Toshiba Canvio Advance for Mac (the View from a Mac User)

By Paul Gregory / February 23, 2019
Toshiba Canvio Advance

​MacTakeAwayData Rank

The Toshiba Canvio Advance was announced and released to the market in February 2018 when Toshiba renewed their portable hard drive line up. The Canvio Connect II was replaced with the Canvio Advance.

Let me show you how this external hard drive stacks up, when viewed by a Mac user.

Toshiba Canvio Advance Pros

  • ​Clean design with bright color finishes
  • ​Reasonable performance
  • ​Shock protection and ramp loading technology to help protect the Canvio Advance


  • ​​The outer casing's piano gloss finish is a fingerprint magnet
  • ​​For a Mac owner the Canvio Advance NTFS preformatting means the hard drive will need to be formatted on a Mac before it can be written to or used with Time Machine. Easy enough to do
  • Times Circle
    ​The downloadable software Auto Backup and Password Protection are Windows only
  • Times Circle
    ​Thunderbolt connectivity requires an adaptor


​The Canvio Advance is the mid range offering in the latest Toshiba line up which starts with the Canvio Basics and has the Canvio Premium at the top end.

 Though in many ways the Canvio Advance when compared to the Canvio Basics, is still a basic drive. You do get a nicer looking drive and if that's important to you as a Mac user or indeed a PC user then step up to the Toshiba Canvio Advance.

​Toshiba Canvio Advance
Toshiba Canvio Advance Red

​Toshiba Canvio Advance 2TB

​Your Canvio Advance will need a protective case. My favorites for the Canvio Advance are the ​Lacdo Waterproof EVA shockproof carrying case​ or the ​AmazonBasics External Hard Drive Case​.

Comparing the Canvio Advance and the Canvio Premium

​During the ​Toshiba February 2018 announcement the Canvio Premium was also refreshed.

I thought you may be interesting in a comparison of the Toshiba Canvio Advance, Toshiba's mid range offering with their more expensive Toshiba Canvio Premium drive to see what else you get for your extra dollars.

​Canvio Premium

  • ​Available Drive sizes 1TB, 2TB, 3TB
  • ​Case Colors ​Aluminum or Graphite
  • ​Initial File format NTFS and HFS+ for Mac version
  • ​USB Connections: ​USB-C Adaptor
  • ​Warranty 3 Years

The high end casing on the Canvio Premium external hard drive is either in Aluminum or a Graphite finish and a USB-C adaptor is provided. Making it easier to connect to the newer 2017 and later Mac with Thunderbolt ports.

Although USB-C adaptors are easy enough to purchase, order one at the same time you buy your Canvio Advance and you can also plug straight into a newer Mac's USB-C port.

On the for Mac version of the Canvio Premium HFS+ preformatting allows you to plug straight in and use on a Mac.

However, formatting to HFS+ on the Canvio Advance is easily done. The extra years warranty is a nice to have and worth paying for.

Plugging The Canvio Advance into a Mac

​The Canvio Advance takes its power from your Mac's USB port. There is no separate power supply needed. The cable provided is a USB 3.0 cable and as long as your Mac's battery is charged there will be enough power to use the external hard drive.

The USB cable provided with the Toshiba Canvio Advance has a USB type A connection at the end that goes into the Mac and a USB type Micro B at the end that connects to the hard drive.

Canvio Advance USB Micro B Port

Canvio Advance USB Micro B Port

The USB standard does allow for backwards compatibility between the standards. So the latest USB-C will support a USB 3.0 device on the port.

Let's take a Macbook as an example. Macbooks since 2017 have been sold with USB-C ports, these ports look different and use a different connector to USB 3.0 but they are still compatible. You just need an adaptor.

e.g. an adaptor with USB-C at one end and USB A at the other or

a USB 3.0 cable with the right ends on it.

e.g. a USB 3.0 cable with USB-C connections at one end and USB micro B at the other to go straight into the Toshiba Canvio Advance drive.

All easily sourced on line and from Amazon.  

​The ​AmazonBasics USB Type-C to Micro B 3 foot cable​ is a good example of such a cable.

​And it is longer than the default cable provided with the Canvio Advance meaning that you can have more flexibility on where you place the hard drive compared to where you like to use your Mac.

This is all very similar to the Canvio Connect II the Advance replaces.

Once you have the drive physically connected to your Mac you now need to format the drive so that you can use on your Mac.

Before that I'll tell you why

Toshiba Canvio Advance White

Toshiba Canvio Advance White

NTFS On a Mac

​NTFS is a file system set up that Windows PCs understand by default, hence all the literature saying this drive is 'plug and play'

Yes on a PC but not quite on a Mac and for some reason manufacturers want to charge a bit of a premium for hard drives preformatted for Macs. But with a little know how you don't have to fall for that.

When you plug in the Toshiba Canvio Advance your Mac will recognize the drive is connected, but not in a format the Mac can write to and will offer you a choice. Do you want to use the attached drive with Time Machine?

If you say yes your Mac will go ahead, reformat the drive to something called HFS+ (also known as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system), and after a few minutes the drive will be ready for you to use and hook up to Time Machine or put your files onto.

If you say no, your Mac is able to read the Canvio Advance's hard drive and any files that are on there, you can copy them off to your Mac and use them there.

You will not be able to write to the drive.

This is useful if you are mainly using the drive on a PC and just want to copy the occasional file to the Mac.

If you want the drive mainly to use on your Mac then a piece of software called Disk Utility is there to allow you to do this.

Toshiba Canvio Convenient Size

Toshiba Canvio Convenient Size

Disk Utility on a Mac

​Should for whatever reason your Mac not offer to automatically reformat the Canvio Advance when you plug it in or you want a bit more flexibility than just straight formatting the whole drive to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system then starting up Disk Utility is the thing to do.

