Best External Hard Drives for Mac in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 13, 2020
Anyone who uses a Mac computer knows that the included internal hard drive tends to fill up quickly. The best solution, especially for those using a portable Mac, is an external hard drive. Read on for our reviews of five of the best external hard drives for Macs. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Capacity
Interface
Backup Options
Weight
OS Compatibility
Warranty
 
PROS

Password protection with WD Security, as well as built-in 256-bit AES hardware encryption, helps keep your content safe and secure from prying eyes.

CONS

A little noisy.

OUR VERDICT

The Western Digital 2TB My Passport external hard drive fits easily in the palm of your hand, so you can take all your material with you wherever you go. Choose the storage capacity you need and enjoy high-speed data transfers.

detailed parameters
Type

Portable

Capacity

4 TB, 2 TB, 5 TB

Interface

1 x USB 3.0 (USB 2.0 compatible, USB-C ready)

Backup Options

WD Discovery™ software for WD Backup™, WD Security™ and WD Drive Utilities™, compatible with Time Machine

Weight

0.21 kg

OS Compatibility

Requires reformatting for other operating systems

Warranty

3 years limited

PROS

The drive comes with USB-C and USB-A cables, so the device is compatible with any Mac, regardless of its year of manufacture, and doesn't require a Thunderbolt port.

CONS

Setup can be time-consuming.

OUR VERDICT

The Western Digital My Passport is a reliable solid state drive you can trust. It implements the latest technologies that contribute to ensuring the security and privacy of all your data, giving you a strong feeling of security wherever you take it.

detailed parameters
Type

Portable

Capacity

1 TB, 2 TB, 3 TB, 4 TB

Interface

1 x USB 3.0

Backup Options

WD Discovery™ software for WD Backup™, WD Security™ and WD Drive Utilities™, compatible with Time Machine

Weight

0.17 kg

OS Compatibility

Requires reformatting for other operating systems

Warranty

3 years limited

PROS

Together with the device you will receive a two-month subscription to Adobe CC Photography (a plan for working with photos), as well as an annual subscription to Mylio Create (an application for organising photos).

CONS

Can slide around on hard surfaces.

OUR VERDICT

A portable drive that fits easily in any bag and allows you to store large amounts of data. Ready to go right away. Supports both Mac and Windows without the need for reformatting. Available in stylish colours.

detailed parameters
Type

Portable

Capacity

2 TB, 1 TB, 4 TB, 5 TB

Interface

1 x USB-C, USB 3.0 Ready

Backup Options

Backup Plus Ultra Touch

Weight

0.14 kg

OS Compatibility

Windows, Mac OS X

Warranty

2 years

PROS

The drive boasts the highest data transfer speed of 540 MB/s, so you can quickly place your photos, playlists, documents and much more on the device.

CONS

It may noticeably heat up during operation.

OUR VERDICT

This external LaCie Mobile hard drive provides easy access to your data, as well as automatic file backups. The 30th anniversary diamond-cut design will definitely not leave anyone indifferent. For your convenience, it comes with a USB-C cable and a USB 3.0 cable.

detailed parameters
Type

Portable

Capacity

2 TB, 1 TB, 4 TB, 5 TB

Interface

1 x USB-C, USB 3.0 Ready

Backup Options

LaCie Toolkit: backup and mirroring software

Weight

0.2 kg

OS Compatibility

Windows, Mac OS X

Warranty

2 years limited

PROS

The USB cable is integrated inside the case, so you will never need to worry about losing it. All interfaces are securely closed with a dense plug.

CONS

Instructions are sparse.

OUR VERDICT

The LaCie portable external hard drive is one of the best protected from dust, sand, moisture and physical damage. Its body is made of durable aluminium with a sheath of shockproof rubber coating of a bright orange colour, very pleasant to the touch.

detailed parameters
Type

Portable

Capacity

1 TB, 2 TB, 4 TB, 5 TB, 500 GB

Interface

1 x USB-C

Backup Options

LaCie backup software. compatible with Time Machine and Windows Backup

Weight

0.3 kg

OS Compatibility

Windows, Mac OS X

Warranty

3 year

WD My Passport External Hard Drive

Take Your Data Anywhere

There is something to be said about the latest advances in technology. Thousands of pages of data are now instantly accessible to us, stored on a small computer whereas just a few decades ago they would have required a large file cabinet. Today, you can take several file cabinets worth of data with you anywhere, along with all of the movies and music and photos that you want, thanks to the WD My Passport External Hard Drive. This drive, which is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, holds up to 4 TB of data, with other capacities available as well. This is enough for most people who have large data storage needs, such as those who often work on large video files.

Just having the data with you is one thing, but what about keeping that data secure? This is a huge concern with any portable hard drive, yet this WD external HD has you covered. The WD Security gives you built-in password protection as well as 256-bit AES hardware encryption, which keeps your data completely safe from prying eyes. For Mac users, setting up the hard drive is extremely simple - just plug it into your Mac's USB port, and it should be instantly ready to go. If you're a Mac user who need a high capacity storage solution for your MacBook, then this drive is definitely one of the top options available.

