Best External SSDs for MacBook Air and Pro in 2021

Apple introduced the first SSD based laptop back in January 2008 with the launch of the original MacBook Air. Then, there was a total of 64 GB SSD storage option available. However, Apple eventually expanded the storage options followed by the launch of MacBook 15” and 17” in September same year and continuing to do the same. However, it is always a costly affair to buy the MacBooks with high storage. But, all thanks to Thunderbolt 3 ports you can get quite fast SSDs from the market with a marginal upgrade price. Not to forget, that these MacBooks SSDs are not only lightweight but they’re suitable for photo/video editing, gaming, and other stuff. Also, you’ll be able to carry them anywhere as they offer maximum portability with their compact design. 

External SSDs are must-have accessories for every MacBook user. However, there are certain factors that you should take into consideration before purchasing one for yourself. Some of the factors are listed in the below pointers. 

  • Purpose: Before you move on to choose the storage capacity of the SSD, you should decide why you need it. If you’re into photo/video editing, gaming, or anything that requires moving large files then getting the higher storage and speed SSDs is recommended. Similarly, if you just want one for casual use like regular backups and storing movies, a relatively slower SSD will be more than good enough. 
  • Storage: The main reason to buy an SSD is to expand the storage that was not previously sufficient. For that, you need to have an estimated requirement of storage before you purchase it. At present, you can find external SSDs for MacBook Air and Pro with storage options of 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 5TB, 8TB, and maybe even more. 
  • Price: The price of the SSDs is the second most important factor to consider before purchasing them. As we mentioned earlier the external SSDs for MacBook Air are available in different storage options, which also means that you will need to pay extra as you move up the storage capacity. 

We understand that purchasing external SSDs from the market can get tricky as there are identical items with the same storage available. But, our main purpose is to help you get your hands on some of the best SSDs available for your MacBook. That’s where our roundup on the best external SSD for MacBook Air and Pro will help you make the right buying decision.  

Note: We update our article from time-to-time to cover the latest products available in the market.

Disclaimer: All the external SSDs mentioned in this roundup are compatible with both, the M1 and Intel-based MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Some of these SSDs come pre-formatted to work with macOS and some of these will have to be formatted to work with macOS.

List of best External SSDs for MacBook Air and Pro

1. Glyph Atom RAID SSD for MacBook

Storage: 1TB 

Hardware Interface: USB-C (Thunderbolt 3)

Speed: Up to 2800MBps

If you’re looking for an extremely fast yet tiny SSD then the Glyph Atom RAID is a must-buy for you. It is among the best rugged SSDs for MacBooks and uses NVMe technology known for rapid performance and transfer speeds. This SSD comes with a military-grade certification that suggests it can withstand heavy shocks and, vibration. The Glyph Atom SSD offers a read speed of up to 2800MBps while the write speed goes max up to 2600MBps

Pros:

  • USB-C Thunderbolt 3 cable included in the pack
  • Ultra-compact design
  • Extremely fast transfer speeds
  • Military-grade protection

Cons:

  • Expensive

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2. Crucial X8 Portable SSD for MacBook Pro and Air 2020

Storage: 500GB/1TB/2TB

Hardware Interface: USB-C 3.1 (Gen 2)

Speed: Up to 1050MBps

Here’s a budget-friendly yet fast portable SSD from Crucial that comes with a durable and beautiful design. The Crucial X8 SSD features an anodized aluminum body that withstands drops from up to 7.5ft. It comes with a temperature control feature and has shock/vibration proof properties. The package includes a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C to Type-C USB cable and a USB 3.2 Gen 1/USB 3 Type-C to USB-A Adapter. Crucial claims that this SSD offers a read speed of up to 1050MBps. Best of all, it is backed by a 3-year limited lifetime warranty

Pros:

  • Lightweight and durable design
  • Temperature control and shock-proof technology
  • 3 years limited lifetime warranty
  • Suitable for casual use

