Best External SSD for Mac

Looking for a new external SSD for your Mac? Fortunately, we’ve taken the stress out of finding the best one for you. Join us as we point you in the direction of some of our favorites. 

What is an SSD?

An SSD (solid-state drive) is an external form of memory storage, and an essential piece of equipment for every Mac user wants to have in their arsenal. Chances are, your Mac will come with a decent storage capacity to start with. But what if you use it for work, or like to download a lot of films and music? This is where SSDs will come in handy.

To ensure you never run out of space at an inconvenient time (or at all), it is advisable to keep your larger files on an SSD. Alternatively, SSDs can be used to store backup copies of your work, for peace of mind, and transportation if the file is too large to send over the internet. SSDs are also lightweight, sturdy, and reliable, with speeds generally topping out faster than standard hard drives (4x to 20x faster!).

SSD used to be very pricey, but as with all technology, we have started to see prices come down gradually over the years. Now you can pick up a standard SSD for less than a dinner for two at a restaurant. Although there are many SSDs out there that are more basic and affordable, that’s not why we’re here today. If you’re reading this article, you’re looking for the best available SSDs on the market for your Mac. Let’s dive straight in.

Best Overall SSD: SanDisk Extreme V2

SanDisk 1TB Extreme PRO Portable SSD - Up to 2000MB/s - USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 - External Solid State Drive - SDSSDE81-1T00-G25

  • Seriously sturdy
  • Dust & waterproof (IP55)
  • Password protected
  • Seriously fast

When it comes to the best (overall) external SSD for Macs, you’d be hard pushed to find a device better than the SanDisk Extreme V2. The previous model — the SanDisk Extreme — was one of the forerunners in the market for a number of years, and this latest model somehow managed to top it. The design of the SanDisk Extreme V2 has barely changed from the previous model (because if it’s not broken, why fix it?). A compact, sleek shape that measures 9mm thick, 52.5mm wide, and 100.5mm long, makes it easy to carry around with you either in your pocket or on a handy carabiner.

The SanDisk Extreme V2 has a rubberized body that is both shockproof up to a height of 2 meters and IP55 rated for dust and waterproofing, ensuring you will never lose your files to the elements or accidents. If it’s other people that concern you, you’ll be pleased to learn that the SanDisk Extreme V2 also comes with password protection, ensuring prying eyes cannot gain access to anything they shouldn’t be. Yet another reason we think the SanDisk Extreme V2 is one of if not the best external SSD for Macs on the market right now. 

If you’re looking for speed, SanDisk has you covered on that front, too. Boasting write speeds of up to 938MB/s and read speeds of 908MB/s. If that is not enough to impress you, there is also a Pro model available which doubles the read/write speeds.

As for storage? We’re talking 500GB up to 4TB (with prices from $79.99 to $579.99) meaning there is enough space on the device to backup an entire Mac if that’s something you are looking to do. 

There are currently three models on sale (with the other two being the older models) so make sure to pick up the right one when you go to make the purchase!

Check out the SanDisk Extreme V2 on Amazon & Western Digital. 

Best for Older Models: SATA SSD: SanDisk SSD PLUS 480GB

SanDisk SSD PLUS 480GB Internal SSD - SATA III 6 Gb/s, 2.5"/7mm, Up to 535 MB/s - SDSSDA-480G-G26 , Black

  • Fast read/write speed
  • Cool and quiet running
  • Works even with older Macs

We’ve picked the SanDisk SSD PLUS 480GB as the best overall SSD for older Macs. If you own a Mac from 2011, 2012, or older, this SSD will be supported and is an excellent way to upgrade your existing (although likely full) storage space. It is far more cost effective to do this with an SSD than it is to buy a new MacBook. The storage space of 480GB should be plenty of space for all of your photos, files, and music. 

Prices start from around $59.99 for the SanDisk SSD PLUS 480GB, making it not only the second-best in our opinion, but affordable as well. 

With a 535MB/s sequential read speed and a 445MB/s sequential write speed, you won’t be waiting around for long when transferring files, and as if that wasn’t enough, the SanDisk SSD PLUS 480GB will remain cool and quiet while doing so.

You can check out the SATA SSD: SanDisk SSD PLUS 480GB here on Amazon & Western Digital.

Best External SSD for Mac: Overview

So there we have it, two of the best external SSDs for Mac on the market right now. Of course, there are countless others to choose from, with more entering the market every day. You may find something which interests your own individual needs, but if you’re in a hurry, or just need a little direction, you really can not go wrong with either of the two listed in this article. 

Related article: How To Upgrade Your MacBook Pro SSD (late 2012-mid 2015)

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