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These days, most computers come with enough internal or cloud memory to handle any quantity of personal material. Fans of Google’s flagship software ‘Drive’ can often handle massive amounts of office work in only the 15GB that comes with a free account. Those who favor desktop storage tend to have nearly 500GB of drive space as a bare minimum.

That is all well and good if the computer is dedicated to pedestrian tasks only – browsing, word processing, even slideshows or downloads can all be absorbed with hundreds of gigabytes left over. The real strains on memory come from more specialized work, capable of eating tens of gigabytes for just a mild update.

Certain database programs, for instance, can often come with their own external hard drive already filled with whole terabytes of data. Powerful coding studios or actuator programs to run machinery can require not only another drive but sometimes an extra processor to handle the larger input and output.

It should come as no surprise that there is often a need for more memory to handle such intensive tasks. Hard drive expansion is a common need among the world of advanced computing, with a number of solutions readily available for any operating system.

Even the usually picky iOS can easily find large, compatible external hard drives. Here are five of the best drive Mac users can plug in to boost their system.

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Best External Hard Drive For Mac – Comparison Table

IMAGE PRODUCT  
EDITOR’S CHOICEq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07MY4KWFP&Format= SL200 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whatsabyte 20&language=en USir?t=whatsabyte 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B07MY4KWFP 1. Seagate Backup
  • Brushed metal casing
  • USB 2.0 and 3.0
  • 120 MB/s transfer speed
  • 2 TB added storage
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RUNNER UPq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B073H552FJ&Format= SL200 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whatsabyte 20&language=en USir?t=whatsabyte 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B073H552FJ 2. Samsung T5
  • FBrushed metal casing
  • USB 3.1 Generation 2
  • 520 Mb/s transfer speed
  • Up to 2TB add storage
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q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01LQQHLGC&Format= SL200 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whatsabyte 20&language=en USir?t=whatsabyte 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B01LQQHLGC 3. Western Digital My Book
  • Textured plastic casing
  • USB 2.0 and 3.0 compatible
  • 256 MB/s transfer speed
  • Up to 20 TB extra storage
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q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B071NFVXBH&Format= SL200 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whatsabyte 20&language=en USir?t=whatsabyte 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B071NFVXBH 4. LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt
  • Rubber and steel casing
  • 130 MB/s transfer speed
  • USB C and Thunderbolt 3 compatible
  • Up to 2TB added storage
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q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00ND4DV9M&Format= SL200 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whatsabyte 20&language=en USir?t=whatsabyte 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B00ND4DV9M 5. G-Technology G-DRIVE
  • Brushed steel casing
  • USB 3.0 compatible
  • 195 MB/s transfer speed
  • Up to 10TB added storage
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Our BestExternal Hard Drive For Mac Reviews and Comparisons

1. Seagate Backup

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07MY4KWFP&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whatsabyte 20&language=en USir?t=whatsabyte 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B07MY4KWFP

Product Highlights

This hard drive both boosts your available storage and comes with some very useful programs preinstalled.

Features

  • Brushed metal casing
  • USB 2.0 and 3.0
  • 120 MB/s transfer speed
  • 2 TB added storage

What We Like About Seagate Backup

With this drive, you get a free trial of both Mylo Create and Adobe Creative Cloud, both powerful photo editing programs that could come in very handy for someone looking to store several terabytes of images.

What We Don’t Like About Seagate Backup

The transfer cable is a proprietary Seagate design, not USB 3.0 or USB C.

PROS

  • Sturdy exterior
  • Relatively low priced
  • Minimal physical footprint
  • Free trials of Mylo Create and Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Compatible with Windows as well

CONS

  • No universal transfer cable
  • Not compatible with USB C.

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2. Samsung T5

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B073H552FJ&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whatsabyte 20&language=en USir?t=whatsabyte 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B073H552FJ

Product Highlights

This drive features a blazing fast write speed and full USB-C compatibility.

