Tips for Choosing the Best External SSD for Mac in 2024

Storing your files on an external drive keeps sensitive data safe from cyber-attacks, software crashes, and various other hazardous events. Furthermore, if you’re a professional photographer the ability to quickly exchange large volumes of data such as videos and high-resolution photos is a valuable commodity. If you need a place to store your information safely offline, here is how to choose the best external SSD drive for Apple computers.

Size matters

One of the most relevant features of any external SSD drive is its storage capacity because it dictates the amount of data that you’re able to store on your drive. In most cases, you’ll run into 1TB or 2TB SSD drives for external usage, which is more than enough space to keep your essentials on the go.

There are also 500GB drives that are perfect for data transfer between computers and the best thing about these drives is that you can seamlessly format SSD on a MacBook and use it again when you leave the office.

best external SSD drive for Mac

In terms of size, there are also the actual product size and weight that we should consider. Remember that you have to carry an external SSD around with you, so you should look for drives that are small in size and don’t weigh as much. After all, an SSD drive is nothing but a bunch of chips on a piece of board so there’s no reason to carry a brick in your pocket.

Consider Data Transfer Speed

Solid State Drives (SSD) are much faster than regular drives that feature a hard disk, however, even among SSDs, there’s a considerable difference in the amount of data that you’ll be able to transfer per second. The average SSD speed is between 500MB/s to 1000MB/s which is more than enough to comfortably transfer large volumes of information.

Moreover, recent generations of MacBook, iMac, Mac Pro, and other devices feature a USB-C port for connectivity which allows Thunderbolt 3 connectivity standard. Drives that feature Thunderbolt 3 connectivity provide much faster data transfer so if you’re working with large files, you should ask for external drives that come with the Thunderbolt 3 interface.

Check for durability

While HDD devices risk damage when dropped or moved suddenly during work, their solid-state counterparts are much more durable because there are no moving components that could be damaged by shaking. However, it’s still important to choose a model with a durable case, because you don’t want to risk exposing the electric components if the plastic container breaks open.

There are different sorts of SSD cases, some are made of metal, others are made of plastic, and there are some external drives with protective casings made of silicone. Consider your needs before choosing the optimal material, because you don’t want to spend too much money purchasing an SSD drive with extreme durability features that aren’t relevant to your user experience.

SEE ALSO: How to Prevent External Hard Drive Failure

Perhaps the most important aspects you should pay attention to in this category are water and dust resistance. No matter if you’re performing extreme photoshoots by the sea or designing buildings and bridges in your office, dust and water are the two major risk hazards because there’s always a risk of spilling a glass of water while you work or getting soaked by a sudden shower.

Security levels

If you plan to use an external SSD to safely store your sensitive or private data and keep it protected from prying eyes, search for a model with higher safety features. Some drives allow you to create a password and thus restrict unsanctioned access in case you lose your drive, or someone gets their hands on it without you knowing.

Certain SSD drives come with user-level access safety features, which means there’s a master PIN that allows unrestricted access to files and folders stored on the drive and user-level PINs, that could be given to members of your team, with restrained access.

The safest drive types feature data and hardware encryption technology that prevents any tampering with the drive or the data stored on it. In most cases, these types of drives are practically unbreakable because they don’t allow physical access to the drive, in order to prevent both hardware and software integrity.


Brand new external SSD drives are nowadays formatted using the exFAT mode, which means they are ready to work with both MAC and Windows devices, however, you should always ask your retailer if the model you’re interested in is not preformatted differently. Keep in mind that we shared the basic characteristics that you should be aware of. Think about what you need the external drive for, and you’ll figure out the details yourself.


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