It’s by no means been straightforward to improve the storage in Macs, so it’s at all times a good suggestion to purchase an exterior drive to supply additional storage for all of your work information, images, movies, and video games. And, in fact, you must at all times have an exterior drive obtainable for making Time Machine backups in case something ever goes unsuitable.
Trendy solid-state drives (SSD) are the best choice as they’re actually quick, dependable, and compact. Nevertheless, SSDs are nonetheless comparatively costly, with 1TB drives costing round $100/£150, whereas that very same amount of cash can get you a 4TB primary desktop arduous drive with a USB interface (drives with high-speed Thunderbolt ports are typically costlier) Laborious drives are slower than SSDs, however for those who want a lot of storage in your necessary information and back-ups then a great old style arduous drive continues to be probably the most inexpensive possibility. (If it’s an SSD you might be after, learn Finest exterior SSD for Mac.)
There are many decisions, too, with compact, moveable arduous drives designed to be used with laptops, and desktop drives with very bigger capacities if you really want plenty of storage. Some arduous drives additionally present extra options, equivalent to built-in docks with a lot of Thunderbolt and USB ports, or maybe permitting you to open up the casing of the drive and insert a brand new drive for an on the spot improve.
Under we rank the most effective arduous drives we’ve reviewed lately, plus you’ll discover common shopping for recommendation that explains what you have to be on the lookout for.
Replace 05/09/2023: We’ve added the brand new Seagate Extremely Contact 2023, which is our new choose as the most effective general drive.
1. Seagate Extremely Contact 2023: Finest general drive
2TB, 4TB or 5TB storage
Password safety and encryption
Bigger and heavier than unique mannequin
Worth When Reviewed:
$79.99 (2TB); $124.99 (4TB); $139.99 (5TB)
The unique Seagate Extremely Contact was a pocket-size arduous drive with an attractively slim and light-weight design. It was a reasonably previous design although, restricted to both 1TB or 2TB of storage, and it was nonetheless utilizing an previous USB 3.0 interface that required an adaptor with the intention to work with extra trendy Macs and PCs with USB-C.
This up to date model of the Extremely Contact updates most features of the drive’s design. It’s barely bigger and heavier, however now begins with a minimal of 2TB storage, with 4TB or 5TB fashions additionally obtainable for those who want extra storage. This new mannequin now has a USB-C interface too, with a prolonged (50cm) USB-C cable included as nicely.
The 2TB mannequin – which is completed in cloud white – continues to be pretty slim, measuring simply 13.2mm thick, 80mm extensive and 115mm lengthy, and weighing a modest 168g, so it’s a great possibility for those who simply want a light-weight, moveable drive which you could slip into your pocket or a bag. The 4TB and 5TB fashions are completed in a darker pebble gray and are barely bigger and heavier, measuring 23mm thick and weighing 267g.
You may’t purchase the Extremely Contact immediately from Seagate, so that you’ll have to buy round on-line, and costs do appear to fluctuate rather a lot. The common costs that we got here throughout throughout testing have been round $79.99/£99.99 for the 2TB mannequin that we examined, whereas the 4TB and 5TB fashions are round $124.99/£139.99 and $207.99/£164.99 respectively.
Efficiency is just like that of the unique Extremely Contact, at 130MB/s for each learn and write speeds, which is round common for a conveyable drive equivalent to this. The Extremely Contact consists of some extra options too, equivalent to the flexibility to create mirror folders in your Mac and the Extremely Contact drive which are routinely synced and up to date everytime you make any adjustments to these folders. The Toolkit app additionally offers 256-bit encryption and password safety for additional safety, making the Extremely Contact a great possibility for individuals who have to preserve necessary information safe after they’re working away from the workplace. Clients within the US may also use Seagate’s Knowledge Restoration service to rescue information within the occasion that the drive is broken (though this service isn’t obtainable in all areas).–Cliff Joseph
LaCie’s Cell Drive was already on our record of the most effective arduous drives for Mac customers, and it has only in the near past launched a brand new model of the drive for 2022. The earlier model continues to be obtainable from just a few on-line shops, however you’ll be able to acknowledge it by its sharp, angular design. In distinction, the brand new 2022 Cell Drive adopts Apple’s present design fetish, with a slimline, rectangular design that has easy rounded corners. The LaCie brand is true within the heart, quite than off on one facet as was beforehand the case.
Costs begin at a aggressive £79.99 for a drive with 1TB storage, however there are additionally fashions with 2TB, 4TB, and 5TB obtainable too. The 1TB and 2TB fashions measure simply 10.4mm thick, 85mm extensive, and 118mm lengthy, and weigh 200g, in order that they’re straightforward to select up and carry round together with your laptop computer. The 4TB and 5TB fashions are somewhat thicker – at 20.4mm – and weigh 300g, however that’s nonetheless a great dimension for moveable arduous drives that present such excessive capability. They’re all constructed out of recycled aluminum, and durable sufficient to deal with life on the street.