Features

  • FBrushed metal casing
  • USB 3.1 Generation 2
  • 520 Mb/s transfer speed
  • Up to 2TB add storage

What We Like About Samsung T5

This drive comes with high-speed USB-C and a set of adapters to make sure it works with any machine.

What We Don’t Like About Samsung T5

This drive is exceptionally costly compared to similar products.

PROS

  • Less than 10 centimeters to a side
  • Included adapters
  • Exceptional transfer speed
  • USB -C compatible
  • Included 256-bit encryption options

CONS

  • Relatively pricey
  • Requires adapters for older USB versions

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3. Western Digital My Book

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01LQQHLGC&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whatsabyte 20&language=en USir?t=whatsabyte 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B01LQQHLGC

Product Highlights

This drive comes compatible with Time Machine as well as adding an incredible amount of storage.

Features

  • Textured plastic casing
  • USB 2.0 and 3.0 compatible
  • 256 MB/s transfer speed
  • Up to 20 TB extra storage

What We Like About Western Digital My Book

This drive adds a staggering amount of space to your Mac, allowing you to safely store even your heaviest programs and highest-definition videos, images, and games.

What We Don’t Like About Western Digital My Book

Although technology is getting smaller all the time, this device still takes up a relatively large amount of space on your desk.

PROS

  • Included 256-bit AES encryption
  • Time Machine compatible
  • Does not heat up with prolonged use
  • Works with USB and Micro-USB
  • Up to 20TB of added storage

CONS

  • Larger than most external drive
  • Will require its own power supply

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4. LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B071NFVXBH&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whatsabyte 20&language=en USir?t=whatsabyte 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B071NFVXBH

Product Highlights

This drive is built tough to handle whatever might happen while being moved from one computer to the next

Features

  • Rubber and steel casing
  • 130 MB/s transfer speed
  • USB C and Thunderbolt 3 compatible
  • Up to 2TB added storage

What We Like About LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt

This drive comes with splash and shock resistance that lets you pack it and go without worrying whether it will survive the journey

What We Don’t Like About LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt

The transfer speed on this drive does not compare with similar products.

PROS

  • Dust and shock resistant
  • Splash protection
  • Optimized for Thunderbolt 3
  • Rubberized bumpers for added grip
  • One month of Adobe Creative Cloud included

CONS

  • Slow transfer speed
  • Relatively little storage space

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5. G-Technology G-DRIVE

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00ND4DV9M&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whatsabyte 20&language=en USir?t=whatsabyte 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B00ND4DV9M

Product Highlights

This drive is made for those behind the curve, handling data from Apple’s older systems and connectors.

Features

  • Brushed steel casing
  • USB 3.0 compatible
  • 195 MB/s transfer speed
  • Up to 10TB added storage

What We Like About G-Technology G-DRIVE

This drive is your go-to device for legacy iOS devices, including USB A and early Thunderbolt connectors.

What We Don’t Like About G-Technology G-DRIVE

Because this has a disc and not a solid-state storage array, it is more fragile and can heat up quicker while in use.

PROS

  • Steel casing for improved durability
  • USB 3.0 transfer
  • 7200 rpm processing
  • Works with old Thunderbolt connections
  • Specifically made for rescuing old data with Apple’s Time Machine

CONS

  • Heats up during use
  • Cannot alternate between Windows and Mac

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Final Verdict

With these drives, your Apple computer will be guaranteed the space and speed it needs to handle the heaviest programming and processing tasks. Pick one that fits your needs and budget and plug it right into your Mac to start freeing up space.

Users should be aware that the devices here are memory only, and will not necessarily speed up the computer to which they are attached. Although some do come with their own processors, they do not make the computer work faster just by giving it more storage.

By the same token, these devices do constitute memory to your computer and should be treated with all the caution that a personal drive warrants – more, even, given their extreme portability. Never save anything to an external drive that you would not want someone walking off with, encryption or not.

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