Best Flash Drive for MacBook Air & MacBook Pro (2024)

This site contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, We earn a commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

As floppy disks fade and CD-ROMs decline, USB Flash Drives are essential in the age of cloud storage. They offer reliable storage offline, for large files, or when the internet is unavailable. 

Our guide helps you choose the best flash drive for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, with maintenance tips.

Key Takeaways:

  • USB Flash Drives are Essential: They provide reliable offline storage for large files or when the internet is unavailable, making them crucial despite the rise of cloud storage.
  • Compatibility with MacBooks: Flash drives are compatible with newer MacBook models, which often feature USB-C ports instead of USB-A.
  • CleanMyMac X provides an automated way to fully uninstall Origin and its associated files.
  • The manual deletion method takes more time but is free, while CleanMyMac X streamlines the process but costs money.

Quick Summary

Best Flash Drive for MacBook Air & MacBook Pro
  • If you’re a forward-thinker who appreciates cutting-edge technology, consider the SanDisk offers 256GB Ultra Dual USB C Drive. This sleek device provides ample storage and seamlessly integrates with newer MacBook models, eliminating the need for dongles. Its dual interface accommodates USB Type-C and Type-A ports, making it highly versatile and future-proof.
  • If you’re looking for as much space as possible at great value and reliability, the PNY Turbo 256GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive gives you a sleek design with 256 GB of storage.
  • Do you need something that will last a while and enough space for your old photos and videos? The Samsung BAR Plus 64GB is durable and includes a keychain attachment, so you don’t lose the drive anytime soon.
  • If you’re seeking a balance between storage capacity, performance, and value, then the Kingston DataTraveler could be your ideal choice. It provides a solid blend of storage space and speed, making it a reliable choice for everyday use.
  • Finally, the Verbatim 256GB Pinstripe USB 3.0 Flash Drive is a top contender for those who appreciate a blend of style and function. Its USB 3.0 interface guarantees faster transfer speeds, while its retractable design protects the USB connector when it’s not in use.

Best USB Flash Drive for MacBook: Top Picks in 2024

1. SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C

SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive with USB Type-C combines high-speed performance, dual USB compatibility, and impressive capacity options, making it a valuable tool for anyone managing a substantial amount of data across various devices.

The progressive design is made for the future and uses USB-C, so you can copy, read, and store files even faster than USB-A 3.0.

The most striking feature of this drive is its dual-sided design. On one end, you have the USB Type-C connector that works seamlessly with modern smartphones, tablets, and laptops that support this interface.

On the opposite end is the traditional USB Type-A connector that ensures compatibility with older devices. This dual functionality truly eliminates the hassle of transferring files between different types of devices.

Speed is another area where the SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive shines. With the USB 3.1 performance, file transfer speeds are swift and smooth.

Whether moving large video files or backing up an extensive photo library, this drive can handle it without a hitch.


  • Dual connectivity allows it to work with a wide range of devices
  • High-speed performance makes it efficient for handling large files and performing backups
  • Available in several capacities, from 32GB up to 1TB


  • The SanDisk Memory Zone app could be more intuitive

2. PNY Turbo Attache 3 USB 3.0 Flash Drive

PNY is a prominent player in the USB flash drive market due to its ability to offer higher-capacity drives at lower costs, making it a tough competitor to beat.

The PNY Turbo Attache USB flash drives can hold up to 512GB of data yet still conveniently fit onto a keychain.

While this much capacity may not be necessary for everyone, the availability of 256GB of storage in such a portable, reasonably-priced device makes it a highly recommended option.

While the read/write speeds are not particularly fast at 185/80 respectively, the USB 3.0 architecture allows for backward compatibility with computers of all ages.

However, with such a large amount of data stored, seeing a more robust build would be ideal.


  • The sliding cover is attached and cannot be lost
  • Read and write speeds are much faster than a USB 2.0 model
  • Has enough space to store thousands of songs or other file types


  • Needs a USB converter to work with the latest MacBooks

3. Samsung BAR Plus USB 3.1 Flash Drive Titan Gray

Samsung continues to impress with the BAR Plus USB 3.1 Flash Drive in Titan Gray, combining style, durability, and performance.

It is clear from the onset that Samsung has taken a premium approach to what could otherwise be a mundane digital storage solution.

