WD Elements Review Title Image

MacTakeAwayData Rank – 8 stars out of 10


When your Mac’s internal drive is tight on space and you know you need to get some stuff off loaded.

Plus you must get a backup sorted.

But you’re short on cash.

Is a WD Elements Portable external hard drive the smart choice for you and your Mac?

WD Elements Pros

  • You’ll find the WD Elements drive is a bargain when you’re on a budget
  • WD quality. Lots of happy users so you can relax in your choice
  • Fast enough for when you just need a place to put your documents or do a backup

WD Elements Cons

  • You’ll be buying a basic drive with no extra add-ons
  • No direct USB C connectivity. You’ll need to get yourself an adaptor for your new Mac
  • You’ll discover it’s NTFS formatted. So, you’ll have to format it first for your Mac. And that’s easy to do.

Western Digital Elements Review Verdict

A WD Element external drive for your Mac. Is buying one a good idea?

You’ll agree that the answer to that question is a resounding yes!

It’s won the MacTakeAwayData vote for best external hard drive.

A fantastic hard drive. You find the 2TB sized WD Elements hits the sweet spot. Plenty of capacity for your Time Machine backups or your movies. It’s a best seller and is great value for your money.

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. And at no extra cost to you. This site earns commissions through image links, Amazon button and text links should you buy.

Recommended Drive: WD Elements Portable

WD Elements Flat

Why not View the price on Amazon of the 2TB WD Elements Portable

YouTube Video Of The WD Elements Portable Hard Drive

While you’re reviewing the WD Elements drive for your Mac why not take a look at it?

This quick to watch 42 second video will give you a taster for the Elements drive.

WD Elements Portable | Official Product Overview

Video Credit: WD

A WD Elements Review For You The Mac Owner

An At A Glance Table On The Western Digital Elements

Storage Space1TB and 2TB
Drive Size4.35 in by 3.2 in by 0.6 in
Weight0.29 lb.
Storage Space3TB, 4TB and 5TB
Drive Size4.4 in by 3.3 in by 0.83 in
Weight0.52 lb.

Not sure which size of Elements drives to choose? Why not take a look at my article that guides you through the steps to picking an external hard drive.

What Is WD Elements?

WD Elements is an entry level basic drive in Western Digital’s range of external hard disk drives.

Perfect when you’ve run out of space on your computer. And haven’t got the cash to splash on flashy drives.

WD Elements Portable Review Of Features And Benefits For A Mac

When you’ve run out of space on your older Mac’s internal hard drive. Or even your newer Mac’s internal SSD.

And need somewhere reliable to put your documents, photos and music. Or you just need a drive for backing up your Mac with Time Machine. 

You’ll find your WD Elements drive efficient and will get that all done for you. And would be the drive your Mac would choose.

WD Elements External Hard Drive Is NTFS Formatted

And this means for you as a Mac owner, if you just plug in this drive your Mac will view it as read only.

You can use this drive on your Mac quickly and simply by formatting it.

It’s something you can do. You’ll find it quick and easy.

But a bit techie to do.

Put off by that? Don’t be.

It takes mere minutes.

You can find out how here.

Your other alternative is to look for a drive that is already in a format your Mac can read and write to. Like the WD My Passport Ultra. But then that will cost more money. And you’ll lose out on using this great bargain priced drive.

Then see where the WD Elements features on our list of the Best External Hard Drives for Mac.

Do You Need A Power Plug On The WD Elements?

No because you’ll find this WD Elements powered by its USB cable.


As it means there’s no extra cable for you to remember to carry about. No extra cable to put in your backpack or purse.

WD Elements Plugged In

WD Elements Is an External USB 3.0 Hard Drive

What does that mean?

USB is an international standard. It’s a standard that sets how your Mac and other computers talk to external storage.

And because the USB standard insists on backwards compatibility. You’ll be able to plug your WD Elements drive into your older Mac’s 2.0 USB port. And your older Mac uses the drive at USB 2.0 speed.

When You Have A Newer Mac

MacBooks and iMac’s from 2016 and later have USB 3.1 or USB-C ports. (also known as a Thunderbolt port.)

Again thanks to USB compatibility. Your newer Mac talks to your WD Elements drive just fine at USB 3.0 speed. You’ll need to order yourself either an USB C adaptor cable or a plug adaptor for your Mac’s USB port.

These adaptor cables are easy to get on-line.  

If you want to know more about hooking up to your generation of Apple Mac. Then take a look at my article here. It takes a run through of the many generations of Mac and the connections available to them.

WD Elements Flat

WD Elements Looks

Yes, I know as a Mac owner you like your tech to look good.

