Best Backup Drive For Mac? Apple Data Storage Reviews

Best Backup Drives For Mac

Top-Selling Apple Backup Hardware

Mac Backup Drive Reviews

Shopping for an ideal Apple TimeMachine or Mac OSX storage solution? There's a lot of external Apple compatible hard drive options out there to choose from: Some elegant and stylish - other's bulky and downright ugly. Here's our top suggestions for your computer data backup needs:

Best External Drives For Apple Backups

Versatile Mac Backup Multi-Port Drive
Quad Interface Drive

1-4TB Hitachi 7200 RPM
Lacie D2 Tri-Interface

USB3 + FW800 + eSATA

The New Standard : Type-C USB 3.1 Mac Backup Drives

The latest USB interface standard features a new, reversible Type-C connection. The 5Gbps speed of USB 3.0 is doubled to 10Gbps when full 'Gen 2' chipsets are used in the drives. With a Type-C to Type-A cable, new USB-C drives can be used on older Macs. Even if your current MacBook or Macintosh desktop computer doesn't have USB 3.1 capabilities in a Type-C port, you'll be glad you bought a USB 3.1 drive so you're SuperSpeed ready for your next system.

Fading Fast - USB 3.0 Apple Backup Drives

USB 3.0 still retain backward Mac compatibility with older, legacy Macs at lower USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 speeds if needed. The cost of changing over to a USB 3x controller chipset has been utterly trivial. Unlike ThunderBolt, updating USB chipsets hasn't added any additional cost to USB 3.1 USB-C storage products.

When Speed Matters : ThunderBolt Backup Drives


There's now a a decent selection of affordable ThunderBolt, Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt 3 Apple backup drive solutions for more modern Macs. The inital drives that came to market were multi-drive RAID disk array models targeted to very data intensive high-end professional users. For Enterprise, Video Editing and Audio Production, ThunderBolt RAID drive arrays are the way to go and the higher prices will yield higher performance.

For the average consumer, cheaper Thunderbolt Mac backup drives with 1st generation 10Gbps ThunderBolt ports and single HDD or SSD drive modules are affordable for the Mac masses. Seagate, Buffalo Technologies and LaCie in particular are delivering the lowest cost-per-gigabyte consumer ThunderBolt drive solutions to date, though they're still priced at a premium to any USB 3.0 / 3.1 or FireWire backup option. The cost of licensing Apple/Intel's ThunderBolt chipset easily adds $50 or more to any drive or ThunderBolt device.
Versatile Mac Backup Multi-Port Drive
Quad Interface Drive

1-4TB Hitachi 7200 RPM
Lacie D2 Tri-Interface

USB3 + FW800 + eSATA

Apple Backups With Combo-Interface Drives

For older legacy Macs, Apple users should ideally look for multi-interface Mac backup drives for the most flexibility. FireWire and eSATA are being phased out. For the fastest Mac backup speeds, USB 3.1 and ultimately ThunderBolt drives are the way to go with an eye towards migrating towards the future. The handwriting is on the wall for the future of Apple peripheral connectivity. That said, there's still a lot of combo FireWire 400/800, USB, eSATA drives and enclosures sitting in warehouses for those with legacy systems and workflows.

Fastest Desktop Drive Versatile Mac Backup
DDR Memory + HD Drive

400 MB/s USB3 Speed
Lacie D2 Tri-Interface

USB3 + FW800 + eSATA

For more recent Macs after 2012, a combo USB 3.0 + Thunderbolt drive is most likely to let you easily backup, transfer or share files with other Macintoshes or PCs.
Business and Professional users with either an eSATA or USB3 ExpressCard in thier MacBook Pro laptop -- or USB 3.0 PCI card in thier Mac Pro tower may consider USB 3.0 or eSATA interface external drives for the fastest external transfer rates possible at the lowest price. Ideally the internal mechanisms should have a large 32MB or larger cache and spin at 7200 RPM or higher. Simply put, SuperSpeed USB 3.0 or eSATA matches transfer speeds as if the drive was internally and directly connected to the SATA bus.

Best Portable Hard Drives For Mac Backup

USB3+FW800 Laptop Drive WD Portable Drive
G-Tech Combo Drive

FireWire 800 + USB3
WD MyPassPort Ultra

USB 3.0 Interface

Compact Laptop Backup Drives for MacBooks

Mobile backup storage solutions are often preferred for not only by MacBook owners - but many Mac desktop users as well. A portable hard drive's small foootprint and low-power requirements allow them to operate from a single USB 2.0/3.0/3.1, ThunderBolt or FireWire cable. This eliminates the need for additional wires or power-supplies and transformers clogging up your life or hogging desk space. Apple compatible mobile backup drives can tuck away behind your Macintosh setup - or slip into a laptop travel case for peace of mind and data backup security on the go.
Versatile Mac Backup Multi-Port Drive
Quad Interface Drive

1-4TB Hitachi 7200 RPM
Lacie D2 Tri-Interface

USB3 + FW800 + eSATA

Three out of four Macintosh users choose an Apple MacBook laptop as their primary computer. And they like portable computer accessories and peripherals to match and compliment their MacBook. There are alot of external Apple compatible portable hard drive choices out there. If you're on a budget, USB 3.1 and 3.0 portable laptop drives are the most affordable. If you want performance, look for mobile drives with ThunderBolt 2 or 3 interfaces.

Apple Backups 101

For insights and issues to be aware of when choosing a backup disk for your Macintosh setup - check out this MacWorld.com article: External Back-Up Drive Overview. Remember, for OSX Lion and Leopard TimeMachine backup you've GOT to have - or buy a hard drive that's LARGER than the one built into your Mac. It needs to be able to store the entire contents of a full disk - and still have extra disk space for incremental backup file changes from day to day.