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External Hard Drives For Mac

The size of the external hard drive you need all depends on how much information you need to backup. Time Machine informs you of the total size of your backup. Light users may be fine with a 240GB hard drive, whereas heavy users may need something closer to 1TB.

External Hard Drives For Mac

iDrive is one of the more popular backup solutions (read our iDrive review or check out the website here). In addition to allowing you to backup your Mac to an external drive, you can also back it up to the cloud. Having a hybrid backup option is one of the reasons we ranked iDrive as one of the best cloud storage services.

To begin formatting, ensure your external drive is connected to your Mac. Apple recommends connecting your hard drive directly to your Mac with a USB, Thunderbolt or FireWire port connection, rather than using an adapter (USB to Thunderbolt, for example). However, when backing up our Mac, we used a USB adapter and experienced no issues at any point throughout the process.

My Mac only has 250 GB of flash storage but I have a larger iCloud capacity. Over time, within my project folders, I have mixed the hard drive saved files with new files that are only created on iCloud.How do I make it so that both the hard drive and iCloud saved files are backed up to my external drive?The iCloud saved files usually have to open first before the files are seen. How can these files be backed up on an external drive if they have to go through this process first?Apologies if the question seems stupid.

Your post was very helpful. I am newly, visually impaired and can no longer drive. Reading is difficult. You kept the instructions simple and easy to follow. The visual directions were clear. My HD is being backed up on an external through Time Machine right now. Thank you!

The best way to look for an incorrectly formatted drive on Mac is to go to Apple (in the top toolbar menu) > About This Mac > Storage. See if the external drive shows up here. For more information, go to the same menu option, then select System Report.

The most direct reason your external hard drive is detected but can't be opened is the file system problem. If your drive is having such problems, you can try to fix them yourself with First Aid and therefore get access to your files.

First Aid tool will check the disk for errors and then attempt a repair as needed. It helps to verify and repair a range of issues related to startup HD and external drive problems. If you are able to fix the hard drive or SSD in your Mac (or any external drive) using Disk Utility you will hopefully be able to recover your files.

Performance: Transfer speed is the feature that most people notice on a daily basis. We evaluated each drive with tests that replicated different real-world uses, and we focused on the drives that consistently outperformed the other contenders. Drives that did well on some tests but failed others were too unreliable to recommend. We outline our testing procedure below.

Going by our initial research and criteria, we settled on nine external desktop hard drives and five portable models to test. We first tested them using the benchmarking program HD Tune. For a more real-world measurement, we then timed the transfer of a 15 GB Blu-ray movie and a 31 GB folder of music. We performed each test six times, and we determined the average read and write speeds to rule out performance hiccups. After comparing results for each drive, we took the top performers and timed their backups on a 2019 MacBook Pro using Time Machine.

Once we finished testing, we sifted through hundreds of Amazon reviews for our finalists. We eliminated drives for which 5% or more of the total reviews were only one-star ratings, because that many complaints was disproportionate to what we saw for most drives. Although you can find negative reviews for every drive complaining about an unexpected failure or incompatibility with a computer, we selected models that kept such reviews to a minimum.

Assessing negative customer reviews has its shortcomings. For one, people are more likely to post a review when they have a problem. Also, because of the limited information available in some reviews, it can be hard to differentiate between hardware failures and software issues or user errors that could cause problems with a drive. Looking at the proportion of reviews, rather than the totals, helped us account for that. But all the drives shared the same basic complaints no matter which one we looked at: All had reports of failure spanning anywhere from day one to a few years in. Still, we used the information in owner reviews to the best of our ability to weed out drives that seemed especially unreliable.

In our real-world transfer tests, the Toshiba Canvio Flex consistently performed faster than the other portable drives we tested. All the drives in our test group were rated for the latest, USB 3.2 Gen 2 transfer speeds, so in many cases the differences were negligible. But each of the portable drives other than the Canvio Flex had at least one major shortcoming in our testing: The Toshiba Canvio Gaming (4 TB) failed to perform three of our initial benchmark tests in a row, the LaCie Mobile Drive (5 TB) took nearly 10 times as long on both the large- and small-file read tests, and the Seagate Backup Plus Slim (2 TB) took roughly five times as long as the others on the small-file write test.

