I have an old Apple IIc (not Plus) and an old Macintosh Plus (1MB RAM). I want to buy an external 3.5 inch floppy drive that works on both machines, that way I don't need two different drives around my house. I prefer it to accept 800K disk drive (400K is also fine). Both of the machine have the same external floppy port. A search on Wikipedia gives me 2 options that seems to work on both machine (according to what the page says about them):

1.Macintosh 800K External Drive

2.Apple 3.5" Drive

Does any one of these works for both the Apple IIc and the Macintosh?

  • The problem is the processor in the Iic is not fast enough to handle the bitrate of the Apple 3.5. The Unidisk 3.5 has additional buffering electronics to make it work on slower machines. This is not required when using the faster Iic Plus, IIgs, or Mac.
    – Brian H
    Apr 24, 2017 at 15:52
  • 1
    With the words "Apple" and "compatible" in the same sentence, this is clearly not a question about the modern computer company with the same name!
    – alephzero
    Apr 24, 2017 at 21:35
  • @alephzero These days Thunderbolt/USB-C is what everyone else is converging towards. Compatible indeed. Mar 20, 2019 at 21:06

2 Answers 2


According to Vintage Macintosh, the only 3.5” drive the Apple IIc is compatible with is the Unidisk 3.5” (perhaps with a ROM upgrade — the first Apple IIc ROM didn’t support Smartport disks, including the Unidisk). But the Mac Plus isn’t compatible with the Unidisk.

The Apple 3.5” drive is compatible with the IIc+ and the IIgs (which isn’t much help for you), as well as the Mac Plus. The M0131 (Macintosh 800K external drive) is only compatible with Macs.

(Thanks to Nick Westgate for the ROM upgrade info.)

  • 1
    To be specific about the ROM upgrade (because the link about it from Vintage Macintosh is dead), if the Apple //c is ROM 255 it needs an upgrade to support the Unidisk 3.5. More info here. Apr 24, 2017 at 21:03

I know you're looking for an actually mechanical floppy drive, but BMOW's Floppy Emu works with both the Mac Plus and the Apple IIc.

  • 3
    If necessary, Floppy Emu could be connected to a physical drive using an SD-card emulator. Disclaimer: this way leads to madness.
    – wizzwizz4
    Apr 24, 2017 at 16:52
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    Floppy Emu contains an SD card and appears as a physical floppy drive (or hard drive) for the Apple II and early Macs, so not quite sure what you mean. I use one with a Mac Classic II, and while it's not very fast, it works, and it's likely got a lot more life in it than old Apple SCSI hard drives and 3½" floppies.
    – scruss
    Apr 24, 2017 at 18:25
  • 2
    You could create an SD-to-wires adapter, then attach said wires to a microcontroller. The microcontroller will implement the SD card emulation. On another data pin of the microcontroller, attach one / two wire(s) to act as a serial adapter. On the other end of the wire(s) attach another microcontroller, this one implementing filesystem (FAT16?) emulation, and talking to the floppy drive controller. So simple. (Did I forget to say madness?)
    – wizzwizz4
    Apr 24, 2017 at 18:56
  • 4
    @wizzwizz4 you might as well just connect the floppy drive to the micro-controller, and the micro-controller to the floppy connector on the computer — no need for a Floppy Emu in between... Apr 24, 2017 at 21:07

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