Most Reliable External Hard Drive For Maceverinsight

  • Xbox One X users, as well, would be wise to invest in an external drive as a way of augmenting the console’s measly 1TB hard drive (the external drive needs to be USB 3.0-compatible and will be.
  • The only hard drive manufacturers used by the company were HGST, Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital. The hard drives failed differently depending on their make, model and capacity, but the difference based on manufacturer was substantial. HGST was the most reliable of the hard drive providers and had an annual failure of only 1 percent.
  • Dive into these HDD reviews to pick the best ideal and most reliable storage drive for you. Western Digital 4TB My Passport – Best External Hard Drive For Mac I bought the WD My Passport 2TB back in 2017 and guess what?
  • While Seagate’s external hard drives are close to HGST in service hours/days, they have had to make serious improvements in failure rates to even compare. Overall, it appears that HGST still has them beat, but Seagate seems to be an increasingly reliable choice as well.
  1. Most Reliable External Hard Drive For Mac
  2. Most Reliable External Drive For Mac

Most such multi-bay devices are sold without the actual hard drives included, so you can install any drive you want (usually, 3.5-inch drives, but some support laptop-style 2.5-inchers).

Do you remember how the bitcoin price jumped to $20,000 in less than nine months in 2017?

I remember too. You may wonder how bitcoin prices related to hard drive reliability. I will explain further, but first, let me tell you which Mac hard drive is most reliable from my own experience.

The most reliable external hard is Elements from Western Digital. It is best used with Macs with only USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports. For Macs with USB-C (3.1) ports, the most reliable hard drive is WD My Passport for Mac Portable External Hard Drive. Both hard drives are affordable and available in sizes from 1TB to 5TB.

Now, back to the story. When bitcoin price jumped to $20K, I naturally started reading various stories about people who became accidentally rich because, in 2009 and 2010, they bought several bitcoins and cashed them later when prices went over the roof.

For instance, one Norwegian student bought 5,000 bitcoins for his college research paper for $27 in 2009. He forgot about his purchase for a while. Only in 2013, when the price of a single bitcoin was around $177, he remembered about his purchase.

At that time, his $27 initial investment was worth $886,000. He sold 1000 bitcoins and bought an apartment in Oslo.I learned about this story in 2017 and thought to myself – if I also bought 5000 bitcoins like Norwegian, in 2017, they would be worth a whopping $100,000,000 – a hundred million dollars!

Alas, I didn’t buy anything in 2009. And I forget about this story. Bitcoin since then dropped to $3,000 and stayed on that level for a while. In 2019 the price of bitcoin started climbing again and reached $6,000.

And suddenly, in the spring of 2019, it dawned on me. I knew that I didn’t spend money on bitcoins, but I am a programmer after all. When bitcoin mining became popular, many programmers mined for fun. They wanted to learn new technology – cryptocurrency.

In 2009 I lived alone and had a lot of time on my hands. What if, I told myself, I mined some bitcoins and saved them on my computer? Yes, 5000 bitcoins would not be worth $100 mln as they were in 2017, but I bet I’ll be ok with $30 mln.

I immediately jumped off my sofa and ran to my basement. Obviously, I didn’t have my original computer anymore (it was too old, I bought it in 2005). But, I have a habit of backing up my data.

And I found it – my external hard drive I used ten years ago. It was Elements from Western Digital. I wiped the dust from its surface and plugged it to the power, and heard a humming sound as the disk started rotating. Good, it looks like it is working. Now, the big question is whether if it is readable? I was afraid that after years of not being used, some sectors could be corrupt.

Fortunately, the data was there; all folders and files were readable.


You see, I told you that this is the most reliable external hard drive. Obviously, you won’t be able to get the same drive as I had, and you don’t want to. Here is a new version of the same device. Let’s review it.

WD Elements Portable External Hard Drive

Let’s start with the clarification – Elements is not a drive you want to use with newish MacBooks (2016 or newer) because it does not support USB-C ports. On the one hand, you absolutely can buy a USB to USB-C adapter and use the drive, but I have a better option.