You need to use them in your Time Machine backups, however LaCie’s ToolKit app – for macOS 10.14 or later – additionally lets you create a Mirror folder that’s routinely up to date everytime you make any adjustments to the information or knowledge inside that folder.
The drive has a USB-C interface, with a USB-C cable included within the field, and recorded write and skim speeds of 126MB/s and 130MB/s respectively when operating the BlackMagic Disk Pace Check. There are quicker arduous drives obtainable, however that’s nonetheless a decent velocity for a compact arduous drive equivalent to this, and the Cell Drive 2022 stays a great, inexpensive backup drive for MacBook homeowners – and even homeowners of desktop Macs who may have the bigger 4TB or 5TB fashions. —Cliff Joseph
3. Seagate Firecuda Particular Version: Finest for Star Wars followers
It is Child Yoda!
USB-C adapter not included
Formatted for Home windows PCs, so you will have to reformat it utilizing Disk Utility
Worth When Reviewed:
Seagate has up to date its vary of Firecuda drives with quite a lot of particular version fashions which have designs taken from Marvel and Star Wars movies. There are drives with Spiderman, Boba Fett and the Mandolorian, however our favourite is the ‘small and highly effective’ Child Yoda drive (sure, we all know his identify is Grogu, however he’ll at all times be Child Yoda to us). And, when connected to your Mac, the drive is even displayed in your desktop with a Child Yoda icon as nicely.
These particular version drives are solely obtainable with 2TB storage, and so they’re all priced at £114.95/$139.99 on Seagate’s web site. That’s somewhat dear for a 2TB drive, so that you’re paying a bit additional for the Star Wars vibe, however we’ve seen them at decrease costs elsewhere on-line, and there are different fashions within the Firecuda vary that present totally different capacities too.
It’s somewhat bigger than some moveable drives, measuring 14.5mm thick, 80mm extensive, and 122mm lengthy. It’s sturdily constructed, although, and solely weighs 167g, so it’s nonetheless gentle sufficient to simply choose it up and slip it onto a bag together with your laptop computer if you’re touring. The one minor oddity with the design is that it makes use of a USB 3.2 interface with a USB-A cable – to supply compatibility with Xbox consoles, apparently – so that you’ll want a USB-C adaptor in case your Mac solely has USB-C.
The Firecuda drive is formatted within the ExFat format for Home windows PCs, however you’ll be able to reformat it for Macs utilizing Disk Utility, and Seagate’s ToolKit app will run on any Mac with macOS 10.14 or later. The drive will work with Time Machine in your Mac, however the ToolKit app additionally lets you create a particular Mirror folder in your Mac that’s at all times saved in sync with an identical Mirror folder on the Firecuda drive. The app even enables you to customise the coloured lighting results for the standing gentle on the entrance of the drive too.
Seagate doesn’t quote a velocity for the drive, however we recorded learn and write speeds of 130MB/s in our checks. Skilled customers may desire a quicker arduous drive or SSD, however that’s a decent velocity for a conveyable arduous drive equivalent to this, and the Firecuda is a extremely good – to not point out severely cute – possibility for day-to-day backups in your Mac. –Cliff Joseph
4. G-Drive ArmorATD: Finest rugged moveable drive
Low-cost for the capability
Formatted to exFAT so you will have to reformat it in Disk Utility
The ArmorATD is an enclosure with a 2.5-inch arduous drive inside that’s shock-mounted, and the rugged aluminum case is surrounded by a silicon sock for additional safety. It’s going to stand up to minor abuse, extra when off than on and the disks are spinning, however your finest guess with any arduous drive is to not deal with it like a hockey puck. The connection is USB-C with a velocity ranking of 5Gbps (USB 3.1/Gen 1)–loads quick sufficient for any arduous drive. The drive guarantee is for 3 years.
You’ll get round 120MBps writing and 127MBps studying most (with massive information) from the ArmorATD in your Mac. Great things. The Armor ATD arrives formatted to exFAT so that you’re good to exit of the field beneath each Home windows and macOS. Nevertheless, exFAT will extract a 5 p.c max penalty, so Mac customers will wish to reformat the drive. –Jon L. Jacobi
Learn our full
G-Drive ArmorATD overview
5. WD Black P10: Finest for players
USB 3.2 with USB-A cable – USB-C adapter not included
Worth When Reviewed:
The WD Black P10 offers a extra moveable various to the WD Black D10, which is geared for desktop use. It’s not as quick because the D10, however it may draw energy from a USB port, so you’ll be able to merely plug it into any Mac, PC, or video games console when it is advisable to again up your information. It’s comparatively massive for a conveyable drive, measuring a chunky 20mm thick, 88mm extensive, and 118mm lengthy, however its bolstered casing is sturdy sufficient to deal with being bumped round in a backpack if you’re touring.
