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Have you heard that Apple no longer makes the Airport Time Capsule?
Are you racing to find an alternative wireless external hard drive for your Mac?
Or are you searching for a wireless portable external hard drive?
A drive you can tuck in your back pack along with your camera, GoPro or drone. And off load the mass of images and lush footage you’ve taken.
Then you’ll want to discover the current wireless external hard drive contenders.
Read on and find out what these bad boys are capable of.
Winner! Best Wireless External Hard Drive for Mac
For those of you who wants to know now which is the best wireless hard drive for Mac.
It’s the WD My Passport Wireless Pro.
You should understand it’s not an Apple Time Capsule replacement.
It’s a wireless external hard drive that holds your photos, video and music. So that you can watch, and stream over Wi-Fi.
When you’re seeking an alternative to the Airport Time Capsule. There are some important things to know about. Jump down to the table of contents and pop down to that section of this post.
*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. And at no extra cost to you this site earns a commissions through image links, Amazon button and text links should you buy.
To Take a Look at Today’s Price on Amazon. You Can Click On The Above Image Or Link Text.
What Will A Wireless External Hard Drives Do For You And Your Mac?
You’ll find that the wireless external drives on the market are photo and video image capture machines. Plus entertainment devices.
What does that mean?
1. When you’re out and about with your camera, GoPro or drone. And you’re looking for a drive where you can quickly off load those images. So that you can go film some more or take more photos. These wireless external drives could be just the thing you need.
2. When you’re looking to free up space on your iPad or iPhone without having to use in the cloud storage. You can use these drives to download your photos and videos to.
Reach for one of these.
3. On holiday? In the car? Want to stream your videos and home movies and entertain the kids?
Then you’ve personal Wi-Fi and a hotspot for streaming content. And without you needing an Internet connection.
4. You can view your photos. Or listen to your music on your connected devices to your wireless drive. How many you can have connected at the same time varies by wireless drive.
5. You can bridge to an existing Wi-Fi that has Internet connection. And your wireless external hard drive gives your Mac. And your Wi-Fi gadgets a Wi-Fi gateway to the Internet.
Top Mac Champion Wireless External Drives
There are three wireless hard drives worth your time and effort to look at.
The WD My Passport Wireless Pro, the LaCie Fuel and the WD My Passport Wireless SSD.
Best External Hard Drive Mac
Find out why in their Quick Reviews below.
WD My Passport Wireless Pro
Wi-Fi Drive Sizes: 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB
Max Devices Served: 8
Drive Format: NTFS (Firmware 1.04)
Drive Type: USB 3.0
Overall Size: 5 x 5 x 0.94 in
WD My Passport Wireless SSD
Wi-Fi Drive Sizes: 250 GB, 500 GBB, 1TB, 2TB
Max Devices Served: 8
Drive Format: NTFS (Firmware 1.04)
Drive Type: USB 3.0
Overall Size: 5.31 x 5.31 x 1.18 in
Weight: 0.97lb, 1T & 2TB 1.01lb
LaCie Fuel Wireless
Wi-Fi Drive Sizes: 1TB, 2TB
Max Devices Served: 5
Drive Format: ExFAT
Drive Type: USB 3.0
Overall Size: 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.9 in
Weight: 9.7 oz.
Number 1 : WD My Passport Wireless Pro
MacTakeAwayData Rank – 7/10
(Commissions Earned Through Image Link and Amazon Text Link)
Take a Look At the WD My Passport Wireless Pro Price on Amazon
WD My Passport Wireless Pros
- You get a DNLA Twonky server or Plex media server included. You can set up which one you want to use with your Mac
- You have an SD Card reader. And with a touch of a button you can off load your photographs and videos
- You’ve the advantage of an inbuilt power bank. So you to power up your devices when they run out of charge in the field
- You can buy a 4TB Wi-Fi hard drive for your Mac. The largest capacity of the three top wireless drives
- You’ve support for FTP to your WD My Passport Wireless drive. You can use FTP to move your photos from your FTP capable camera
WD My Passport Wireless Pro Cons
- You’ll find No support for streaming DRM protected iTunes media files
- You can’t use as a wireless hard drive for Time Machine
WD My Passport Wireless Pro Summary
The WD My Passport Pro won out as the best wireless external hard drive for Mac.