There is another hard drive from Western Digital, which is a close sibling of Elements. So, if you have 2016 or newer MacBook Air or Pro, skip this section and go to the paragraph about WD My Passport for Mac drive.

Most reliable hard drive for Mac

WD 5TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive, USB 3.0

Size and Weight

The Elements drive is much smaller and lighter than the drive I had 10 years ago. The new version has the following size and weight specifications:

  • Depth: 4.35 in/11.05cm
  • Width: 3.23 in/8.20cm
  • Height: 0.82 in/2.08cm
  • Weight: 0.51 lb/0.23kg

For comparison, my old disk had following dimensions: 8in x 4.5in x 1in or 20cm x 11.43cm x 2.54cm. And it weighed a ton!


The speed of any hard drive depends on two factors: read/write speed of the disk itself, and speed of transfer over the cable.

Elements drive support USB 2.0 and 3.0 standards. 2.0 and 3.0 ports look similar, so if you are not sure which one you have, I have a post about used MacBooks where you can find the specifications of your laptop.

Although ports look similar, there is a significant difference in transfer speed. Max transfer speed of USB 2.0 devices is about 480 Mbit/s (60 MB/s). The maximum transfer speed for USB 3.0 depends on the version: version 1 has a 5.0 Gbit/s transfer rate, and v2 is twice faster at 10.0 Gbit/s. In other words, USB 3.0 is 10-20 times faster than 2.0.

As for the read/write speeds of the disk itself, it’s around 95MBps for writing and more than 100MBps for reading. Sometimes, you can see reviews stating that the overall speed is much slower: 50-60 MB/s.

You probably, already guessed why there is such a discrepancy in transfer speeds for different people. Transfer speed on older laptops is limited by USB standard: if your Mac has USB 2.0 port, the limit is 60MB/s, so no matter how fast the drive is, you are limited by port throughput.

With 3.0 ports, however, you are getting the maximum from the drive.

File format

Strictly speaking, this drive is not compatible with Macs right out the gate. It comes with NTFS preinstalled, which is a Windows format and not compatible with macOS.

So, if you plug in the device to your Mac, you will not see it in the Finder. Here’s what you need to do to use it with Mac.

1. Start Disk Utility app from Spotlight Search

2. Click on the Erase icon in the toolbar or right-click on the Elements and select Erase in the popup menu.

3. Give the name for the device and select choose format.

Most Reliable External Hard Drive For Maceverinsight

4. If you are planning to use the drive only with Macs, then select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format. If you want to use the drive with Macs and PCs, then the format should be ExFat.

If you want to know the differences between disk file formats and when to choose which one and other advanced hacks, check my post on this subject.

After proper formatting, you are now ready to use the external drive for storage and Time Machine backups.

WD My Passport for Mac Portable External Hard Drive

As mentioned above, Elements is perfect for old Macs with USB 2.0/3.0 ports. However, it’s not a good choice for new Macs with USB-C ports.

Fortunately, WD released a newer version of external drives: My Passport series. The series has a lot of various drives with various tech specs, and it could be overwhelming to navigate in a sea of choices.

Most Reliable External Hard Drive For Mac

But since here we concerned mainly with reliability the closest sibling of Elements hard drive is WD 5TB My Passport for Mac Portable External Hard Drive

WD 5TB My Passport for Mac Portable External Hard Drive – Blue, USB-C/USB-A

Size and Weight

My Passport is slightly smaller and lighter than Elements. It has the following size and weight specifications:

  • Depth 4.22 in/10.71cm
  • Width 2.95 in/7.49cm
  • Height 0.75 in/1.91cm
  • Weight 0.51 lb/0.21kg


Speed is another thing where My Passport beats Elements. Let’s start with the following fact: My Passport supports both USB 3.0 and USB-C ports. It comes with two cables, and depending on which port you have on your Mac, you can use one or the other.

As indicated above, the transfer speed of USB 3.0 is limited to 10.0 Gbit/s max. The max speed for USB-C is 40.0 Gbit/s, four times faster than second-generation 3.0.