Review of WD My Passport External Hard Drive

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

WD My Passport for Mаc

Reliable Solid State Drive

Most external hard drive options that people look at tend to be mechanical hard drives. This is fine for those who need a larger storage capacity at a cheaper price point, but for those who want the ultimate in reliability and security, a solid state drive (SSD) is the way to go. These drives are typically lighter, less power-hungry, and have data access speeds that are far faster than any mechanical hard drive. The downside to them is that they tend to cost a lot more than mechanical hard drives when comparing the same storage capacity, but for many people, the extra expense is worth it.

The Western Digital My Passport is a reliable solid state drive you can trust. It implements the latest technologies that contribute to ensuring the security and privacy of all your data, giving you a strong feeling of security wherever you take it. In addition, this drive comes with both USB-C and USB-A cables, so the device is compatible with any Mac, regardless of its year of manufacture, and doesn't require a Thunderbolt port. The drive comes with Western Digital's backup software installed, although it is also compatible with Apple's Time Machine software, so you have a great choice of backup options. If you need external storage that is both speedy and secure, this external solid state drive is the way to go.

Review of WD My Passport for Mаc

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Seagate Backup Plus Slim (2020)

Stylish Design

If you are a Mac user, chances are that you like the aesthetic quality of most Mac computers, and as such, you want any peripherals that you use along with the system to have that same quality. This probably even extends to any portable hard drives that you may connect to your Mac. With the Seagate Backup Plus Slim External Hard Drive, you definitely get something that will aesthetically match your Mac. This external hard drive features a stylish case that looks quite nice, with an extremely classy appearance that goes well with most Macs.

Of course, this hard drive isn't just all about appearances. You get plenty of storage capacity with the 2 TB model, and you can choose other storage capacities ranging from 1 TB to 5 TB if you have different storage needs. The drive is extremely easy to setup, and is compatible with both PC laptops and Macs without the need to reformat the drive. Just plug it in and it will be ready for your files.

Seagate has included some nice extras for those who purchase this hard drive. All users get a a two-month subscription to Adobe CC Photography, as well as a yearly subscription to Mylio Create, making this drive the perfect option for professional or hobbyist photographers who need extra storage for their photos.

Review of Seagate Backup Plus Slim (2020) External Hard Drive for PC Laptop and Mac

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

LaCie Mobile Drive for Mac

Fast Data Access

LaCie has been one of the most well-known makers of peripherals for Macs, including portable hard drives, and they have become a favorite of many Mac users due to their high-performance devices that are designed to match most Mac computers. You get these same qualities in the LaCie Mobile Drive for Mac, with a 30th anniversary diamond-cut design that will go quite well with any MacBook or Mac Mini, giving you a stylish design along with high performance. This drive comes with 2 TB of storage capacity, with other capacities available as well, letting you choose the right one for your data storage needs.

Looks aren't the only thing going for this external hard drive. Along with the high data capacity, you also get extremely fast data transfer speeds, with the performance measuring up to 540 MB/s in read operations. This gives you near-instantaneous access to any files stored on the drive, no matter how large or small they are. The drive includes a USB 3.0 Type-C connector that lets you plug the drive into your Mac, with it being ready to use right off the bat. There is even back-up software included that lets you set up regular backups for your Mac's internal hard drive or SSD. All in all, this high-performance drive from LaCie should be the best companion for anyone's Mac.

Review of LaCie Mobile Drive for Mac Thunderbolt External Hard Drive

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

LaCie Rugged External

Rugged and Classy

The LaCie Rugged (USB-C + USB 3.0) Portable 2.5 Inch External Hard Drive is an external hard drive that is sure to please any Mac user. Featuring a ruggedised external case with a beautiful orange bumper, this hard drive is extremely resistant to any kinds of drops or jolts, meaning that the drive operation will continue uninterrupted and that your data will remain safe. The drive connects to your Mac through a USB 3.0 connection, providing blazing fast transfer speeds of up to 130 MB/s. The 1 TB of storage capacity ensures that you have plenty of room to store your data, including large files common with photo and video editing. The speed of the drive also ensures that data transfers will happen quickly.

Along with the great looks and blazing fast speed, the drive comes with extras including the LaCie backup software, although the drive is fully compatible with Time Machine as well. The LaCie backup software is easy to use and takes only a few moments to configure it to automatically backup all of your important data. The drive itself is also quite easy to use, operating in a true plug and play fashion. As this drive both looks and works great, it has positioned itself as one of the best external hard drives for Mac, and any Mac user should be pleased with it.

Review of LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive for PC/Mac

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

What Is an External Hard Drive for Mac?

Most people who have used computers extensively know what hard drives are. They are devices, usually built-in to the system, that are used for storing large amounts of data. All software on a computer, including the operating system, is installed and stored on the internal hard drive. Many computers, including Macs, tend to come with small internal hard drives or solid state drives that will quickly become full, especially with heavy computer users, and the need for expanding the internal storage comes into play.

