Apple Compatible Drives And Storage DevicesAn MacOS compatible backup drive is probaly the single-most critical device to own after purchashing your MacBook or Macintosh desktop system. Whether it's a cheap USB flash drive or high-capacity and high-speed Thunderbolt storage solution, your Mac deserves a complete and life-saving backup device.
Multiple Drive Interface Standards Supported On The MacCurrently, USB 3.1 and ThunderBolt 3 are the leading edge and future interfaces for Mac compatible storage drives. While you might enjoy the fastest data transfers possible with ThunderBolt 3, choices are limited and pricey. For more affordability and backward compatibility with older Mac computers, an Apple compatible SuperSpeed USB 3.0 or SuperSpeed+ Plus 3.1 HDD or SSD drive purchase is smart and still usable on USB 2.0 and even USB 1.1 Macintosh ports.
eSATA and FireWire drive connectivty standards are still important to some to maintain compatibility with older Macs and storage environments. Look for Combo-Interface drives that sport USB, FireWire 800/400 and eSATA ports for the utmost in legacy connectivity.
Ethernet network and Wi-Fi wireless drive connectivity is growing in popularly: Mac compatible NAS - Network Attached Storage is often desired in wired or wireless home and office environments where shared access to media files or centralized backup is preferred. Apple's own Time Capsule or Mac compatible network drives such as those from Buffalo or Western Digital are excellent choices.
Thinking forward, USB 3.1 and ThunderBolt 3 are the future of Mac peripheral connectivity. The Type-C connector used by both USBC and ThunderBolt3 are intended to provide a single, unifying connector for both data and power. It supports BOTH protocols over the same connection and become the universal port for data backup drives, audio and video devices, displays, printers, scanners, cameras and webcams, and any other computing peripheral.
Formatting For Cross-Platform or Mac-Only CompatibilityWhether it's a mechanical spinning platter hard drive - or a solid-state flash-memory SSD for Mac backups -- All such computer storage solutions are inherently Mac compatible IF they're formatted in a way that your Macintosh can read and write to. Thanks to Apple embracing most file-format standards, even PC-formatted consumer drives will generally mount on your OSX desktop right out of the box and be instantly usable for backup. However, for OPTIMAL use on your Mac, and depending on whether cross-platform use is needed or important to you - you might be better served reformatting the drive to Apple file-format standards before using it for the first time.
In some instances you can purchase HDD and SSD drives already formatted for Mac OSX for full and instant Mac compatibilty. But do note you'll often pay a $10-$20 or more price premium for the honor of buying a Mac-specific preformatted storage product. Preparing a drive for MAC OSX Extended Format (and with a GUID partition table to insure a Bootable Mac drive) takes only a minute using Apple's Disk Utility found in your Applications > Utilities folder on any recent Mac. Mac-"Specific" drive products may contain additional vendor backup software or utilites for OSX, though frankly, Apple's bundled DIsk Utility and TimeMachine backup software may be all you need.
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