Best External Hard Drive for Mac – Top 5 Picks

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With the way we power use our Macs these days, there is always a need for more storage. While your Mac might not be physically able to accommodate another hard drive, especially if you have a portable mac, your storage options are virtually limitless when you start using external hard drives for Mac. Below, you will be introduced to the top 5 external hard drive for Mac models, with brief but helpful descriptions on each of them.

Now, please note that some of the following models are available in USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Thunderbolt and FireWire models. If we were to recommend a particular model, we would highly recommend 3.0 as it offers the best of both speeds and affordability.

1. Seagate Backup Plus 1TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive for Mac

  • Available in 500 GB/1 TB models
  • Available in USB 3.0/USB 2.0/Thunderbolt models
  • Out of the box compatibility with OS X and Time Machine
  • Interchangeable with Mac/PC
  • Auto Social Network content backup enabled (Backup media from Facebook, Flickr or YouTube)
  • Upgrade to Thunderbolt mode with an adapter

Seagate Backup Plus 1TB external hard drive for MacThis is a fantastic choice of external hard drive for Mac if you want a robust portable hard drive with a system that allows for automatic backing up of content that you post to your social networks. If you post a lot of pictures to Facebook or many videos to YouTube, this hard disk will always make sure that you have a second copy saved, sound and safe.

Buy Seagate Backup Plus from

2. Western Digital My Passport, 1 TB Portable Hard Drive for Mac (USB 3.0)

  • Available in 500 GB/1 TB/2 TB models
  • USB 3.0 / USB 2.0
  • 3 Years Limited Warranty
  • Hardware encryption and password protection available
  • Out of the box compatibility with Mac OS X and Time Machine
  • Fashionable design
  • Compatibility with Windows (after formatting)

WD My Passport External Hard drive for MacThis is a portable and external hard drive for your Mac that you can choose if you want a rather snazzy looking external storage option. What we also like about this model is that it is available in 2 TB capacities which will allow power users to enjoy fantastic storage options in a high quality portable drive. The 3 year warranty and the encryption and password protection make it an all round fantastic product. Western Digital, like Seagate, is one of the top players in the storage space and their quality is indisputable.

Buy Western Digital My Passport from


3. Toshiba Canvio Slim II Portable External Hard Drive for Mac

  • Available in 500 GB/1 TB models
  • USB 3.0 / USB 2.0
  • 10 GB free cloud storage space
  • 3 year limited warranty
  • OS X Time Machine compatible
  • Unique brushed aluminum design
  • Mobile content backup enabled
  • Password feature

Toshiba Canvio Slim external hard drive for MacLike the two other Mac external hard disks discussed above, this Toshiba hard disk can be used immediately with your Mac, right out of the box, without any formatting. It comes with a design that has a lot of oomph, thanks to the very fashionable brushed aluminum finish. The password protect feature and the mobile content backup feature make it a great choice, especially because it is a little lower priced than the similarly equipped Seagate and WD hard drives mentioned earlier.

Buy Toshiba Canvio Slim II from

4. Apple USB Superdrive

  • Writes & Reads DVD/CD
  • Writes DVDs at 6x speeds
  • Writes CDs at 16x speeds
  • Reads DVDs at 8x speeds
  • Reads CDs at 24x speeds
  • Compact design – Dimensions of a CD case

Apple USB Superdrive external hard drive for MacThis is technically not an external hard disk for your Mac although it can easily be considered as one. All you have to do is throw in a DVD or CD into this drive to create your storage space. With 5 GB writable DVDs ┬ácapacity costing as little as $0.20 each, it is an excellent storage option if you have to hand out your content to people who you don’t want to give out an expensive external hard disk to.

Of course, since it is an Apple product, there is hardly anything to worry about when it comes to quality.

Buy Apple USB Superdrive from

5. Transcend 1 TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive for Mac

  • Available in 500 GB/750 GB/1 TB models
  • USB 3.0/2.0
  • Military grade shock resistant design
  • Integrated software to assist backups/compression and encryption
  • One touch auto backup feature

Transcend 1TB USB 3.0 external hard drive for Mac (Shock Proof)If you need an external hard disk that you can literally throw around, maybe in your backpack or as you hand it to clumsy friends, this very attractively priced Transcend external hard disk will make a great choice.

We really like the one button backup option feature which allows you to press a button on this external hard disk to automatically backup certain folders on your Mac. Of course, you will have to set up this feature once when you first use it although it is truly one-touch use from then on. It is available at an excellent price as well.

Buy Transcend 1 TB USB 3.0 from

There you have it, a quick roundup of the 5 best external hard drive for Mac choices! You can also click through one of the product links above to check out numerous other popular external hard disks for Mac, all listed at, one of the world’s most trusted E-Commerce platform.

About the Author
Michelle, author at Mach Machines. A tech lover and an insatiable latte drinker. Michelle blogs about improving the personal computing experience.
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  7. Johari-9 Reply

    @Chris – Definitely Seagate Backup Plus. More than anything, it is a very durable hard disk that can take a lot of bangs and small drops. I have even dropped it more than 3 feet a couple of times and it still works great. Can’t say the same for some of the other hard disks I have tried.

  8. Johari-9 Reply

    I have 7 external hard drives and have every model listed above, except the Toshiba model. Seems like a new one and a pretty good deal too…might try it out pretty soon with the way I am buying external

    • Chris Reply

      Hello Johari-9,

      so, I want to buy only one 1TB portable USB3 HDD, given your real-world experience, what should I buy? It’s for home, Time Machine back-up, not-live-mounted-use?



  9. Ravi's 83 Reply

    You just can’t go wrong with Seagate Backup Plus. Have been using it almost everyday for the past 6 months and even dropped it a few times. Never a problem.

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