, you can very easily free up space on multiple devices, and still have plenty of spare space left for future files. Though a single drive is suitable for most people, and they are much more affordable than the dual drive options.
Alongside a massive capacity of 6TB, our chosen single drive is also Time Machine compatible, and if you do end up utilizing all 6 terabytes of storage, the My Book offers password protection to keep content private. Unfortunately, although it’s suitable for Mac, you do have to learn how to reformat this HDD for Apple computers.
Premium Pick: LaCie Rugged Portable Hard Drive
Pros & Cons
- Comes with a solid case
- Water, shock, and drop-resistant
- Hardware encryption
- SSD option
- Thunderbolt USB-C/2.0/Raid and USB-C/2.0 options
- 1/2/4/5TB options
- Capacity: 2TB
- Connectivity: USB-C
- Max Speed: 125 MB/s
- Size: 3.39 x 5.32 x 0.74 inches
- Weight: 0.22 lbs
LaCie Rugged Portable Hard Drive with Case Review
One of the things to look out for when looking to buy an external hard drive is durability, and the LaCie Rugged is definitely a sturdy drive.
This thing has the aesthetic of a lifebuoy ring, and although it won’t survive in the sea, it is water resistant. Adding to the quality build, it’s also shock and drop-resistant, yet we wouldn’t advise that you go and launch this thing onto the ground. It can definitely take some accidental drops though, and if you’re clumsy, the included hard-shell case will give it some extra protection.
We understand that the bright orange color of the rubber casing can be off-putting, and if you don’t like the look of it, you can simply remove it. Though, we would advise that you keep it on, regardless of how loud the color is, as it just gives the external hard drive that extra bit of protection.
Now, despite the fact that the LaCie only has an extra terabyte of storage compared to the G-Technology drive, it is a much more expensive buy. Yet, if you want to ensure your files are completely safe, paying more may just be worth it. After all, quality usually comes with a cost.
Best Value: G-Technology G-DRIVE
Pros & Cons
- Designed for Mac – supports Time Machine and FileVault
- 3-year warranty
- 4 TB option is bulkier
- Capacity: 1 TB
- Connectivity: USB-C/3.0 and Thunderbolt 3
- Max Speed: 140 MB/s
- Size: 4.33 x 3.23 x 0.41 inches
- Weight: 0.30 lbs
G-Technology G-DRIVE Mobile Portable External Hard Drive Review
The first portable drive on our list is the G-Technology drive. It’s USB-C, USB 3.0, and Thunderbolt 3 compatible, meaning it’s Mac-ready out of the box. The setup for Mac is fairly simple, and with transfer speeds up to 140MB/s, you’ll be moving anything from photos to music with speed.
The stylish aluminum body of this G-Technology drive is encased in solid plastic, ensuring all of your files are safe within a quality build. When it comes to the color options, you can tell that this drive was built for Mac computers.
There’s a space gray option, as preferred by us, as well as silver and gold. Understandably, the gold color is more expensive, and if you’re looking to save a few extra bucks, opt for the silver drive.
Not only are the colors suitable for Mac, but the G-Technology drive also supports Time Machine and FileVault for password protection and encryption. You can relax knowing that your files with always be safe with this G-Drive, and for under $80, you can’t go wrong with this value external hard drive suitable for Mac.
Best Portable: Samsung T5
Pros & Cons
- Fast read/write speeds
- Strong, metal body
- Small, pocket-sized SSD
- Optional password protection with AES 256-bit hardware encryption
- Capacity only goes up to 2TB
- Capacity: 500 GB
- Connectivity: USB 3.1 and Type-C
- Max Speed: 540 MB/s read, 520 MB/s write
- Size: 2.3 x 0.4 x 3 inches
- Weight: 0.1 lbs
Samsung T5 Portable External Review
Back onto another affordable external hard drive, this time a Samsung. The Samsung T5 portable external SSD is perfect for a small number of files. We chose the 500GB version to include a variety of storage size options to our list, but don’t let the capacity and dimensions fool you.
The Samsung T5 external hard drive has a read-write speed of up to 540MB/s, packing a lot of power into such a compact design. This is because it’s an SSD, rather than an HDD, making it a much speedier drive. If speed is your main concern, why not check out the best SSD for gaming and replace that old hard disk drive?
As the dimensions are much smaller than the other drives on our list, you can fit the Samsung T5 into your pocket and take it with you anywhere. This pocket-sized external drive is great for traveling creatives who require a lot of power on-the-go.
And if you’re out and about, you’ll be thrilled to know that the T5’s metal body can handle drops of around 2 meters. We’ll leave it to you to test that one out. The cost is high despite only having a 500GB capacity, yet the high-quality build and transfer speeds make up for the price.
Best for Photographers: Seagate Backup Plus External Drive
Pros & Cons
- Automatic backup with Seagate software
- Slim design
- Cheaper 1/2/4TB options
- 2-month complimentary membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan
- The software isn’t the best
- The installation process on Mac
- Capacity: 5 TB
- Connectivity: USB/3.0 USB
- Max Speed: 120 MB/s
- Size: 4.51 x 3.07 x 0.81 inches
- Weight: 0.54 lbs
Seagate Backup Plus External Drive Review
Seagate is renowned for making some of the best external hard drives on the market, and we at Game Gavel just can’t get enough of them. If you’ve read our list of the best external hard drives for PS4, you’ll know that we featured this exact drive there too.
Unlike our best choice option, the Seagate Backup Plus Slim is formatted for Mac right out of the box. Forget lengthy setups, you can simply plug this Seagate external drive into your computer and transfer files with ease. And at 120 MB/s, you won’t be slowed down by lengthy transfer times either.
The capacity on the Seagate Backup Plus is not only great for creatives, but photographers will be chuffed to know that the drive includes a 2-month complimentary membership to Adobe’s photography plan. Talk about value-for-money!
For just under $120 you get 5TB of storage and 4 color options, although suave silver compliments Macs more than the red or blue colors.
External Hard Drives For Mac: Buying Guide
Learning how to use an external hard drive is simple but there are some tricks you should know about. Here are a few things you need to look out for when browsing for external hard drives.
The number of terabytes you need totally depends on what you do. If you’re a video editor or photographer, you’ll require a much larger storage size compared to those who just need some extra space for family photos.
1-2 TBs is plenty for most people, yet if you require more, anything around 4TBs is a go-to option.
Read-write speeds are a very important part of an external hard drive. A high transfer speed allows you to move large files much faster, while an SSD usually does a better job at this than an HDD.
External hard drives can be expensive, but the cost mostly comes down to the capacity. Our list contains some budget external hard drive options for Mac, alongside some more expensive, higher capacity drives. Here’s what we found.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Have to Have a Special External Hard Drive for Mac?
In short, no. So long as you have the right connectors, there’s no special external hard drive for Mac. We have reviewed some of the best external hard drives in general, yet some of them were difficult to use on Mac computers. Therefore, we went away and reviewed some of the best external hard drives suitable for Mac.
There are many external hard drives on the market that are suitable for Mac, yet we cut it down to five affordable, value, and best choice options for you to choose from. What will you choose? A high capacity desktop drive or a portable drive suitable for travelers.
If you’re looking for some more Mac hardware, check out quality Mac keyboards as well.