The Elements portable drive isn’t going to turn many heads. As a basic hard drive, it’s pretty plain looking. Matt black plastic slightly darker round the chamfered edges. Its look is functional and smart. No shiny plastic to show up fingerprints.

There’s nothing here to give offence.

You’ll find this Western Digital handsome enough for what you want to do.

WD Elements Capacity, Size And Weight

You’ll find it’s not the smallest drive on the market. But if you want decent capacity at a size that’ll fit in your hands. Then you have it here.

1TB and 2TB storage capacity drive sizes are 4.35 in by 3.2 in by 0.6 in.

And weigh in at a shade under half a pound at 0.29 lb.

You’ll find it’ll tuck into a bag alongside your Mac. And it won’t weigh down your backpack.

3TB, 4TB and 5TB storage capacity drives are a bit larger and heavier at 4.4 in by 3.3 in by 0.83 in.

You can still very easily pick up those larger capacity drives in your hands. And they’re a little over the half pound mark at 0.52 lb.

You’ll find the WD Elements’ convenient size makes it perfect for those of you who study. Or for you if you’re a work from home businessman or woman and you want a hard drive that is practical and handy.

Your WD Elements Is Portable But Don’t Drop

Yes, you’ll find your WD Elements handy enough to take with you in your messenger bag or briefcase. Even in a large pocket.

But remember this drive has moving parts and is not a rugged drive.

Just as you wouldn’t drop your MacBook on the floor and expect it to be fine. You drop this Elements Portable drive and you’ll cause damage. And you could lose all you have on your drive.

Do think about buying a good protective carrying case when you buy this drive if you’re going to take it with you.

User Feedback On Your WD Elements

You can feel secure because your WD Elements Portable has over 4,000 customer reviews on Amazon.

And most of those rate the Elements drive as Excellent to Very Good.

But take a look for yourself.

Click on this link to go through to the Amazon WD Elements sales page. You then can scroll down to bottom of the page where you’ll find the reviews. (Commissions Earned)

Use the radio buttons to select the latest reviews.

Western Digital Elements Review Of Drive Speed

Taking a look at the 2 TB hard drive the sequential read speed is 105 MB/second. Sequential write is the same.  On the 4k Random read speed the Elements drive comes in at 0.9 MB/s. About 30% faster than its 1TB buddy.

On the 4K Random write test it’s able to write at 2.45 MB/s. A little faster at 7% faster than the 1 TB external hard drive.

For an entry level hard disk drive. This is perfectly fine for copying files to and from your Mac’s internal drive. Drag and dropping as well as for Time Machine backups.

WD Elements Has No Frills But Does That Matter?

Your WD Elements drive has none of the frills you’ll see on the premium drives from Western Digital.

You’ll find no hardware password protection. Hardware drive encryption.

But do you need those frills?

And if you do … well you have a Mac.

Your Mac operating system will add password protection to your drive. As well as Mac encryption for your backup.  

As a Mac user you really have little to worry about from that point of view. So go ahead and buy this basic drive.

What Is In The WD Elements Box?

  • You’ll find the WD Elements Portable hard drive
  • About an 18 inch USB 3.0 cable
  • The Quick Start Guide.

The quick start guide is very basic and only covers the minimum you need to connect up your drive.

Want To See A WD Elements Unboxing YouTube Video?

This quick 1 minute 50 second video shows you what’s in the box.

Feel free to check it out.

WD 2TB Elements Portable External USB Hard Drive

Video Credit: Peter Von Panda

Other Western Digital Drives To Consider

Looking for some other suggestions?

WD Elements is a very similar drive to the WD Elements SE in looks and capacity. The SE being just a shade smaller in size.

If you like the WD Elements look but want a much faster drive. – A portable SSD.  Then WD Elements SE SSD could be for you with its 480GB, 1TB and 2TB solid state capacity drives.

Moving up the Western Digital hard drive range. You could consider the WD My Passport drive. You’ll find a side by side compare of the WD Elements v My Passport drives.

Your Portable WD Elements’ Warranty

You’ll buy your WD Elements external hard drive with 2 years limited warranty.

You’ll find it a reasonable length of warranty for this kind of portable drive and good value for money

In Closing

I hope you enjoyed reading this review of the WD Elements.

Your Western Digital Elements drive may not be the most glamorous looking of external hard drives. When compared to your Mac, which is of course stylish and beautifully formed.

That said what the Elements Portable does it does well. And you’re getting WD quality.

Is it your smart choice for your Mac. Yes.

And is why Mac users have bought this drive in droves.

While you’re here, take a look at some other articles on the site. All about your WD Elements external hard drive.

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