A guide for Mac users  

A guide to Mac compatibility in Data Storage with OS X and iOS


Apple Macs and Windows PCs have been the predominant computer platforms for many years now. I think we can all remember the time when Macintosh systems held a significantly smaller share not so long ago but of course that has all changed! Now the battlefield is far more level with Microsoft losing ground all the time (let’s try and forget about Windows Vista). So with the market share being what it is, more and more manufacturers are making their Products MAC compatible. Still, time and time again a New or Old Mac user will ask about whether a device will work within his MacBook environment or what is recommended for those in a wireless iPad to Apple Mac setup.

We put together some of the key Products within each brand of Data Storage that have Mac compatibility, but are also the best of the best in what they do – saving you both time and money. 



      Mac Compatible
  Apple Storage  

First up, let’s talk about Mac Compatible Storage. We want to primarily focus on External, High Capacity Storage Devices. For Mac users working on Photo and Video editing, having a large source of additional storage as a constantly accessible archive is essential. Not just for Photographers and Videographers but indeed anyone with high capacity digital storage needs. All of the units shown below are compatible with an Apple environment and will work together with your existing setup seamlessly.

For those seeking internal storage options, you will find that Hard Drives and SSD are all compatible – though we recommend 3.5” and 2.5” SATA HDD and Solid State Drives, as well as mSATA and m.2 SSD. Take a look at our easy find section here https://www.span.com/find



  Apple and the cloud    Mac Compatible Network Attached Storage  
     Mac users have had a bumpy relationship with NAS over the years. When Network Attached Storage first arrived on the market it was aimed almost exclusively at the Microsoft Windows PC Market – this was largely due to its use in Business applications. However today things are very different and with Apple having a much greater share, many Network-Attached Storage vendors are catering for them. Still, for an effective NAS box, everything from the format of the drives inside upto the Protocols dealing with them as well as OS X, iTunes, Time Machine, AppleTV, and other Apple-specific tools needing to be considered.

Below are the best Mac compatible NAS Devices available today. All are the latest released and most importantly of all are full Mac compatible, upto and including Macbook Pro, MacBook Air, iPhone, iPad, iPod and all the modern-day portable Apple devices.

  Go at 40GB/s with Thunderbolt 3   Apple and Thunderbolt  
By tapping into the performance and protocols delivered over Thunderbolt™ technology, users are free to innovate develop and grow, no longer constrained to the boundaries of the chassis walls. With Thunderbolt™ technology, Apple users can:

• Design standalone performance expansion technologies commonly used in desktops and workstations, using existing native device drivers and interconnected by a single cable.
• Work from thinner and lighter laptops, expandable through Thunderbolt™ technology and be able to user larger more capable devices within their existing setup
• Extend to reach other I/O technologies by using adapters that use widely available PCI Express controllers. It's simple to create a Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire, or eSATA adapter using existing device PCI Express drivers.

Key Features
• Dual-channel 20 and 40Gbps per port
• Bi-directional
• Dual-protocol (PCI Express and DisplayPort)
• Compatible with existing DisplayPort devices
• Daisy-chained devices
• Electrical or optical cables
• Low latency with highly accurate time synchronization
• Uses native protocol software drivers
• Power over cable for bus-powered devices

  Backup with Apple Time Machine   Backup, Backup, BACKUP! With Mac Compatible External Drives  
  You only have to lose all your data ONCE to know the value of a good Portable, External Backup Drive. Backing up everything from iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro, or MacBook should be one your first considerations long before you store a single MB of data. Then as time wears on you’ll have to think about larger capacities in the Terabytes for your Time Machine Backups. More and more Mac users are seeing the virtues of Apple Time Machine and wondering how they survived without it. Just plug in your External Drive (formatted to HFS+) and your Mac OS X will ask if you want to use it primarily as a Time Machine Backup? Say yes, and that it – it will continue doing this in the background all the time.

The connection between your Mac and your Mac Back up can range across a number of connections. Up till relatively recently it was all about Firewire 800. However, Firewire800 has been surpassed by USB 3.1. Gen 2 and Thunderbolt3. The prices of external drives have really come down and there’s really no excuse not to have a solid Backup!

Below are our highest recommended MAC compatible Drives. Available in FW800, USB3.0, Thunderbolt and more.

  Apple and ExpressCards    Make Less More with Express 34 Upgrades  
     Everything is getting smaller! When Apple released the MacBook Pro, they the standard PC Card slot in replaced it with ExpressCard/34. It is a more compact expansion slot with greater transfer speeds and an increasing array of uses they expand constantly. The ExpressCard has numerous advantages over the previous iteration, ranging from being smaller, requiring less power (Just 1.5 volts) and being a lot faster!

Fast forward to 2020 and Express34 has taken a backseat for the most part and although it is by no means teh top end of the market when it comes to ways to make the most of your Mac system, there is still a place for it in legacy devices.

But of course, the main reason that a Mac user invested in ExpressCard34 technology is for expansion. The MacBook Pro has limited connections and via the installation of a simple express 34 card you could add additional USB 3.0, Esata, Gigabit LAN, HDMI, FW800 ports and more. Utilize older MacBook, Mac Pro, iMac, or Mac mini hardware with the implementation of a simple ExpressCard.



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