PC Gear Lab

5 Best Hard Drives for Time Machine in 2020

Backups are great for ensuring you have a restore point for your files in case something happens to the main disk.

While you can do a backup and store it on the main disk, its often advisable to use another disk, one that you can use to restore your files.

Mac users can do this by getting the best hard drive for Time Machine.

With this, they can use their computers with full assurance that if something like a hard drive crash occurs, their system can be restored from the backups they made prior.

Comparison of Top Hard Drive for Apple Time Machine

ProductTypeSizeConnectivityTransfer SpeedCheck
Price
WD My
Book
HDD3.5" USB 3.0~140
MB/s
Buy at
Amazon.com 
Seagate
Backup Plus
Ultra Touch
HDD2.5" USB 3.0~140
MB/s
Buy at
Amazon.com 
Samsung T7NVMe
SSD
NVMeUSB 3.2
Gen2
1050
MB/s
Buy at
Amazon.com 
LaCie RuggedNVMe
SSD
M.2USB 3.21050
MB/s
Buy at
Amazon.com 
Seagate
IronWolf
Internal
HDD
3.5"SATA~140
MB/s
Buy at
Amazon.com 
Toshiba
MG07ACA14TE
Internal
HDD
3.5"SATA~250
MB/s
Buy at
Amazon.com

List of Best Hard Drives for Time Machine

We have chosen the following as the best storage drives for Apple Time machine.

  1. WD My Book – Recommended Simple and Affordable Hard Drive for Time Machine
  2. Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Touch – Affordable and Portable
  3. Samsung T7 – Portable NVME SSD
  4. LaCie STHR500800 – Rugged NVMe SSD
  5. Seagate IronWolf NAS – Highly affordable portable HDD
  6. Toshiba MG07ACA14TE – Expensive but reliable internal hard drive

1. WD My Book – Recommended Simple and Affordable Hard Drive for Time Machine

Sale
WD My Book

A 3.5″ external desktop hard drive with a large storage and a phenomenal TB/dollar value.

WD My Book is a no-brainer option for those who have loads of file to archive or backup often using the Apple Time Machine service.

WD My Book is basically a desktop external hard drive. Therefore, it is large, it uses a 7200 RPM hard disk but also requires an external power source to operate.

However, what it does excel in is the GB/dollar value. If you to maximize the amount of space you get for your money, then this is the best hard drive for Time Machine.

Of course, if you want something more portable or faster, then this may not be the best option for you.

But for archiving and storing large data, we recommend this in a heartbeat.

The hard drive comes with an added auto-backup feature but with Time Machine, this can be taken care of by the PC according to your directions.

The drive has hardware encryption that keeps your files safe therefore by an extra layer of security to your backups.

This desktop hard drive comes with built-in compatibility for Apple Time Machine and this allows you to get up and running quickly with your backups.

2. Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Touch – Affordable and Portable

If you want portability as well as affordability then 2.5″ external hard drives are the way to go. However, not all 2.5″ external hard drives are compatible with Apple Time Machine.

Fortunately, this Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Touch is an affordable, MAC and Time Machine compatible external hard drive with a portable form factor.

Unlike the hard disk above, this is slim, light and does not require an external power source.

Being portable allows users the freedom to take backups with this drive at any time without having to carry around a large desktop hard drive.

The drive comes with support for USB 3.0 Type C for connecting to your Mac device easily.

It should be noted that you maybe required to reformat the drive in order to use it with Apple Time Machine.

With the drive’s password protection, Mac users can rest easy that their sensitive backed-up files are safe from unauthorized access, and in case you lose the hard drive others won’t be able to easily retrieve its contents.

Being affordable makes this drive attractive to many users. Getting it and using it for backups won’t cost a lot. Hence if affordability and portability are two things you desire for your backup disk, then this is the best hard drive for Time Machine in our opinion.

3. Samsung T7 – Portable NVME SSD

Sale
Samsung T7

A super fast external NVMe SSD with 1050 MB/s transfer speed.

Backing up your files is a taxing task for your hard drive. You have to meticulously appoint a time for backing up ideally when you are not using your Mac.

However, if you do a lot of backing up and you want it to be done fast without damaging the performance while you work on your MAC, then SSD is the way to go.

And not just any SSD, the NVMe SSD is what we recommend. Unlike the older SSDs, the NVMe external SSDs are twice as fast in terms of transfer speed and can achieve speeds upto 1050 MB/s.

Compared this to an average external HDD, the fastest of which can do about 130 MB/s with a 7200 RPM internal hard drive.

Hence, if you want super fast backup and super fast access to your files on the external hard drive, then this is best hard drive for Time Machine.

Ofcourse, the only issue is that this is much more expensive than an average HDD.

However, for your hot data, or data you save and access often, SSDs are the way to go for.

4. LaCie STHR500800 – Rugged NVMe SSD

LaCie STHR500800

A high performance rugged external NVMe SSD with IP67 protection.

If you travel a lot and you want a high performance external hard drive that can provide physical protection to your critical data, then this is the best hard drive for Time Machine.

For starters, like the previous drive mentioned here i.e Samsung T7, this too is an NVMe SSD and hence can reach speeds upto 1050 MB/s.

However, what separates this from the one above is the external protection it offers. Not only does it offer drop resistance, it is also IP67 approved meaning it is dust and water proof.

While this is an expensive model, if you expect your drive to meet a lot bumps or physical accidents then we highly recommend this.

5. Seagate IronWolf NAS – High Cache Specialized NAS Internal Drive

Sale
Seagate IronWolf NAS

A NAS grade internal storage with great reliability.

If you are looking for a reliable INTERNAL hard drive for your MAC system, then this may interest you.