The Samsung BAR Plus drive hits all the important points. It’s extremely damage resistant, easily attaches to a keychain so you can keep track of it, and the slim design leaves plenty of space for peripherals in other ports of your MacBook.

This USB 3.1 Flash Drive is no slouch when it comes to performance. It offers read speeds of up to 300 MB/s, which is adequate for most uses, be it transferring large multimedia files or running applications directly from the drive.

With its robust metal body and water-proof, shock-proof, temperature-proof, magnet-proof, and x-ray-proof design, the Samsung BAR Plus promises to keep your data safe under various conditions.

However, it’s worth noting that while it’s resistant to these elements, it’s not completely indestructible.


  • Waterproof, shock-proof, and magnet-proof to keep your data safe no matter what
  • The built-in key ring makes it hard to lose
  • The 64 GB is sufficient data storage space


  • Doesn’t work with MacBooks with type USB C ports unless you have a converter

4. Kingston DataTraveler

The perfect balance of speed, capacity, and design, Kingston DataTraveler is a must-have for anyone who needs to transfer and store large amounts of data on the go.

One of the main selling points of the Kingston DataTraveler Max is its USB 3.2 Gen 2 performance, and it does not disappoint. With read speeds of up to 1,000 MB/s, this USB C flash drive significantly reduces the time it takes to transfer large files.

The 1TB capacity of the DataTraveler Max is a game-changer. For professionals dealing with high-resolution photography, video editing, or data-intensive projects, having this much storage in such a compact device is invaluable.

The design of the DataTraveler Max is sleek, with its zinc alloy casing offering a professional look and a durable build.

The USB-C connector slides into the cover snugly, ensuring it doesn’t get damaged during transport. The integrated keyring loop is a nice touch, making it easy to attach to a keychain or lanyard for quick access.


  • Offers lightning-fast read and write speeds
  • 1TB storage capacity allows storing and transporting vast amounts of data in a compact, portable form
  • Features an integrated keyring loop for easy access


  • More expensive than some competitor flash drives

5. Verbatim 256GB Pinstripe USB 3.0 Flash Drive

The Verbatim 256GB Pinstripe USB 3.0 Flash Drive is a reliable storage device with decent storage capacity and fast transfer speeds.

This flash drive features a simple and elegant design in black color that gives it a professional look. The USB 3.0 interface provides decent data transfer rates of up to 30MB/s read and write, making it an ideal option for those who transfer large files or use it for backup purposes.

The flash drive is compatible with most operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux, and doesn’t require any additional software or drivers for use.

The retractable design of the drive protects the USB connector when it’s not in use, preventing damage or wear and tear. One potential downside to this drive is that it may not fit into all USB ports due to its larger size.


  • Features built-in Microban antimicrobial protection to fight bacteria growth
  • The push-and-pull sliding feature eliminates the need for a separate cap that can be easily lost
  • Has a slim and lightweight design


  • Some users may find the read speed slow

Who Should Buy a Flash Drive for MacBook Air & MacBook Pro?

USBs are almost universal devices, so you don’t have to worry about which ones will or won’t work with your computer unless you have the newer MacBook Pro or Air, which has no USB-A slots.

In that case, you’ll need a USB-C hub or docking station to use most flash drives, or you can purchase a specialty USB-C model.

Beyond that, almost everyone can benefit from having a USB drive on hand. They work on both Macs and PCs without reformatting, so file transfer and backup are very easy.

However, for those who’ve been used to living “in the cloud” (aka, using cloud storage or services for all kinds of files), you probably won’t need a physical disk drive at all.

Useful Tips

A USB flash drive is more than a place to store files. There are tons of fun things you can do with it, as demonstrated in this article from Gizmodo that shows you 10 cool ways to use a flash drive, such as speeding up your computer, applying for a job, making new connections, etc.

Nevertheless, Apple also curated a list of commonly asked questions about connecting USB devices to a Mac.

If you’re out of luck with USB-A ports, Apple has you covered with their USB-C to USB-A dongle (see on Amazon).

This means you’ll be able to use any standard flash drives because the new USB-C port on your computer will be converted to the legacy version for a perfect fit.

Buying a Flash Drive for MacBook: What to Consider

Buying a Flash Drive for MacBook: What to Consider


When you’re storing files, space is everything. Especially since thumb drives aren’t expandable, you’ll want to pick one big enough to encompass your needs for quite a while.

