How to Move Your iPhoto Library to an External Hard Drive

by sicarie on September 30, 2011

Moving your iPhoto library to an external drive is a great way to free up space on your Mac, especially if you have a large library of photos. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to view your photos on your Mac unless you are connected to the external drive. So if you need to access the photos a lot and you can’t always be connected to your external when you do, this option may not be the one for you. However, it’s a great way to make a backup of your iPhoto library in case of a “oh no” moment.

  1. Make sure iPhoto is closed.
  2. Locate your iPhoto Library  found under User/Pictures/iPhoto Library.
  3. Copy the folder by right-clicking or command key and c.
  4. Paste into your external drive. command key and v.
  5.  If you’re not going to want to access the photo’s when not connected to the external drive, go back to the original iPhoto Library and rename it. For example  “iPhoto Library Old.”
  6. Open iPhoto while holding down the “alt” or “option” key and when prompted, select the “iPhoto Library” from your external drive. Or if you did not rename it, choose whether you want to open your external library or the one on your Mac.
  7.  If you’re storing on the external only, once iPhoto loads up all your images from the external, you can go back and delete “iPhoto Library Old”.


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