Overall the read and write speed of My Passport is around 110 MB/s (on par with Elements).

File format

The best thing about My Passport for Mac is that it already preformatted for macOS. You can start using the drive as soon as you plug it in. No need to mess with disk utilities and other stuff. However, it also means that it is not compatible with Windows.

So, if you have both PCs and Macs and you want to use the drive to transfer data between them, then you need to reformat the drive before use.

The end of my story

At this point, you are probably wondering whether I was able to find forgotten bitcoins on my drive. Don’t worry; I won’t leave you hanging in midair.

So, first, I searched for anything like “bitcoin” or “crypto.” I didn’t find anything.

Well, I am not that stupid. I didn’t expect that I would leave anything precious easily available on my disk. If I had cryptocurrency mined, I’d use obfuscation techniques to hide anything valuable. Here are the techniques that can help you hide sensitive data on your disk.

Long story short, I spent a couple of days examining my drive, and I didn’t find anything. Truth to be told, when I first learned about crypto, I thought it’s more suited for criminals and decided to stay away from it.

Now I think I made a mistake, but I can sleep well now when I know that I don’t have anything valuable on my drive (because I bought a very reliable hard drive back in 2009). Imagine, how would I feel if the external disk I used crashed or data was corrupted. I’d be thinking that I might have lost millions of dollars!

Anyway, I am far better than the guy who swapped 10,000 bitcoins for 2 pizzas in 2009. In 2017, each pizza would cost $100 mln!

External hard drives are required for a galore of purposes. These range from creating system backups and storing data to transferring saved game files. The most important aspect of any external hard drive is its reliability, which is simply the measure of the device failure rate.

Best External Hard Drives

Here is our pick of the 15 best hard drives that offer high reliability while offering humongous amounts of storage at the same time:

#1. Adata SD700 External SSD

A great reliable hard drive option that is also not that pricey is the Adata SD700 External SSD. The hard drive offers powerful performance and is one of the few SSDs to receive an IP68 rating. Adata SD700 External SSD comes with rugged packaging, shielding it from external damage. Unlike the traditional spinning hard drives, the Adata SD700 relies on solid-state drive mechanism and hence, offers superfast data transfer speeds.

Capacity – 1 TB
Interface – USB 3.0

You can buy from here

#2. Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC

Compatible with both Mac and Windows systems, the Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC is a reliable external hard drive that is a budget buy. It comes with a USB 3.0 cable and a rugged case that is resistant to both dust and water. In addition to protecting the data against external factors, Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC comes with 256-bit AES security. The NFC allows you to unlock the drive on the fly and access files simply by tapping the NFC card onto the drive’s body.


Capacity – 1 TB/ 2 TB
Interface – USB 3.0

You can buy from here

#3. Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt

The Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt offers support for devices with Thunderbolt port. A Thunderbolt port offers data speeds about twice as fast as the standard USB 3.0 drives. The reliable external hard drive comes with a USB 3.0 port, nonetheless, for using with non-Thunderbolt devices.

Compared to other Thunderbolt external hard drives, the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt has affordable pricing. This is due to the external hard drive’s reliance on a traditional hard drive in place of an SSD.

Capacity – 1 TB/2 TB
Interface – Thunderbolt/USB 3.0

You can buy from here

#4. G-Technology G-Drive

Relying on the spinning disk technology, G-Technology G-Drive external hard drive comes in a number of storage capacities. Thanks to its support for Thunderbolt 3 specification, the external hard drive is an ideal companion for the MacBook Pro.

G-Technology G-Drive comes in 4 TB and 8 TB variants. The 10 TB hard drive version of the storage unit is excellent for serving multiple purposes, ranging from creating system backups to carrying game libraries and saved files around. All variants of the drive are highly reliable.