Because it’s a cost effective and flexible wireless hard drive.
The WD My Wireless Pro drive comes with an SD card reader slot. Perfect when you want to offload photos and videos from your camera, drone or GoPro. You can download them onto your Wireless Pro in the field.
Your WD My Passport Wireless Pro allows you to install and configure a Plex server on the drive itself. This makes it much more flexible and robust when you want it as an entertainment device.
And it’s so cool that it has a built in power bank. You can use the power stored in your Wireless Pro to charge your mobile phone in a pinch. It’s a slow charge.
WD My Passport Wireless Pro YouTube Video
You’ll enjoy watching this short YouTube video and see how the WD My Passport arrives and what is in the box. The video lasts 1 minute 17 seconds.
WD My Passport Wireless Pro Hard Drive Unboxing
Video Credit: Officeworks
Other Interesting Stuff to Know About The WD MY Passport Wireless Pro On Mac
WD My Passport Wireless Pro SD Card Reader Slot
You can setup the SD 3.0 card reader to automatically copy raw photos off your SD card. And leave the originals on your SD Card.
Or you can set it up to move the files and clear your SD card. Freeing up your SD card so you can go record some more.
WD My Wireless Pro Total Number of Gadgets Supported
A headline grabbing stream of up to 8 HD video’s at 8 MBps HD MP4. In reality expect fewer than 8 useable connections. Otherwise you’ll max out the band width when you’re streaming larger formats.
WD My Passport Wireless Wi-Fi Standards Supported
Your My Passport Wireless Pro is a dual band device.
It supports 802.11ac which is 5 Ghz fast Wi-Fi. For speedy Wi-Fi out to your newest Macs, iPhones and iPads.
And the Wireless Pro also supports 802.11n. The 2.4 Ghz standard for your older Macs and older iPhones and iPads.
Wireless Pro Connection to Your Mac
Your WD My Passport comes with a USB 3.0 cable. It has a USB type A port where it connects to your Mac.
Despite it being a wireless drive, like all the drives here. You’ll find it’s best to upload the files you want to stream while you have it directly plugged in.
As that’ll give you the shortest time for getting your files onto your Wireless Pro. Trying up upload Mbytes on Mbytes of movies over Wi-Fi will surely test your patience.
For those of you with newer Macs with USB C Thunderbolt ports you’ll need an USB A to USB C adaptor cable.
Looking for more information on Mac connections and adaptors check my post on the site.
Something to note. When you’re directly connected via the USB cable to your Mac the drive’s Wi-Fi turns off. You cannot directly connect and have Wi-Fi at the same time.
How Do You Configure Your WD My Passport Wireless Pro On Your Mac?
First time setup of the WD My Passport Wireless Pro is easy enough.
You use a browser on your Mac. Or you can download and use the WD My Cloud mobile App on your iPad or iPhone.
WD My Passport Wireless Pro Battery Life
Up to a claimed 10 hour battery life on a full charge. This theoretical battery life is based on streaming HD 720p video, across 2.4 Ghz on a single device.
Streaming across many devices. And using 5 Ghz and you’ll soon run out of battery.
The ability for you to use the WD My Passport Wireless Pro as a power bank for emergency charging of phones etc, is a boon. Though of course this will shorten your battery life.
Hard Drive Format of the Wireless Pro
Delivered your WD My Passport Wireless Pro is formatted in NTFS (firmware 1.04). It was formatted as ExFAT (firmware 1.03). The new NTFS format means you’ll need to use the supplied on the drive Paragon software driver. And use that when uploading your files. Macs can read NTFS but can’t write to NTFS.