The drive is rated at a comparatively modest 140MB/s for each learn and write efficiency, though our checks truly recorded speeds of 120MB/s and 110MB/s for learn and write efficiency respectively. That’s not going to interrupt any information, nevertheless it’s tremendous for the occasional Time Machine backup or for storing a lot of video games, images, movies, and different multimedia information. The P10 can be competitively priced, beginning at simply $89.99/£80.99 for a wholesome 2TB of storage. There are 4TB and 5TB fashions obtainable too, so the P10 is an effective possibility for Mac customers who’ve actually massive collections of images and movies that they’ll’t match onto their Mac’s inner drive.
The one oddity is that the P10 makes use of an growing older USB 3.2 interface. There’s a USB cable included, nevertheless it has a USB-A connector, so that you’ll want to supply an adaptor for Macs that solely have USB-C. —Cliff Joseph
6. WD My Passport: Finest funds drive
Bigger capability fashions are properly compact
USB-C adapter required (except you by the My Passport For Mac version, which prices extra)
Western Digital’s My Passport drive offers loads of moveable storage at a aggressive value. The My Passport begins at simply $79.99/£49.99 for 1TB storage, going as much as $189/£119.99 for 5TB, so it’s a extremely inexpensive backup possibility for those who’re on a good funds.
The bodily dimension of the drive relies on the quantity of storage you select. The 4TB drive we examined measured a chunky 4.2×3.0×0.8 inches (107x76x19 millimeters) however the 1TB and 2TB fashions are simply 0.43 inches) (11mm) thick. The 4TB drive continues to be sufficiently small to slide right into a jacket pocket with no hassle in any respect. It’s very solidly constructed too, so we’d be glad to make use of it in out of doors places with our MacBook.
Nevertheless, the drive is displaying its age somewhat, utilizing ye olde USB 3.0 interface, so that you’ll want an adaptor in case your Mac solely has USB-C. Its learn and write speeds of 108MBps and 100MBps respectively aren’t going to win any awards both, however the My Passport will nonetheless be tremendous for the occasional Time Machine backup if you’re on the transfer together with your laptop computer.
There’s additionally a mannequin referred to as My Passport For Mac that features additional cables for each USB 3.0 and USB-C, and is pre-formatted in Apple’s HFS+ format, however that’s barely costlier so it’s not important except you’ve acquired a bit of additional money to spare. –Cliff Joseph
7. LaCie 1big Dock: Finest for professional and inventive customers
A number of ports together with a second Thunderbolt port, DisplayPort 1.4 interface and reminiscence card slots
Because the identify suggests, LaCie’s 1big Dock is greater than only a easy arduous drive. It begins at $369/£349.99 for a drive with 4TB storage, going as much as $889/£869.99 for 18TB, and its 7,200rpm IronWolf Professional arduous drive offers robust efficiency with learn and write speeds of 235MBps by way of its Thunderbolt 3 port. That makes it a great possibility for anybody that wants a quick drive for big video, images, and audio information.
The first Thunderbolt port additionally offers energy for charging a MacBook laptop computer as nicely. You even have the choice of popping open the entrance panel to swap out the usual arduous drive and insert a brand new drive to supply an on the spot improve.
However the factor that basically makes the 1big Dock stand out from most of its arduous drive rivals is its built-in hub and connectivity options. There’s a second Thunderbolt port that may help you join extra Thunderbolt and USB-C units, and a DisplayPort 1.4 interface for an exterior monitor.
The entrance of the drive additionally offers a typical USB 3.0 port and slots for each SD and CompactFlash (CF) reminiscence playing cards, making it an amazing possibility for inventive customers who have to import information from cameras and different units.
There’s additionally a model of the 1big Dock obtainable that makes use of quicker solid-state storage too–in fact, it’s fairly a bit costlier. –Cliff Joseph
8. WD Black D10: Finest funds performer
8TB mannequin solely
Requires USB-C adapter
Requires exterior energy provide
Worth When Reviewed:
8TB – £259.99
Western Digital’s WD Black drives are primarily geared toward players who need a quick drive to spice up loading instances for his or her video games, which explains why the menacing black design of this D10 desktop drive appears to be like like a bit of heavyweight munitions from the Name Of Obligation video games. However a quick drive may also attraction to anybody that has plenty of images, movies, and audio information that they wish to retailer on their Mac, and the D10 has different options that may come in useful too.
Some features of the design are somewhat odd. There’s just one model obtainable, with 8TB storage, though its $240/£199.99 price ticket on Amazon continues to be aggressive for a quick drive equivalent to this. It’s outfitted with solely an previous USB A interface (regardless that it’s USB 3.2) maybe to supply compatibility with older video games consoles, so that you’ll want an adapter in case your Mac solely has USB-C.