Capacity – 4 TB/ 8 TB/ 10 TB
Interface – USB 3.1/Thunderbolt 3

You can buy form here

#5. iStorage diskAshur


The iStorage provides external hard drives to government and full-fledged organizations. Reason being, they offer security measures unmatchable by other external hard drive makers. Nonetheless, the iStorage diskAshur is one of the best reliable options to go for personal use. iStorage diskAshur comes with the 256-bit AES encryption as well as multiple forms of protection for ensuring no one with malicious intent can access the data. Astonishingly, iStorage provides provision for configuring the hard drive to self-destruct in case of tampering. Though iStorage diskAshur is almost 4 times as costly as its contemporaries, it has security standards that no other brand is able to offer.

Capacity– 1 TB/ 2 TB/ 3 TB/ 4 TB/ 6 TB/ 8 TB/ 10 TB/ 12 TB/ 14 TB
Interface – USB 3.1

You can buy from here

Most Reliable External Drive For Mac

#6. LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive

Although expensive, the LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive is one of the most reliable and fastest external hard drives available in the market. Theoretically, it can give out as much as 5Gbps of data transfer speeds via its USB Type-C port. LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive flaunts an aluminum finish and is one of the best USB Type-C external hard drives available in the market. The external hard drive consists of five, 800 GB platters in a 15mm form factor.

Capacity – 1 TB/ 2 TB/ 4 TB/ 5 TB/ 6 TB/ 8 TB
Interface – USB Type-C

You can buy from here

#7. Samsung T5 SSD

For those buyers aiming for a reliable, rugged, and fast external hard drive, one great option is the Samsung T5 SSD. The T5 lineup builds over the previous T3 series of hard drives that are also considered to be one of the best hard drive series available in the market. The T5 series introduces the reversible USB Type-C connectivity. Even if you don’t have a machine that supports USB Type-C, the solid state drive provides backward compatibility for USB 3.0 and even the dated USB 2.0. Samsung T5 SSD is undoubtedly expensive, but well worth it.

Capacity – 1 TB/2 TB
Interface – USB Type-C

You can buy from here

#8. Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive

The Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive combines extended storage capacity with speed and high reliability. The external hard drive easily outshines the competition in terms of writing as well as reading speeds. The Seagate external hard drive also offers lower than average failure rates. In addition to the Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive, you get a backup software and compatibility with both Windows and Mac running machines. Though the external hard drive comes formatted for Windows users, a little more expensive Mac-ready version is also available.

Capacity – 2 TB/ 3 TB/ 4 TB/ 5 TB/ 6 TB
Interface – USB 3.0

You can buy from here

#9. Seagate FireCuda Mobile

The Seagate FireCuda Mobile performs better than a standard HDD. The reliable external hard drive has 64 MB cache and a maximum rpm of 5400. The external hard drive can offer data transfer speeds up to 6 Gbps thanks to its eSATA interface. The 2.5-inch FireCuda Hybrid external drive gives a significant storage boost of 8 GB of flash storage along with an option between 1 TB and 2 TB of storage. The external hard drive is backed by a 5-year warranty.

Capacity – 1 TB + 8 GB/2 TB + 8 GB
Interface – eSATA

You can buy from here

#10. Seagate IronWolf NAS

RAID-ready, Seagate IronWolf NAS external hard drive is available in a range of capacities, varying from 2 TB to 14 TB. The NAS optimization along with a maximum spinning capacity of 7200 rpm makes the IronWolf NAS one of the most affordable and reliable drives to opt for.

Capacity – 2 TB/ 4 TB/ 6 TB/ 8 TB/ 10 TB/ 12 TB/ 14 TB
Interface – eSATA

You can buy from here

#11. WD Blue Desktop

Western Digital offers an affordable external hard drive option in the form of the Blue Desktop series. Available in 2 TB, 4 TB, and 6 TB versions, WD Blue Desktop is compatible with most desktops and laptops. These external hard drives offer high reliability. For those requiring speedier drives, the WD Blue Desktop external hard drives are also available in 7200 RPM variants. These are much costlier than their 5400 RPM counterparts.

Capacity – 1 TB/ 2 TB/ 3 TB/ 4 TB/ 6 TB
Interface – eSATA

You can buy from here


#12. WD My Book

The WD My Book external hard drive offers a perfect balance of storage capacity and price-effectiveness. It is an excellent option for storing and transferring all your games. The external hard drive is available in a multitude of storage capacities, including a 10 TB hard drive. Supporting USB 3.0 doesn’t offer as much speed as offered by some internal drives. Nonetheless, it offers humongous storage and high reliability at an inexpensive price.