WD Wireless Pro Warranty
The WD My Passport Drive has a 2 year limited warranty. This is pretty reasonable for this type of consumer hard drive.
Read more About the WD My Passport Wireless Pro in this longer view here.
Number 2 : WD My Passport Wireless SSD
MacTakeAwayData Rank – 6.5/10
(Commissions Earned Through Image Link and Amazon Text Link)
Take a Look At the WD My Passport Wireless SSD Price on Amazon
WD My Passport Wireless SSD Pros
- You can use your WD My Passport Wireless SSD as a true take anywhere with you drive. It has protective bumpers that mean if you drop it (up to 1 meter) your drive still works, even if you’re using it at the same time. Boom!
- You can wireless transfer your files over FTP as you shoot photos with your camera
- Use the inbuilt SD card reader slot to copy your SD cards. No need to take your MacBook, iPad or IPhone with you
- Just like the WD My Passport Wireless Pro, you have a DNLA Twonky server. Or you can set it up as a Plex media server
- Single button press SD slot to copy of your photos and videos from your camera
WD My Passport Wireless SSD Cons
- There’s no support for streaming iTunes DRM protected media
- No support for a Time Machine backup
WD My Passport Wireless SSD Summary
Your WD My passport is a great wireless external hard drive to have with your Mac. And didn’t make the top spot because of the cost of these SSD drives.
The drop protection is a boon in the field when you can’t always place your drive on a firm safe surface. With all the great features of the WD My Passport Wireless Pro, if you can stretch to the extra cost. And put up with the smaller drive capacities, this would be the external wireless drive to choose.
YouTube Video Of The My Passport Wireless SSD
You’ll find here a quick video letting you in on the key points of the Wireless SSD. My Passport Wireless SSD Official Product Overview
Video Credit: WD
Exciting Benefits Of The My Passport Wireless SSD on Mac
You’ve Drop Resistance on the My Passport Wireless SSD
Perfect when you’re out and about and need to take an external drive with you. A drive that can take a bounce or two without breaking. It’s not a rugged drive but you’ll have some protection from a drop of up to 1 meter.
WD My Passport SSD SD Card Reader Slot
You’ve an SD card reader that with a single press of the button you can copy your photos and videos off your SD card. And at 65MB/s file read speed.
And just like the Wireless Pro you can pick to copy. Or clear your SD card when you copy off. And you choose that in the set up.
How Many Devices Can You Have On Your My Wireless Pro SSD?
The same as the WD My Passport Wireless Pro.
You can support up to 8 of your gadgets. And it’s a dual band wireless drive with 802.11ac for fast 5 Ghz Wi-Fi. And 802.11n for your older iPhones, iPads and Macs.
And you’ve the option of setting up your wireless SSD drive as a Wi-Fi hotspot for your gadgets. Or pass-through for internet access via a nearby Wi-Fi for your gadgets.
Plugging in Your My Passport Wireless SSD into Your Mac
This is how you would move your photos, video’s and music from your Mac to your WD My Passport SSD drive. Choose direct plug in rather than Wi-Fi.
You’ve a USB 3.0 port with a type A slot for your Mac.
For your newer Macs with USB C slots you’ll need to buy yourself a USB A to USB C converter plug or cable.
How Do You Set Up Your WD My Passport SSD Wireless On Your Mac?
Again like the Wireless Pro you set up through a browser on your Mac. Or you use the WD My Cloud mobile app on your iPad or iPhone.
Battery Life of the My Passport Wireless SSD
The same as the My Passport Wireless Pro.
They are such similar external wireless drives.
You’ve a total of 10 hours. But expect less when streaming over faster 5 Ghz Wi-Fi. Switch the Wi-Fi off if you’re not using to preserve your battery.
WD My Passport Wireless SSD Hard Drive Format
The latest models now ship formatted as NTFS. This means you’ll need to use the Paragon driver (supplied) to write your files to your drive from your Mac.
Your Mac is able to read NTFS file systems but can’t write to them.