Cons:

  • Overheating issues

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3. SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD (Best External SSD for MacBook)

Storage: 250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB

Hardware Interface: USB-C 3.2 Gen 2

Speed: Up to 1050MBps

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD for MacBook Air and Pro (Best External SSD for MacBook Air 2020)

The SanDisk portable SSD is powered by NVMe technology that allows it to offer faster read and write speeds of 1050MBps and 1000MBps respectively. This uniquely designed SSD comes with drop protection, IP55 waterproof rating, and dust resistance features. The outer shell of the SanDisk external SSD is made from a durable silicone shell that offers a premium look adding an extra bit of protection. Also, you will get a 5-year hassle-free post-purchase warranty. Now, worry less and store more private data with the help of a password protection feature backed by 256-bit AES hardware encryption. Not to forget this SSD comes with a Type-C to Type-C USB cable and Type-C to USB-A Adapter.   

Pros:

  • Faster transfer speeds
  • Water-proof and drop resistant
  • 5 years after-sales warranty
  • Includes USB-C cable and an adapter

Cons:

  • Requires formatting for MacOS

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4. WD My Passport SSD (Best Thunderbolt 3 NVME External SSD for MacBook)

Storage: 500GB/1TB/2TB 

Hardware Interface: USB-C 3.2 (Gen-2) (USB-A for older systems)

Speed: Up to 1050MBps

Seagate Barracuda Fast Portable SSD

The Western Digital Passport SSD for MacBook Air features a highly portable and unique design that looks aesthetically beautiful. The NVMe technology incorporated in this SSD allows a fast reading speed of up to 1050MBps and a write speed of up to 1000MBps. This impressive SSD from Western Digital withstands drops, shocks, and vibration; all thanks to a shockproof design. This product is backed by 5 years limited warranty in case anything goes wrong with it. You can grab this Solid State Drive in five brilliant colors (Gray, Gold, Silver, Red, and Blue).

Pros:

  • Drop and shock protection 
  • Supports password enabled 256-bit AES hardware encryption
  • Available in five colors
  • Five years warranty

Cons:

  • Plastic Build

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5. SAMSUNG X5 (Fastest Portable SSD for MacBook Air and Pro)

Storage: 500GB/1TB/2TB

Hardware Interface: USB-C Thunderbolt 3 

Speed: Up to 2800MBps

SAMSUNG X5 2TB Portable SSD for MacBook Air and Pro

Here’s another high-speed and extremely portable SSD by Samsung. The Samsung X5 SSD is powered by NVMe and supports Thunderbolt 3 technology. This extremely fast SSD features a metal body with a glossy look and has non-slip pads on the bottom to prevent it from slipping off a surface. It provides read and write speeds of up to 2800MBps and 2300MBps, respectively. The Thermal Guard technology prevents overheating and better temperature control, while the password protection feature ensures the safety of your files. It is worth mentioning that this SSD is backed by a 3-year limited lifetime warranty

Pros:

  • Support for password protection & AES 256-bit hardware encryption
  • 3-year limited warranty
  • Includes Type-C to Type-C USB cable
  • Temperature control feature

Cons:

  • More expensive than other alternatives

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6. G-Technology External Portable SSD 

Storage: 500GB/1TB/2TB

Hardware Interface: USB-C 3.1 (Gen 2)

Speed: Up to 560MBps

G-Technology External Portable SSD

If you’re looking for an aesthetically cool SSD then this one from G-Technology should top the list. Not to forget, it is less costly than other alternatives available. The portable SSD features a unique aluminum body that can protect from shocks and drops of up to 3 meters, whereas, the IP67 rating suggests it is waterproof as well. It allows transferring data at a speed of up to 560MBps. Moreover, this SSD for MacBook Pro and Air is backed by a 5-year warranty

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Shock and water-resistant
  • Type-C to Type-C and Type-C to Type-A USB Cable included
  • 5-year manufacturers warranty