NAS drives are great to use when you want a system to be up and running continuously with a limited risk of a hard drive failure.

The IronWolf is a specialized NAS drive that comes with a very large cache of 256MB which improves the disk’s performance during operation.

In addition to the cache, users also benefit from the drive’s 7200RPM disk. It’s not among the fastest but its more than sufficient for Time Machine backups if they are NOT too often and if the backup are performed when you are not performing any work.

Also, the drive comes with large storage capacity options which are great when your computer already has a lot of files that need backing up. Because you’ll be making file duplicates, large size drives will come in handy.

What makes this the best hard drive for Time Machine is its ability to handle large workloads efficiently. Its reliability of a whopping 1 million hours MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) means you can carry out your backups for a long time before you lose the drive.

6. Toshiba MG07ACA14TE – Expensive but reliable internal hard drive

Toshiba MG07ACA14TE

An internal enterprise grade hard disk drive with one of the highest reliability score. Great for critical data

According to Backblaze, the Toshiba MG07ACA14TE is one of the most reliable internal drives with a 0% annualized failure rate when tested against other drives.

Therefore, if you have very critical files to backup and you want utmost reliability then we highly recommend this.

Because it’s very reliable, it can make a good drive for important backups because you can be sure that when you need to restore your system, chances of being let down will be minimal.

This 3.5-inch SATA HDD is the best hard drive for Time Machine when you have a lot of files to back up and reliability is the feature you are most keen on.

This hard drive can work great if you are building your own DIY NAS setup for your MAC.

Being a data center-grade drive, purchasing this will cost significantly more than getting a regular user-grade drive.

The device makes up for its expensive price tag by having a high workload of 550TB per year. This is great for a backup drive as you can do a lot with it including taking multiple large backups.

Additionally, the drive can operate 24/7 so once installed you can have Time Machine constantly make automatic backups without the fear of wearing-off the device.

With high reliability and a fast 7200RPM disk, this is a great choice for backups.

FAQ

Guide to Choosing the Right Hard Drive for Time Machine.

Regular backups can help users recover from catastrophic data losses easily because the necessary files where stored in an accessible location separate from the main working copies.

Backing up is a great idea for professionals and even casual computer users as sudden issues can stall your work.

What is Apple Time Machine?


As part of the Apple ecosystem, users get a backup software that takes care of handling disk backups and all.

Mac users know it as Time Machine and it has been part of the OS distribution. With seamless integration to macOS, Time Machine has enabled users to carry out full system backups.

With Time Machine, users can back up system files, music, documents, photos, emails, and even apps to the local disk or to an external one which is the best alternative.

Besides, you can even track changes made to files and save those snapshots in chronological order. This allows you to return to any of the saved versions of the file when you need to.

Simply, Apple Time Machine is a very advanced backup software for macOS users that lets you back up your computer, letting you restore to a working version as soon as possible when needed.

Also Read: Best Hard Drives for Movie Storage

Recommended Hard Drives for Time Machine

best internal hard drive for video editing
The most recommended drives for crucial back up in Apple Time Machine are the Data Center Grade Hard Disk. Source: Toshiba MG07ACA14TE 

As with most storage devices, there’s no one-size-fits-all fix. You, therefore, find drives that are good for a very particular task.

Generally, when deciding to choose the right hard drive for time machine, you have to first decide whether you want to procure an internal or an external hard drive.

While most of you would choose to go for external hard drive, if you want the ultimate reliability for your hard drive, then you will find those with certain internal hard drive such as the Toshiba MG Series data center grade hard disk above.

For an average person, however, a good external hard drive would be quite suitable.

External hard drives come in three major types i.e 3.5″ external desktop hard disk, 2.5″ portable hard disks and SSDs.

Of these 3.5″ external desktop hard disk offers the most storage capacity at the cheapest possible rate. Unfortunately these drives are bulky and require an external power source.

2.5″ is usually the favorite among those who prefer portability as well as affordability as these do not require an external power source and are much cheaper than SSDs.

Only the professionals such as video editors, media creators would opt to go for an SSD as their primary backup drive.

SSDs are the most expensive but have transfer speeds multiple folds faster than an HDD.

An internal NVME SSD can be 35 times faster than an average internal HDD. An external NVMe SSD can be 5 – 7 times faster than an average external HDD.

For Time Machine any of these would work just fine. The only thing you need to decide is whether you want performance or size. This would depend upon the frequency of your backup, how critical the data is, and how much data you backup at a time

Also Read: Best External Hard Drives for Youtubers

Are SSDs Good for Time Machine?

Best SSD for Boot Drive
SSDs are fast but for backup, they are not recommended

There’s a lot of benefit with having an SSD and the main one among them is fast speeds.

High speeds mean you will spend less time waiting for backups to complete and even when doing a restore if its significantly large, it won’t take a lot of time.

However, SSDs can be very expensive, especially when compared to HDDs. For this reason, having an for huge backup is not recommended.

However, if you backup quite often and you do not want to wait for the backup to complete, then SSDs can help. SSDs can essentially turbo boost the speeds at which you can backup your files using Time Machine.

Final Words

Here we looked at some of the best hard drives for time. Since Apple Time Machine is a software dedicated for backup, we recommend going for the most reliable hard disks.

Unfortunately, highly reliable hard disks, particularly internal hard disks that are Data Center grade, are expensive. Similar, external hard drives that feature IP protection are expensive too.

If you just need a simple hard drive for backup then any affordable hard disk can do just great.

The key here is to realize the important of your backup. If you are baking up very important material, then spend a bit more. If you just want casual backup of your system, go for an affordable option.

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