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I would like to save some space on my laptop and to do so I was thinking of moving my Pictures folder on an external hard drive. As OSX doesn't want me to mess around with the main folders in my home, how can I do this and is it safe to do so?

(this follows from my original question, which was closed as it wasn't a real question can I point one of the User core folders to an external hard drive?)

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What you can do is to move iPhoto folder if this is the App that you use to manage your pictures. It's quite easy to do. – Rabskatran Dec 27 '12 at 12:11
yeah, I'm aware of that. However I wonder whether it's not just easier to create a symlink and deal with the issue once and for all. – John Salvatierrez Dec 27 '12 at 20:03

As Rabskatran pointed out, you can move your iPhoto Library if iPhoto is your primary photo manager. Or Aperture, it doesn't matter in this case.

Also, before we start, I would suggest you NOT to move your Pictures folder as it might mess with the structure of the system.

Anyway, here are the steps:

  1. Close iPhoto if open,
  2. Go to your Pictures folder,
  3. Move that folder named as iPhoto Library to your external disk,
  4. Make sure that the transfer is FULLY finished,
  5. Open iPhoto while holding down the alt key on your keyboard,
  6. From the pop-up Finder browser, choose your iPhoto Library on your external disk.

This way you transferred your iPhoto library to your external disk and made iPhoto to directly open up with your photo libraries new place.

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thanks for your detailed explanation, but this does not answer my question (you might want to have a look at the original question I asked…). Also, could you elaborate on your comment where you write "it might mess with the structure of the system". thanks. – John Salvatierrez Dec 28 '12 at 23:01
Other things on the system would expect the Pictures folder to be at it's present place. There might come a time that some other program would fail because you moved it. A symbolic link might work but then again, it's wise NOT to move it. – Can Sürmeli Dec 30 '12 at 18:08

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