Warranty On Your WD My Passport Wireless SSD
You’ve 2 years warranty. Which is to be expected on a consumer type drive.
You can discover more about your WD My Passport Wireless SSD in this Review here.
Number 3 : LaCie Fuel Wireless
MacTakeAwayData Rank – 6.5 /10
(Commissions Earned Through Image Link and Amazon Text Link)
Take a Look At the LaCie Fuel Wireless Price on Amazon
LaCie Fuel Wireless Pros
- You’ll find it’s Airplay Compatible
- You get DNLA support for Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and Roku
- You can add files using Dropbox or Google Drive
- The LaCie Fuel drive is formatted to ExFAT, which is a more useful file system format for your Mac. Your Mac can read and write directly to ExFAT
LaCie Fuel Wireless Cons
- The Lacie Fuel is end of life. But you can still find stocks on Amazon. While you can it might be worth your while picking one up. There are few other wireless hard drive offerings worth looking at
- The LaCie Fuel also has no support for streaming DRM protected iTunes bought files
- You can’t use as wireless backup drive for Mac using Wi-Fi for Time Machine backups
- You’ve 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi support only. The slower Wi-Fi standard
LaCie Fuel Wireless Summary
When you’re looking for a wireless drive to store your photos, videos, music and files. Freeing up space on your iPhone, iPad or Mac then you might fancy this LaCie.
This is the external drive to use when you’re looking to entertain yourself or the kids with your music and videos on the LaCie Fuel.
YouTube Video on the LaCie Fuel Wireless
Here is a short 1 minute 31 seconds video on the LaCie Fuel Wireless to introduce you. Enjoy.
Meet LaCie Fuel : Portable Wireless Storage
Video Credit LaCie
Striking Aspects Of The LaCie Fuel Wireless
LaCie Fuel Maximum Number of Devices Supported
It depends. So it’s worth understanding what your LaCie Fuel can do.
The banner claim is that your LaCie Fuel will Wi-Fi share its hard drive with up to 5 devices via a mobile app.
But when you’re streaming HD movies you can stream to a total of 3 devices at the same time.
You can connect your LaCie to nearby Wi-Fi hotspots. And then give Internet access to up to 4 devices.
And what does this add up to?
What your connected devices are doing will affect the total devices you can support on your LaCie Fuel.
LaCie Fuel Wi-Fi Standards Supported
The LaCie Fuel supports the Wi-Fi standards of 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n. So you don’t have the speed bump of 802.11ac offered by the WD My Passport drive.
Although your newer 802.11ac supporting Macs, iPads and iPhones can use this slower standard.
Wi-Fi Hotspot? Pass Through Mode On the LaCie Fuel?
Like the WD My Passport your LaCie Fuel will happily create its own Wi-Fi hotspot. And that means when you’re out in the wilds. You can stream from and use your LaCie Fuel’s hotspot.
And when you’re near to an existing Wi-Fi network. You can connect and allow your gadgets to join the Internet via your LaCie Fuel.
Using Your LaCie Fuel Wireless On Your Mac
You use and configure your LaCie Fuel via a browser on Mac or Windows PC.
Like the WD My Passport, LaCie recommends that you directly connect your Fuel to a your Mac. And use your browser to configure and to upload content.
Your physical connection to your Mac is through a USB port.
The LaCie Fuel is a USB 3.0 drive. It has a micro B type connection at the LaCie fuel end and a type A connection at the Mac end.
You’ll need a USB Type A to USB C adaptor for your Mac with Thunderbolt.
When your LaCie is plugged into your Mac, it’s just like a normal hard drive. And by the way it has pretty decent performance. But you’ll find that its Wi-Fi is disabled,
You’ll need to use the Seagate Media App on your iPad or iPhone to access your Lacie Fuel.
Your LaCie Fuel’s Battery Life
The LaCie Fuel offers ten hours of battery life when fully charged. This drops to eight hours of battery life when continuously streaming video.