Capacity – 3 TB/ 4 TB/ 6 TB/ 8 TB/ 10 TB
Interface – USB 3.0

You can buy from here

#13. WD My Book Duo

A combination of two hard drives, WD My Book Duo offers a humongous storage capacity of 4 TB. The external hard drive is backed by a 2-year warranty. In order to protect against data loss, you can set up a backup of the drive using the pre-packaged WD SmartWare Pro software.

WD My Book Duo comes with a multitude of features, including being a complete NAS (Network Attached Storage) device. In order to use the reliable external hard drive as a NAS device, all you require is a router with USB 3.0 support.

Capacity – 4 TB/ 6 TB/ 8 TB/ 12 TB/ 16 TB
Interface – USB 3.0

The high-reliability external drive comes pre-formatted for Windows (NTFS). In addition to supporting 256-AES hardware encryption, WD My Book Duo comes with an enclosure that is fully serviceable.

You can buy from here

#14. Western Digital My Passport

Available in a range of storage capacities, the latest range of the Western Digital My Passport is here. The reliable hard drive comes with 256-AES encryption, cloud storage support, and WD’s backup software.

Western Digital My Passport hard drives offer excellent data transfer speeds, easily beating out several names on the hard drive market.

  • Capacity – 1 TB/ 2 TB/ 3 TB/ 4 TB
  • Interface – USB 3.0

You can buy this from here

#15. Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro

The My Passport Wireless Pro external hard drive from Western Digital comes with a complete design overhaul. The premium external hard drive resembles an external DVD drive but flaunts an onboard SD card slot, which makes it a lucrative buy for ardent photographers.

The most outstanding feature of the Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro external hard drive is its ability to transfer data wirelessly. It comes with a big 6400 mAh battery that allows the hard drive to be used without any wires over 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz channels.

  • Capacity – 2 TB
  • Interface – USB 3.0/Wi-Fi

You can buy this from here

When wired, My Passport Wireless Pro relies on USB 3.0 for transferring data. The reliable hard drive, obviously, is expensive. However, it is an essential gadget for any tech-savvy professional requiring an external hard drive that is capable to transfer data without dealing with wires.

Some FAQs Regarding Hard Drives

Following are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding external hard drives:

Q: How reliable are the hard drives?
A: Different manufacturers offer different reliability rates for external hard drives. Nonetheless, most of them are highly reliable devices that can provide uninterrupted operation for several years to come.

Q: What are SATA, USB, and Thunderbolt interfaces? What are the maximum data transfer speeds?
A: SATA, USB, and Thunderbolt are the various forms by which an external hard drive is able to exchange data with compatible devices. Hence, they are called interfaces.

Each of them offers different speeds. There are several factors that restrict the external hard drives for achieving maximum rated speed. Maximum data transfer speeds for some of the most popular interface are:

  • eSATA – up to 6 Gbps
  • USB 2.0 – up to 480 Mbps
  • USB 3.0 – up to 5 Gbps
  • USB 3.1 – up to 10 Gbps
  • USB Type-C – 5 Gbps
  • Thunderbolt – up to 20 Gbps
  • Thunderbolt – up to 40 Gbps

Q: How many years an external hard drive can last?
A: An external hard drive can last for several years. Manufacturers offer warranties for these gadgets, ranging from 1-year to 5-year, and even more in some scenarios. Typically, a hard drive can last for about 5 to 10 years. Though it can survive even further, it’s a desirable idea to replace a decade-old hard drive with a newer one.

Q: Are external hard drives portable?
A: Yes, this is one of the main reasons why people prefer to use them. Any external hard drive weighs a few hundreds of grams and is about a few inches long. Hence, it can be taken along from one place to another.

Have any queries regarding external hard drives? Please ask them via comments. We’ll be more than happy to answer back.

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