One of the best and easiest ways of increasing the storage capacity of your Mac is by connecting an external hard drive. External hard drives are generally the same as internal drives, in that they are a physical drive that stores data on spinning metal plates. In the case of an external hard drive, the drive itself is stored inside an enclosure that includes the proper ports for connecting it to your Mac. Most external hard drives connect to a Mac either through the USB port, or through the Mac's Thunderbolt port, and thus will likely come with the appropriate cable.

If you are looking for an external hard drive to connect to a Windows PC instead of to a Mac, check our reviews of five of the best external hard drives in the UK.

What Features to Compare

Most external hard drives that are available on the market are actually compatible with a Mac, even those that are labeled as being for Windows PCs only. A Mac is able to interface with and read data that is stored on an external hard drive that has been formatted for PC. However, Many of the tools that are included with the external hard drive may not be compatible with the Mac, which can be a problem if you wish to utilize those tools. For finding the best type of external hard drive to connect to your Mac, there are a few things that you will want to pay attention to before purchasing an external hard drive.

Capacity  

The total capacity of an external hard drive is going to be important, especially for those who work with lots of data. The larger a hard drive is, the more data that can be stored on it, so those who have large data workloads will want to buy the highest capacity hard drive possible. Thankfully, many of the hard drives featured in these reviews come in multiple capacities, so there should be plenty of choice for both low and high capacity hard drives.

Operating System Support 

Many external hard drives will show that they are compatible with both PCs and Macs, while others will show that they are compatible only with one or the other. As stated above, virtually any external hard drive will work with a Mac, including those labeled as being for PCs only. However, finding a drive that lists itself as being compatible with both will be ideal, especially if the hard drive is going to be shared between a Mac and PC computer. A Mac is able to read PC formatted hard drives, but a Windows PC can't read a Mac formatted drive, so if you need to share the drive between both types of systems, get one that is listed as being compatible with both.

Interface 

The interface is what the external hard drive will use to connect to your Mac. The two main interfaces you will find are USB and Thunderbolt. If you are using an older Mac that does not have a Thunderbolt port, then you will want a hard drive that connects through USB. Likewise, if you need to share the drive with a Windows PC, USB support for the drive will be a necessity.

Backup Support 

Many external hard drives will come with backup software that is ready to use, whereas others will come with no software at all. Almost any external hard drive is going to be compatible with Apple's Time Machine backup software, but if you prefer to use different backup software, you might want to opt for an external hard drive that comes with its own backup software solution.

Although most external hard drives should work fine with your Mac, keeping the above characteristics in mind when looking for the best external hard drive for Mac will ensure that you make the best choice possible.

Did you know?

Connecting an External Hard Drive to Mac

Those who are either computer novices or who spend much more time doing productive work on a computer than in getting to know the ins and outs of it may be unsure of what all needs to be done to connect an external hard drive. Thankfully, it is a relatively simple procedure, especially with a Mac. Most hard drives that advertise themselves as being Mac compatible will often come pre-formatted with a compatible file system, usually either HFS+ or NTFS (Windows file system). It should be noted, however, that Macs can only read data from NTFS formatted hard drives, not write to them. Some other hard drives may come without being formatted, although this is actually rare. For those that are already formatted, simply plugging the drive into the USB or Thunderbolt port should be enough. Once the drive is connected, the Mac should automatically recognize the drive and place an icon for it on the desktop.

Formatting an External Hard Drive

In the case of getting an external hard drive that is either unformatted, or pre-formatted for Windows as NTFS, the formatting procedure is still very simple. When the drive is connected to the Mac, it may or may not show an icon on the desktop. Drives that come pre-formatted as NTFS will display the icon, but usually give you a warning that the drive is read-only. If this is the case, or the drive is not appearing on the desktop, then you will need to open Disk Utility by clicking on the Go menu at the top, select Utilities, and then select Disk Utility.

In the Disk Utility window, you should see the external hard drive listed there, and labeled as an external drive. Select the drive, and then select Partition near the top. Here you can set a new name for the volume, choose the size of the partition up to the maximum possible size, and also select the file system to use for the drive. If you are needing to read and write data to and from the hard drive, then you want to format the drive as "OS X Extended (Journaled)". Once the drive has finished partitioning and formatting, it should be ready to go, which will be indicated by the drive icon appearing on the desktop.

For those who need further assistance with connecting and formatting a new external hard drive for Mac, this page has more detailed instructions on this process.

Backup Data to New External Hard Drive

Some of those who purchased a new external hard drive for Mac may want to use the drive for backup purposes rather than for extending their total storage capacity. If you are wanting to use the drive to make backups of your important data, this can easily be done through Apple's Time Machine utility. When an external hard drive is first connected to the Mac, you may see a pop-up asking you how you want to use the new drive. On this pop-up, clicking on "Use as Backup Disk" will automatically prepare the drive to be used for backups. If you want the backups to be password protected, then selecting the "Encrypt Backup Disk" checkbox will ensure that only you have access to the backup disk.

For detailed instructions on how to set up Time Machine to automatically backup data to the new hard drive, please read the Apple Support Page for How to use Time Machine to back up or restore your Mac.

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Publish Date: 2018-08-22 13:24:00