Cons:

  • Included cables are very short

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7. LaCie Rugged SSD Pro (Best Rugged External SSD for Macbook Pro & MacBook Air)

Storage: 500GB/1TB/2TB/4TB/5TB

Hardware Interface: USB-C 3.0 Thunderbolt 3

Speed: Up to 2880MBps

LaCie Rugged SSD Pro for MacBook Pro and Air (Best Rugged External SSD for Mac)

Are you looking for an ultra-fast and rugged SSD for your MacBook Air or Pro? Here’s a palm-size SSD from LaCie that features a heavy-duty design that can withstand heavy-shocks and drops of up to 3 meters. The IP67 rating makes it an appealing choice for content creators on the go. Don’t forget the fast 2880MBps data transfer speed powered by NVMe technology. You’ll find a USB-C Thunderbolt 3 cable with the pack. There’s a covering on the port to prevent dust and debris from getting inside. Moreover, you will get a 5-year warranty including Rescue Data Recovery Services, as well as one-month membership across all apps powered by Adobe Cloud

Pros:

  • 5 years warranty with Data Recovery Services
  • Heavy-duty protection with IP67 rating
  • Includes USB-C Thunderbolt 3 cable

Cons:

  • Expensive

You might want to check the newer and affordable model of LaCie Portable SSD

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8. Seagate Barracuda Fast Portable SSD 

Storage: 500GB/1TB/2TB 

Hardware Interface: USB-C 3.0

Speed: Up to 540MBps

Seagate Barracuda Fast Portable SSD

Here comes another fast portable SSD that offers a transfer speed of up to 540MBps. It features a minimalist, slim design and a green LED light that lights up to indicate data transferring. This SSD will come in handy if you are looking to use it with other devices other than Macs. If you were in search of a budget-friendly option, then this SSD for MacBook Air is a must-buy for you.

Pros:

  • LED indicator
  • Slim and pocket-friendly design
  • Budget-friendly
  • Compatible with a range of devices

Cons:

  •  None

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9. Sabrent Rocket Nano External SSD

Storage: 512GB/1TB/2TB 

Hardware Interface: USB-C 3.2

Speed: Up to 1000MBps
Sabrent Rocket Nano External SSD

If you are looking for an ultra-compact SSD with high speeds then the Sabrent Rocket Nano SSD should fulfill your requirements. It features an ultra-slim aluminum alloy shell which makes it durable and portable. Moreover, the plug and play feature keeps away the hassle of driver installation. This tiny SSD comes in three different colors: Black, Gray (Rugged), and Silver. Also, it comes with Type-C to Type-C and Type-A to Type-C USB cable. In case you travel a lot, then you should certainly grab this SSD.

Pros:

  • Ultra-compact design
  • Available in three colors
  • Sleek and durable design

Cons:

  • Overheating problem

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10. SAMSUNG T7 Portable SSD

Storage: 500GB/1TB/2TB

Interface: USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2)

Speed: Up to 1050MBps

SAMSUNG T7 Portable SSD

Here’s a lightweight and portable SSD from Samsung that offers a data transfer speed of up to 1050MBps. This SSD features a shock-resistant body that can also withstand drops of up to 6ft. Moreover, the temperature of the SSD is ideally maintained by the dynamic thermal guard technology. Not to forget, it comes with a password protection feature as well. This Samsung SSD comes with two USB-C data cables and three vibrant colors to choose from. 

Pros:

  • Shock and drop protection
  • Temperature control feature
  • Password protection

Cons:

  • Short data cables

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Samsung offers a variant of this SSD with an in-built fingerprint sensor which delivers the same data transfer speeds. Learn more about it here.

That’s the end of our roundup on the best SSDs for MacBooks (Intel & M1). We hope you found a suitable SSD for yourself. If you did, do let us know by commenting below. If you are looking for a USB-C adapter for the new MacBooks, make sure to check our roundup of the best USB-C adapters for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

 

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