Alternatively, if you like to keep each project separate, buy many small flash drives so you don’t have an excess of space you don’t use.

Check out this article to know what other storage is on a Mac.


The classic USB-A has two variations – 2.0 and 3.0, and you’ll want to get a 3.0 model whenever possible since point 2.0 is fairly outdated, though widely available.

You can also step it up by going for USB-C, which has the new reversible design and doesn’t look like anything you would expect.

It’ll be faster and more efficient, but only newer MacBooks have the MacBook Air ports to use it.


Do you lose things easily if they’re too small, or would you prefer something that fits in your wallet? USB drives can be as small as one joint of your finger or include keyrings or other attachments that make them easier to keep track of.

The size is also relevant when inserting it into your computer — if your USB ports are close together, especially if you already use them regularly, a small flash drive will ensure the other accessories don’t get pushed out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need a flash drive for my MacBook Air or MacBook Pro?

You may need a flash drive for your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro for various reasons. One of the primary reasons for needing a flash drive is to expand your device’s storage capacity. Another reason why you may need a flash drive for your Mac is to transfer files between devices. Using a flash drive to back up important data is also common.

How much storage capacity should I look for in a flash drive?

The storage capacity you should look for in a drive depends on your needs. If you plan on using the flash drive to store large files like videos or high-resolution photos, look for a flash drive with at least 256GB of storage. If you only need to store documents or smaller files, a 64GB or 128GB flash drive may be sufficient.

What interface should I look for in a flash drive for Mac?

You should look for a flash drive with a USB-C interface for compatibility with MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Most newer Mac models do not have traditional USB-A ports; they use USB-C ports. So, checking your device’s specs before buying a flash drive is better.

What read and write speeds should I look for in a flash drive?

Look for a flash drive with at least 100MB/s read and write speeds. Higher read and write speeds can be beneficial for transferring large files quickly. However, you can get a flash drive with lower read and write speeds if you only transfer small files, like documents.

What are some of the best flash drives for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro in 2024?

Some of the best flash drives for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro in 2024 include the SanDisk Ultra Drive, PNY Turbo Attache flash drive, Samsung BAR Plus, Kingston DataTraveler, and Verbatim 256GB Pinstripe USB 3.0. However, your best flash drive may depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Final Words

Choosing the best flash drive for your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro is an essential step in enhancing your overall computing experience.

From backing up your important files to storing extra video games, they’re extremely versatile and reliable. Flash drives can be used for years, and you’re never really done with one unless it becomes corrupted or lost. So, make sure you buy one after careful evaluation.

What do you use your flash drives for the most? Leave a comment and let us know!

About Lorena
Avatar photo
Lorena holds a 13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip. Her role involves editorial management from writing to editing and ensuring that the articles are informative, useful, and relevant to readers who are new to Mac.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Joni K.

    Hi Lorena,
    Thank you for this article. I am still a little lost. I have a MacBook Pro , Retina Mid 2012. I don’t even know what kind of USB’s I have on here. What I need to do is backup my photos so I can then delete them from my laptop. I do need to be able to go in and view them for clarity etc. and decide what to save and delete the rest. So if I buy a flash drive that will backup all my photos, can I then plug it in or not to view in the future? I am so not a tech, sorry. LOL. Also for my 2012 MacBook, what do you suggest I buy as a flash drive? I would get one large enough, not sure exactly how many photos I have but they take up 92GB in my storage now. YIKES!! However, I will not keep all of them once I have time to go through them on the flash drive. I appreciate any suggestions. Thank you, Joni

    • macbookproslow logo

      MPS Team

      Your mid-2012 MacBook Pro comes with USB 3 ports.
      If your goal is to back up the photos, we’d recommend you get an external drive because it’s more reliable than a flash drive and has more storage.
      As long as you format the drive to be a macOS-compatible file system, you should have no problem viewing them in the future.

  • Dorenda

    Thanks for the clear and excellent info!

  • Mac User

    No photos show up when looking at this on a MacBook Air!

    • BoLee

      Do you have the M1 Air? I do too! I have a Samsung one and it seems to disconnect or not read it correctly. If I plug it into my MBP 16, it’s completely fine. It has to do with Mac Silicon if yours is M1.

    • Bette

      I would like to see pictures as well!