Best external hard drive for Macs 2018: 5 we recommend

Never run out of storage with our top picks for hard drives that will safely backup your Mac data

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An external hard drive is the simplest solution to generating more space on your device without having to delete files. They are also recommended as a way of backing up your data so you always have a copy saved should anything happen to your Mac laptop.

There are many different storage solutions available, such as USB memory sticks, flash drives, network storage or even iCloud storage that can be accessed from anywhere online. 

However, for a place where you can ensure all your data is safe, an external hard drive seems to be the way to go. External hard drives aren’t exactly the smallest devices, but they do have the highest capacity and are worth the money for their durability. 

Most of the external hard drives we’ve found worth buying offer up to around 4TB of storage, with some reaching as much as 8TB, or as low as 1TB if it’s portability you’re after. Each one offers something different, from exceptional speed to sleek design, to robust build that can withstand a beating. 

So, if you’re reaching full capacity on your Mac, and reluctant to pay for more storage on iCloud, then an external hard drive is a worthwhile investment. Take a look at our roundup for the best options available. 

External hard drive Mac

1. Seagate Backup Plus 4TB

An all-round reliable hard drive

Specifications
Best for: Reliability
Capacity: 4TB with 200GB in the cloud
Size: 2.05x7.8x11.45cm
Connection: USB 3.0/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Can interchange with Mac and windows+Includes cloud storage
Reasons to avoid
-Not the fastest  

This external hard drive is ideal for anyone who owns a Mac but may want to use it for other Windows devices too. Unlike some hard drives, this one can be interchanged with devices without the need to be reformatted, and it also includes 200GB worth of cloud storage. 

Users have said that admittedly it isn’t super-fast, but it is affordable and reliable, making it a versatile all-rounder for those looking to simply plug-and-play with minimal hassle setting up.  

External hard drive Mac

2. G-Technology G-DRIVE USB 3.0 4TB

A slim design with speedy transfers

Specifications
Best for: Speed
Capacity: 4TB
Size: 32x12.7x19.5cm
Connection: USB 2.0/3.0
Reasons to buy
+Sleek design
Reasons to avoid
-Quite noisy 

If you lack patience, then this external hard drive for Mac is said to be easy to set up and super-speedy at transferring data via its USB 3.0, eSATA, and FireWire interfaces.

The drive's all-aluminium enclosure looks good and helps to keep the unit cool, although owners say that it is quite noisy in use.

External hard drive Mac

3. Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0

Smaller in capacity, but ideal for portability

Specifications
Best for: Portability
Capacity: 1TB
Size: 1.52x12.19x8.13cm
Connection: USB 2.0/3.0
Reasons to buy
+Slim design+Simple transfers
Reasons to avoid
-Connection is a bit iffy sometimes 

If you want to be able to take your external hard drive with you to places, then this slim design provides an ideal 1TB capacity to do just that.

Some users have said the USB connection can be a little hit and miss at times, but for under £50, this is a bargain buy – we’d recommend having a larger external hard drive for full back ups, though.  

External hard drive Mac

4. ioSafe SK2TB-EU Solo G3 2TB USB 3.0 Hard Drive

A robust device that can withstand a beating

Specifications
Best for: Water and fireproof
Capacity: 2TB
Size: 12.7x27.94x18.03
Connection: USB 3.0/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Quiet +Theft-proof
Reasons to avoid
-The most expensive on the list 

Sensitive data will never be lost, corrupted or stolen when you’ve backed it up to this external hard drive, as it is the most robust device on the market right now. It’s completely waterproof, fire proof and theft-proof, with a lockable system that means no unauthorised person can get into it. 

Yes, it’s expensive, but customers have been very impressed with the overall performance of this hard drive, including its speed and ease of set up. It also benefits from being fan-less with a silent cooling system which makes this external hard drive one of the quietest you can get. 

External hard drive Mac

5. LaCie Rugged RAID

A tough and durable little hard drive

Specifications
Best for: Toughness
Capacity: 4TB
Size: 9.09x14.83x3.4cm
Connection: USB-C
Reasons to buy
+Small in size (large in capacity)+Shock and pressure proof
Reasons to avoid
-A bit of an eye sore 

If the ioSafe was a little out of your price range, then this external hard drive for Mac might burn a slightly smaller hole in your wallet. It is almost as durable, being shock proof and pressure proof and it is designed to duplicate data across two drives for extra back up. 

It’s physically one of the smallest in size, but still has a whopping 4TB which is more than enough storage space for most people. The only thing that isn’t all that great about it is it’s garish orange colour, but for its performance, many customers are pleased with it.