Best External Hard Drive For Mac Time Machine Backup – Top 3 Picks

If you own a macbook than owning a best external hard drive for mac time machine backup can save you a lot of headache if you lose data accidentally or from a virus infection. As you might already know, Apple MacOS is one of the most popular operating system used in various Mac machines such as macbook pro. MacOS comes with many useful built-in programs which can be used for different purposes.

One of the amazing tool which Mac offers is Apple Mac Time Machine Backup system. Having a full system backup now days is pretty important considering how rapidly computer viruses evolving, which can corrupt all your important files or can even encrypt all your files and ask money to unlock them (ransomware).

Time machine is a built in backup system of Apple mac using which you can automatically back up all of your personal data such as photos, documents and music etc. to an external hard drive. To make sure safe data backup, you are going to need best portable storage device for mac time machine backup on which you can safely dump all of your files on daily basis.

premium pick


SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD Drive

sandisk ssd external drive for mac time machine

  • Next Gen USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Water & Dust Protection
  • Superior Performance


Choosing the right external hard drive for using time machine can be troublesome for some considering there are plenty of brands out their making storage devices. Every brand drive has different build quality and performance. To make your search for external hard drive for time machine backup easier we have reviewed some of the best portable storage devices which are compatible with Mac desktop and macbook laptops.

Quick Comparison of Best External Hard Drives For Mac Time Machine - Top 3 Recommendations

ProductRead/Write (MB/s)Warranty
WD Elements External Drive For Mac Time Machine120/1002-Years
Seagate Portable Drive For Mac Time Machine120/701-Years
SanDisk Extreme Pro External SSD Drive For Mac Backup550/5003-Years

1. WD Elements External Hard Drive For Time Machine Backup – Best Overall

wd best external hard drive for mac time machine backup

  • Shock & Vibration Resistant
  • Amazing Portability
  • Universal Compatibility
  • Durable Build Quality
  • Compact Design
  • Easy To Use
  • May Require Additional Cables

The WD elements is an amazing portable external hard drive compatible with mac time machine backup. The build of this drive internally for the long-lasting durability, shock resistance, and long-lasting reliability. And from outside it has a protected enclosure which looks stylish and attractive. The drive comes in various storage capacities and available in maximum of 5TB capacity.

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The drive offers USB 3.0 connectivity for fast transferring data files. Furthermore, it is also backward compatible and works fine with USB 2.0 as well. WD elements drive is water resistant as well protecting your data from accidental water damage. The drive offers read speed of up to 120MB/s and Write speed of up to 100MB/s. It is not the fastest external hard drive but considering its price and overall build quality, pretty ideal choice for Apple mac time machine backup tool. Additionally, product comes with 2-Years of limited Western Digital warranty.

2. Seagate Portable External Hard Drive For Mac Backup – Budget Friendly

seagate external hard drive for time machine

  • Plug n Play
  • USB 3.0 technology
  • Designed To Work With Windows & Mac
  • Good Performance
  • Portable Design
  • Backward Compatibility
  • Only 1 Year Warranty

Seagate STGX1000400 is another one of the best external hard drive for mac time machine backup tool. The drive looks stylish and has Matt finish. Seagate external drive is quite durable and includes various data protection technologies. Furthermore it comes with 1 year free rescue data service ensuring maximum reliability and peace of mind from accidentally losing data. The drive is plug n play you just need to connect it to your mac, reformat it and drive is ready to use.

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This portable drive has USB 3.0 connector from which you can take time machine backup much faster as compared to USB 2.0. It is also backward compatible and works flawless with USB 2.0. The drive has read speed of up to 70MB/s and write speed of up to 120MB/s. Performance wise it is not that great but it is not like you going to use it as your main drive. Additionally, it comes with 1-year limited warranty ensuring maximum reliability.

3. SanDisk Extreme External SSD Drive For Time Machine – Best Performance

Sandisk portable ssd drive for mac

  • USB 3.1 Type C
  • Water & Dust Resistant
  • High Speed Transfer Rate
  • Blazing Fast Speed
  • Rugged & Compact Design
  • IP55 Certification
  • Pricey

Sandisk Extreme is one of the high performing external drive which can be used for taking time machine backup from your desktop mac or macbook pro laptops. Talking about its design, SanDisk drive employs rubber for its frame, swith an orange plastic loop at the top-right that can be used to tightly attach it to an item.

While its edges are smooth, the top and bottom surfaces are textured, which makes handling the drive much easier and gripper. The external SSD drive is water and dust resistant certified protecting its internals from getting damaged. Furthermore, the drive is also fairly shock proof as it will withstand a drop of 2m on a concrete floor without taking any major damage.

The single connector on the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD drive is a USB 3.1 (Gen 2) which is handy when used with the Type-C to Type-C cable, allowing it to hit up to 10Gbps according to the manufacturer – a fraction higher than when you use it with the bundled Type-A convertor. This external SSD drive read speed can reach up to 550 MB/s and write speed can reach up to 500MB/s.

Due to its amazing write speed, it can take and restore mac time machine backup blazing fast as compared to traditional hard disk drive. Make sure to reformat the drive before using it with macOS. It also comes with 3-Years limited warranty ensuring maximum reliability and peace of mind. You can also use SanDisk Secure Access software to safely encrypt and password protect all your drive data without any problem.

What to look for when buying External Hard Drive For Mac Time Machine ? (Buying Guide)

Look out for these things before making an purchase.


Many external hard drive nowadays comes with various damage protections such as water resistant, accidental fall protection etc dust protection which prevents the drive data from getting damaged. Getting such drive ensures maximum reliability. So make sure to get such drive for time machine backup which comes advance protections.


If portable drive performs fast than it is going to take less time to take and restore mac backup. Higher the read/write speed, better than drive will perform. If speed is your priority than get a better performing external drive (such as an SSD portable drive).


Sometimes we get a faulty drive which suddenly stop working. In that case warranty can be useful. Some of manufacturer also covers free data recovery service if your drive fail within warranty time period. So, it is always better to get a drive which comes with at least 1 year of warranty.


With the increase of cyber attacks, external hard drives are pretty great solution for taking mac time machine backup. A good quality portable drive can save you a lot of time if something happens to your system internal drive. Always make sure to take backup atleast once a week. Now it depends on your requirement what you looking for exactly. If you have any question, let us know in the comments.

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John Stewart
Hi There. I am the creator of this website. I have done Bachelor Of Science in Information and Technology from Drexel University. By Profession, I am working for a reputable company as a Network Support and Cyber Security Engineer. In my free time, I love to explore new technologies, products, and services. Here, my aim is to bring top quality content to my website visitors. I will be posting tech reviews, tips, and much more. I hope you will enjoy your stay here. It's my pleasure to have you here.
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