5 best cross platform external hard drives [2021 Guide]

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Passionate about all elements related to Windows and combined with his innate curiosity, Ivan has delved deep into understanding this operating system, with a specialization in drivers and driver troubleshooting. When he's not tackling... Read more
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Cross platform external hard drives

An external hard drive is one of the must-have accessories that has become almost imperative in this age of computing. Unlike flash drives, external hard drives are perfect for file or system backup due to their size.

Mentioned here are some of the best cross-platform external hard drives that you can really depend on day and night.

Also, as already mentioned, the hard drives are perfectly compatible with both Macs and Windows devices, so you should be able to use them on any platform.

What are the best cross-platform external hard drives?

WD 2TB Elements

  • Fast data transfer rates
  • High capacity
  • Universal connectivity
  • Increased portability
  • Affordable option
  • Questionable USB cables

Finding the best cross-platform external hard drive isn’t an easy task. To narrow down your searches, let us tell you more about the WD 2TB Elements portable external hard drive.

Note from the very start that we are talking about USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 compatibility, as well as incredibly fast data transfers.

Moreover, the price is great if you don’t want to go too expensive, but you know that compromising on quality isn’t ideal either.


Toshiba Canvio Flex

  • Increased compatibility
  • USB-C ready
  • Versatile design
  • Includes USB-C and USB-A cables
  • Warranty of 3-years
  • Not the most sturdy build

The Toshiba Canvio Flex 4TB portable external hard drive should also be worthy of your attention. Let us tell you that it is designed for PC, Mac, and tablets.

With a versatile design and USB-C and USB-A cables included, it can meet most of your demands. As users confirm, it has an excellent read/write performance.

Even more, it is very easy to encrypt with Windows BitLocker or similar tools. As for the 3-year manufacturer’s limited warranty, it’s an advantage to take into consideration as well.


MaxOne 1 TB ultra-slim

  • Advanced cooling system inside
  • Powered by USB 3.0 technology
  • No software installation needed
  • Merely 0.4 inches thick
  • Eye-catching design
  • Incompatibly issues with Dell laptops

This MaxOne 1TB ultra-slim model comes as a portable hard drive that is compatible with Mac, Windows, Xbox One, PS4, and so on.

The sleek and stylish design is a nice surprise. As for the all-aluminum anti-scratch enclosure, it keeps this external hard drive running cool and quiet.

No less important, note that it allows for high-speed data transfer via USB 3.0 while having support for USB 2.0 as well.


Fantom Drives 2TB

  • USB 3. 0 connection
  • High-quality aluminum
  • Cool and quiet operation
  • Additional space for MacBook Pro, PC, PS4, and Xbox One
  • Extra year available with registration
  • Power cable issues

This 7200 RPM hard drive coupled with USB 3.0 support is an ideal choice if you want truly breezy data transfer rates.

That said, the hard drive supports USB 2.0 as well and is compatible with Mac, Windows, PS4, and Xbox One. Give it a try and you’ll see that it is an easy to use plug and play external hard drive.

As for the aluminum casing and the stylish build, they both make the hard drive quite a looker too.


Buffalo DriveStation Axis Velocity

  • Extremely fast file transfers
  • USB 3. 0 PC compatible
  • Compatible w/ Mac after formatting
  • Optional 256-bit AES hardware encryption
  • Time Machine support
  • Less user-friendly tech support

Besides having support for both Mac and Windows devices, the Buffalo external hard drive also boasts of a 256-bit AES encryption feature as well.

The hard drive which includes a 7200 RPM disk is USB 3.0 and 2.0 compatible too. And thanks to the fanless design, it will sit quietly on your desk.

Moreover, don’t leave aside the fact that it comes with both Turbo PC and TurboCopy to enhance file transfer performance.


There you go, some of the best cross-platform external hard drives that you can use on almost any platform. Let us know your choice in the comments area below.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Installing Windows OS on an external hard drive isn’t a complicated task. Just make sure to choose one of the best encrypted external hard drives, assuming that safety remains a priority.

  • For a precise answer, don’t hesitate to take a closer look at the best cross-platform external hard drives list.

  • They last up to five years. In order to sanitize your hard drive and increase this number, make sure to use the best deep clean hard drive software.

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