LaCie Fuel Hard Drive Format
Your LaCie is shipped to you formatted as ExFAT. This means you can read and write to it from a Mac or a PC.
But ExFAT does not support Time Machine backups.
Don’t try to reformat and change this format or you’ll loose its Wi-Fi abilities.
LaCie Fuel Wireless Warranty
Similar to the WD My Passport you’ll find the LaCie is sold with 2 years limited warranty.
If you’re curious for more … You can find out more in this article here.
How Do the Wireless Drives Act As An Alternative to the Apple Airport Time Capsule?
You’ll find the wireless external hard drives have drawbacks for a Mac user. When what you’re looking for is a Time Capsule replacement.
1. For your Mac they Don’t Do What The Time Capsule Did
Because the Time Capsule was:
A wireless drive with its own Wi-Fi. Plus.
It had a pass through connection to the Internet. Plus.
You could use the Time Capsule as Wi-Fi target backup for Time Machine.
You could store and share files with Macs and PCs on the same Wi-Fi network.
Plus a few other things the Time Capsule did.
(You’ll find a full review on the Time Capsule if you want to refresh yourself here).
If you’re a Mac user that loved the Apple Time Capsule it’s simply depressing.
2. No Over the Wi-Fi Backup for Time Machine
Not one of the external wireless hard drives work wirelessly for Time Machine.
You can backup to Time Machine only if you plug your wireless drive into your Mac with a USB cable. And that means you’d need to change the shipped to you file format of these wireless drives.
Because Time Machine backs up to a HFS+ formatted drive.
And then they are just like any normal external hard drive.
Plus when you’ve plugged into your Mac each of the wireless drive’s Wi-Fi turns off.
And let’s face it.
You could easily find cheaper alternatives to use as a direct plug in backup drive.
Need to Knows
Before you buy any of these External Wireless Hard Drives For Mac as an entertainment gadget.
When you’re using as wireless entertainment external hard drive with your Mac. What’s important for you to know?
1. Limited File Encoding
What does file encoding mean?
This is where the file you’re looking at on your iPhone say. Needs to be a file the software on your iPhone can read and understand.
This means that whatever you’re looking to view. It doesn’t matter if it’s photos, videos or documents. They must be in a format that whatever you’re viewing or listening on can read.
The file must be in a format that your iPhone. Or your iPad or Mac understands before you try to stream or view.
Little or no file encoding features. Means you’ll need to do any encoding before you upload your files to stream to your Mac, iPhone or iPad.
2. You Can’t Stream iTunes Bought Movies.
In fact you can’t stream DRM (Digital Rights Management) protected media on any of these drives.
Apple took away the ability to stream (view) iTunes bought movies back in IOS 8.
So unless you’ve kept an apple product running IOS 8 then you’ll have no joy.
And if this is your main reason for buying one of these drives.
Let me save you some time and frustration. Don’t bother.
You can only stream (view) iTunes bought movies directly on one of your Apple gadgets.
3. Take care if your photos or videos or files are sensitive.
Or you just don’t fancy sharing them publicly. Spend time sorting out your wireless external hard drive’s security.
The marketing on these drives makes much of using a hotel’s Wi-Fi. Or public available Wi-Fi to stream content and entertain the kids. But without some care you could have complete strangers enjoying your content too.
4. Taking the Wi-Fi External Hard Drives With You
The marketing talks a lot about taking these drives with you into the wilds. Wherever you take photos and want a place to offload those photos? Then here’s your solution.
But when you’ve drives with moving parts inside. A drop, or shake while you’re using may break your drive. Be sure you put them on a firm surface.
And before you start to use.
SSDs (Solid State Drives) are better suited to conditions where your drive has to rough it. But there is a increased cost associated.
5. And you’ll likely find streaming direct from the Internet through these drives painful.
You’ll likely find direct streaming from your gadgets gives you better performance.
Other Wireless External Hard Drives for Mac that did not make the Grade
SSK Portable External Wireless Hard Drive
Capacity 1TB or 2TB. USB 3.0 drive. You get an SSK App that you use to access the drive and view your photos and video’s via.