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim was our previous portable hard drive pick, but we bumped it in favor of the Toshiba Canvio Flex because the Seagate model is more expensive per terabyte, its warranty is shorter, and it offers only up to 2 TB of space.

Most of the options on this list of the best external hard drive models will work across platforms -- whether you have a Windows PC, Mac computer, PlayStation or Xbox -- so long as the drives are correctly formatted for the right platform. But a lot of the time they'll be designated as working with a specific platform out of the box and sometimes come with backup software that's platform-specific. Unless otherwise indicated, all the PC drives mentioned here are compatible with Windows but can be formatted for a Mac. Many of them include cables or adapters to accommodate USB-C and USB-A ports. But if they don't happen to be included, you can easily buy dongles for about $12.

One important note for console gamers is that the newer PS5 and Xbox Series X (and Series S) consoles are much more restrictive about using external drives. The PS5 can store and play PS4 games from an external drive, but not PS5 games; the Xbox Series X can store Series X games, but you'll have to transfer them to the main SSD to actually play them. The Xbox Series X offers a proprietary Seagate-made storage expansion card and you can now install an M.2 SSD in your PS5 to expand storage for PS5 games.

With those caveats noted, our current top picks for the best external hard disk drive and external solid-state drive are below. These (or nearly identical models with less storage capacity) have been used or anecdotally tested by CNET editors. We'll update our list of the best external hard drives and SSDs as we test new products.

The cheaper "older" version has transfer speeds up to 550MBps while the next-gen version nearly doubles that speed with up to 1,050MBps (just over 1GB per second) and only costs slightly more for the 1TB version. The price for the 2TB model of this external drive jumps to $280 for the newer version.

For better or worse, there's currently only one way to expand the storage on your Xbox Series X/S for next-gen Series X/S games: the Seagate Expansion Card. Similar to the storage situation with the PS5, you can plug in any external SSD or hard drive to expand the storage for standard Xbox games (previous-gen), but you can only store native Xbox Series X/S games on the game console's internal memory or the Seagate Expansion Card.

You can expand storage for PS4 games on your PS5 by adding a standard external SSD because you can play PS4 games directly from an external SSD. However, that's not the case for PS5 games, which take up a ton of space and can only be played from the PS5's internal drive or an M.2 SSD that you install in a special expansion bay inside your PS5.

While the Seagate FireCuda 530 technically isn't an external SSD, it's not so different from Seagate's Storage Expansion Card for the Xbox Series X/S in that it's an NVMe SSD with very high transfer speeds (up to 7,300MBps, according to Seagate, though my PS5 listed the top rate at 6,800MBps ).

If you're looking for a high-capacity external drive for your Xbox One, the WD Black P10 2TB portable hard drive is a good value at around $80 (the 5TB version is about $120). It gives you portable storage for your coveted game collection. This external drive also comes with a digital code that gives you one month of Microsoft's Game Pass Ultimate if you're a new subscriber. There's also a standard version of the portable hard drive, which also works with PCs and the PS4 for slightly less (it's missing the Xbox branding but is otherwise the same drive). The portable drive can deliver speeds up to 130MBps.

An external drive means you don't have to worry about managing the storage space on your PS4 (you can play games without lag directly from the portable hard drive). The 2TB version of the Seagate Game Drive is about $30 less at $80. But you might as well spend the extra dough and get 4TB for this portable external hard drive.

You can use any SSD with your PlayStation PS4/PS5 or Xbox One, Xbox One Series X or Series S to store PS4 and Xbox One games and other content and pick up a nice speed bump when loading games compared with a standard external hard drive like the WD Black P10 above. Note that with the Xbox Series X, you can only archive Xbox Series X and S games to this drive, you can't store full games on it (the Seagate Storage Expansion Card is required for that). The PS5 has the same restriction -- you can only store full PS4 games on external drives. 350c69d7ab


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