Its 7,200-rpm drive offers superb efficiency, reaching learn and write speeds of 245MBps and 240MBps, respectively. The D10 requires an exterior energy provide, so it’s very a lot designed for desktop use, nevertheless it additionally has two extra USB 3.2 ports on the again of the drive that may present energy to different units, equivalent to an iPhone or iPad. These ports are just for charging, although, so you’ll be able to’t use the D10 as a dock for connecting peripherals equivalent to a printer or reminiscence stick. –Cliff Joseph
How to decide on the precise Mac arduous drive
We’ve rounded up the most effective Mac arduous drives above, however earlier than making a shopping for determination it is advisable to take into consideration the way you’ll be utilizing the machine. To seek out the most effective arduous drive in your wants, it is advisable to reply just a few questions.
How a lot storage do I would like?
Laborious drive storage is comparatively low-cost. Except you might be actually out to save lots of your pennies, the smallest dimension of arduous drive we’d suggest is 1TB.
Upgrades to 2TB, 3TB, and even 4TB are additionally cost-effective–the worth per megabyte goes down the upper the capability, so making the bump as much as the following mannequin is a good suggestion. Every terabyte can retailer round 11,000 music albums at 192kbps high quality, however such storage doesn’t appear so grand when you begin archiving 4K video.
Moveable or desktop?
In case you suppose you’ll be pleased with a 1TB to 4TB arduous drive, you should buy a conveyable drive. These use small 2.5-inch disks, and so they match fortunately right into a coat pocket. Moveable drives are normally bus-powered, too. This implies you simply have to plug them into your desktop or laptop computer, no separate energy provide is required. There’s only one cable, and the drive will barely take up any area.
If solely an ultra-high capability arduous drive will do, contemplate a desktop unit. These use bigger 3.5-inch drives and have a tendency to cowl capacities from 4TB to 18TB. They’ll must be plugged in for energy; that’s tremendous if it keep residence all the time, or strikes from workplace to workplace.
Rugged drives for journey
Some moveable drives provide ruggedization. Shock safety is a very powerful type for a tough drive, as in contrast to an SSD they’ve shifting elements that may be completely broken following a drop. Rugged drives normally have some type of rubber coating that soaks up influence forces, and a toughened enclosure that gained’t dent, crack or collapse beneath any regular quantity of stress.
A number of even have water resistance. Whereas few are rated IP68 like aniPhone 11 Professional, that means they are often submerged in water with out harm, a number of can deal with rain or water jets/splashes.
Purchase a bigger drive, although, and also you’re extra prone to get different options. Desktop items might have a built-in “hub”, letting you plug-in reminiscence playing cards or peripherals utilizing USB ports. These are notably helpful in case your present setup has restricted connectivity, or the USBs you do have simply aren’t that useful.
Which connector do you want?
Matching the arduous drive’s connector to these of your laptop computer or desktop can be important. You’ll get a cable within the field, however it can both terminate with a USB-A or USB-C formed plug, as seen right here:
Except you’ve an previous Mac or MacBook that solely gives the previous USB-A port, you’ll will need the newer USB-C connector, which additionally doubles up as Thunderbolt. Each Mac bought by Apple up to now few years contains a USB-C type connector, though some Mac desktops nonetheless provide the older USB customary as nicely.
Not all USB-Cs are the identical, although. The USB-C port on Macs additionally helps Thunderbolt 3 and in some circumstances Thunderbolt 4. USB-C is predicated on USB 3.1 and gives as much as 10Gbps. Thunderbolt 3 gives as much as 40Gbps. Thunderbolt 4 additionally gives 40Gbps, however has just a few different benefits, together with a 32Gbps knowledge price, which will likely be a profit to anybody who must switch massive video information to from the drive to their desktop for enhancing. There’s additionally a brand new USB 4 customary that provides between 20Gbps and 40Gbps bandwidth that you will notice alongside the newer Thunderbolt 4 customary, however be aware that USB 4 doesn’t provide all of the options of Thunderbolt.
It’s clear that Thunderbolt is a greater possibility than USB if you’re on the lookout for the most effective interface in your arduous drive, however Thunderbolt choices are prone to be costlier than their USB counterparts.
Wi-fi and NAS
Not each arduous drive must be plugged in: you can too go for a network-attached storage (NAS) drive which permits to to wirelessly switch information and backups. These network-attached storage drives hook up with your private home Wi-Fi to share their knowledge with different units in your house. That may be a wise TV, Apple TV, a pill or laptop computer.
A NAS is especially helpful if you wish to arrange a media server at residence. This is sort of a wi-fi jukebox you’ll be able to fill with movies, images and music. Learn our greatest NAS drivesfunction for extra.