Thursday, February 29, 2024
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How to move your Photos library to an external drive in macOS High Sierra

If you’re short on space on your Mac, you can free up a lot of space by moving your Photos library to an external drive. Here’s how to do this in macOS High Sierra:

  • Make sure you have back-ups of your pics.
  • Quit Photos.
  • Copy the Photos Library from your Pictures Folder to an external disk.
  • Hold down the option (or alt) key and launch Photos. From the resulting menu select “Other library” and navigate to the new location.
  • You’ll get a message that says: “This library contains items that need to download from iCloud Photo Library.”
  • Click on delete incomplete items.
  • In the Photos app, go to Preferences and under General, click Use as System Photo Library.
  • Then go to System Preferences > iCloud > Photos > Options, Select iCloud Photo Library to turn that back on.
  • Test the library. When you’re sure all is well, feel free to trash the one on your internal HD to free up space.

(This how-to is based on my experiences and info on Apple’s support pages — where the images sometimes come from.)


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Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.