You’ve an SD card reader slot. And a USB port where you can support an additional flash drive.
On the surface this wireless drive offers a lot. Unfortunately, the user experience with this drive is very varied.
Seagate Wireless Portable
Capacity 500GB, NTFS file system so requires the Paragon driver for Mac, USB 2.0 connection which is a slow connection, supports up to three devices. 10 hours battery life, Uses the Seagate Media App.
This didn’t make the grade because it needs the Paragon to connect to Mac. And because of its slower USB 2.0 connection.
Toshiba Canvio AeroCast Wireless
Capacity 1TB, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi support, NTFS file system so requires the Tuxera NTFS driver on a Mac, USB 3.0, supports up to 4 users. 5 hours battery life, SD card reader, uses the Google Cast app.
The AeroCast Wireless didn’t make the grade for me because of the need for the Tuxera NTFS driver before you can connect to a Mac and the short battery life.
Capacity 1TB, NTFS file system, USB 3.0, will stream up to 5 devices. 8 hours battery life, SD card reader, uses the AiDrive app available from the Apple app store.
The Asus Travelair didn’t make the grade for me again because of the NTFS file system needing a driver for Mac and general lack of information around using this drive on a Mac. If you’ve a Windows PC then you may well like this drive.
Last Words on the Best Wireless External Hard Drive for Mac
And there you have it.
You can choose any of the top three. Let your needs and the cost when you come to buy guide you.
When capturing your photos and video footage out and about is what you need. Then you’ll find the WD My Passport Wireless Pro is the clear winner.
But if you’ve the cash check out the WD MY Passport Wireless SSD. You’ll like them both on your Mac.
When it’s a pure entertainment drive is what you want then, take a look at the LaCie Fuel. There’s a lot to like.
Images Credit: Certain images reproduced by courtesy of Seagate Technology.
A hard drive enclosure is a case used to hold a hard drive (or SSD), providing the power it needs to operate, and an interface to connect the drive to a computer. The big names in hard drives are more focused on the drives themselves than standalone enclosures, so specialized third party accessory makers like Startech, Insignia and Tripp Lite are the primary suppliers of hard drive enclosures.
Hard Drive Enclosure vs. Hard Drive Dock
A hard drive enclosure is a self-contained case that turns a hard drive into an external drive. You supply the drive (it could be an HDD or SSD), install it into the enclosure, and you now have a portable, external drive. Plug it into a PC using a USB cable and the drive powers up.
A hard drive dock turns HDDs into removable media, no screwdriver required. The dock connects to your PC by USB and it has a slot (or slots) that accommodate an HDD. Insert the drive and it mounts on your desktop.
Uses and Benefits
Hard drive enclosures and docking stations are a great way to get additional life out of an older HDD. When you install a new drive in a PC, rather than disposing of the old one, re-use it for backup or removable storage using a hard drive enclosure or hard drive dock. You can also create inexpensive mass storage by buying high capacity hard drives without enclosures, then using your own.
Enclosure Sizes: 2.5inch and 3.5-inch
Hard drives come in two sizes, depending on whether they are intended for use in a laptop (2.5-inch) or a desktop PC (3.5-inch). Hard drive enclosures need to be matched to the appropriate size. Hard drive docks are available in multiple configurations, including ones that can accept multiple drives and dual versions that can accept both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives.
IDE or SATA?
Hard drives communicate with a connected PC using an interface, either IDE or SATA. Most recent drives use the faster SATA interface. When choosing a hard drive enclosure, make sure to match the interface to that of the drive you’ll be installing.
Factors to Consider Before Buying
Before choosing a hard drive enclosure, decide whether you want a single permanent external drive (an enclosure), or if you have multiple spare drives you want to use as removable media without the fuss of installation (a drive dock). Make sure you match interfaces (IDE or SATA), then enjoy the second life of your old hard drive.