Compatability for iMacs with Thunderbolt 1 and USB-C hard drives

I have an iMac with Thunderbolt 1 and wanting to connect to an external hard drive with a USB-C port. If I connected the adaptor via the USB-C port of the external hard drive and then used a Thunderbolt 1 to Thunderbolt 1 cable, would I be able to use the drive on this iMac?

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  • Only if the hard drive is a Thunderbolt 3 drive.

    You did not state which hard drive it is, so I cannot answer definitely. The hard drive could be using Thunderbolt 3 or USB.

    If the hard drive is a USB drive, then you should use a USB-A to USB-C cable. If you're using a 2011 iMac (USB 2.0), then this would allow up to 480 Mbps. If you're using a 2012 iMac (USB 3.0), then this would allow up to 5 Gbps. If the hard drive supports USB 3.1 gen 2 (10 Gbps) and can transfer data faster than 5 Gbps, and you want to use that extra speed, then you could connect it to a USB-C port of most Thunderbolt 3 devices that have two USB-C ports. USB 3.1 Gen 2 requires macOS High Sierra. You would have to use the Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter to connect the Thunderbolt 3 device to your iMac, then connect your hard drive to that Thunderbolt 3 device.

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