USB stick - anything to avoid or get?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by sma1001, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. sma1001 macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2011

    Just bought my MBP yesterday - first ever laptop so it's all new to me. I think i should get one or more USB sticks to back up documents etc that i create on the go. I also want to transfer my itunes from a desktop PC to the MBP (which i assume i can do using a USB?).

    Is there anything to get or avoid here? The chap in the Apple Store talked about some USBs not allowing the MBP to write to them but he used language that went over my head.

    I realise this is a very basic question. :)
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Just look for one with good reviews. Make sure it's not too wide because then you may not be able to access the ports next to the USB port you use. Nowadays there are several sticks that are as small as the one included in MBA so you might want to take a look at those (can keep it connected 24/7 if you want to, doesn't stick out much, e.g. this).

    The guy in the Apple Store most likely meant file formats. Some drives may be formatted as NTFS which can be read by OS X but you cannot write to a NTFS volume (though NTFS-3G fixes this ;)). You can, however, reformat the drive to a format of your choice. FAT32 is the most compatible since Windows and OS X can both read and write it natively but it has 4GB file size limit. If you don't use it to transfer big files such as HD videos, then FAT32 is probably the best if you want to use it with PCs and Macs.
  3. sma1001 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2011
    Thank you. Yes - he did talk about NTFS and FAT32 (that being the bit that went over my head). I know what to look out for now. :)
  4. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    With OS X 10.6.6 and Windows Vista/7 there is also the possibility of ExFAT. It is FAT32 on steroids with the biggest improvement not being limited by 4GB any more! Apart from that any model usb stick will do, even the cheapest one (they're compatible with nearly every OS and even TV's, audiosystems, etc.).

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