Particularly if you purposely want a large drive that you can share between Macs or between Macs and a Windows PC. Disk Utility also allows you to create areas - a section of the drive dedicated to particular tasks.

The sections are known as partitions.

Let me outline some examples.

  • You can have a partition to drag and drop or copy and paste to dedicated to specific types of files. Say your photos or videos.
  • Have a partition where you share files between a Mac and a PC.
  • A partition for your Mac's backups with Time Machine.

I have easy to follow instructions on the site that tells you how.

Formatting an external hard drive on your Mac​.

and or sharing the Canvio Advance between a Mac and a Windows PC​.

Toshiba Canvio Advance YouTube Video

​Toshiba produced a ​all around the Canvio Advance. Why not take a look at this one minute 32 second video.

Toshiba Canvio Advance Portable Hard Drive

​Video Credit: Toshiba TAEC

Benefits of the Toshiba Canvio Advance

Canvio Advance First Look

Similar to its predecessor the Canvio Connect II the Canvio Advance is available in fashionable colors. Described as the 'Contemporary' version it is available in

Black, Blue, Red and White in a finish Toshiba describes as piano gloss.

Toshiba Canvio Advance Range of Colors

Toshiba Canvio Advance Range of Colors

A high gloss finish on the top and matt on the bottom.

A gloss finish that although looks good, may well see you constantly cleaning your fingerprints off.

There is a circular LED that lights up when the hard drive is in operation and the words Toshiba in white along one side.

The Canvio Advance is shown on the same page as the Connect II on Amazon. The Canvio Advance is identified as the 'Contemporary' version. Model numbers are;

  • HDTB410XK3AA for 1TB
  • HDTB420XK3AA for 2TB
  • HDTB330XK3CB for 3TB

The Canvio Advance Size

​Canvio Advance 1TB & 2TB

​Canvio Advance 3TB

​4.3 in wide x 3.1 in long x 0.55 in deep

​4.3 in wide x 3.1 in long x 0.77 in deep

​Just a shade - 0.25 of an inch smaller in depth than its predecessor the Toshiba Canvio Connect II and the same size as the entry level model of the range the Canvio Basics (1TB and 2TB).

Interestingly the Canvio Basics 3TB is 0.2 of an inch wider and 0.5 of an inch deeper than the Canvio Advance's 3TB drive.

Canvio Advance Weight

​The Canvio Advance weighs in at 

​Canvio Advance 1TB & 2TB

​Canvio Advance 3TB

​​5.28 oz

​7.4 oz

​Comparing this again to its predecessor the Canvio Connect II is 5.8 oz. Its smaller brother the Canvio Basics is the same weight pretty much at 5.3 oz yet the 3TB drive is certainly heavier at 8.11 oz.

Also looking at the Canvio Connect II?

​And want to know how the two stack up. Particularly when there are still supplies of the Canvio Connect II available to buy.

I have compared the two and you can look at my article 'Toshiba Canvio Connect II vs Canvio Basics Which for Mac' to see how they stack up. ​

What do those who have bought the Canvio Advance Think?

​Lots of good reviews on Amazon and the rare though inevitable shipping problem or dead on arrival problem.  The good news is the 2 year warranty has you covered.

I've provided a link below so that you can go onto the sales page and check on the Amazon reviews. Scroll down to the bottom, choose the star rating you would like to have a look at, click through to select the most recent reviews.

​I suggest viewing the most recent reviews as the previous Toshiba Canvio Connect II reviews are also on that sales page, presumably so that the Canvio Advance didn't start life with zero reviews. An interesting sales tactic.

This means that the Toshiba Advance ones will mainly be from February 2018 onwards when the drive was released to the market.

Toshiba Canvio Advance Inbuilt Protection

​I like that the Toshiba external hard drive range offer some level of protection against the odd knock or bump with their proprietary internal shock sensor and ramp loading technology. The Toshiba Canvio Advance is no exception.

Don't forget these are mechanical drives not solid state drives and they have moving parts. Knocks and shakes cause drive errors and even your external hard drive to fail eventually.

This technology will only offer some protection against the mildest mishaps that can befall your drive. The Canvio Advance is not a rugged external hard drive solution. It is best to use the Canvio Advance hard drive on a flat stable surface and protect the drive in transit and storage with a protective case.

I like the Lacdo Waterproof EVA shockproof carrying case or the AmazonBasics External Hard Drive Case for the Canvio Advance.

The Auto Backup and Password Protection

​The downloadable software from Toshiba. I have one word - Don't. Don't bother downloading if you are a Mac user as these pieces of software wont work. On a Mac you have included software - Time Machine for backup and

Disk Utility that allows you to encrypt and password protect your external hard drive. Use those, they work for your Mac.

Toshiba Canvio Advance Red

Toshiba Canvio Advance Performance

​The hard drive performs reasonably well for a 5400 rpm laptop type drive.

In testing 136 mb/s file transfer speed was observed which good for this type of drive and

On the small file transfer test 133 mb/s write and 153 mb/s read was observed.

Warranty on the Toshiba Canvio Advance

​The same as its forerunner the Canvio Connect II and the current Canvio Basics, two years warranty is offered. This meets with the industry standard on these 2.5 inch portable laptop type external hard drives.

Last Words

​I hope you enjoyed my article 'Toshiba Canvio Advance for Mac, the view from a Mac User'. As a Mac user I find this external hard drive capable and up to the task of storing files, music, photos and your Mac's backups and I hope you do to.

Click here to add a comment

Leave a comment: