When you do a movie recording or screen recording, QuickTime stores the in-progress recordings in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX/Data/Library/Autosave Information.

On my machine, I have a fast SSD mounted on /Volumes/SSD but a slow platter drive on /. I'd like to send the autosave files to the SSD. With professional programs like Premiere, you can just set the scratch location, but with QuickTime it seems impossible. However, I really like QuickTime's screen recording feature and would like to use it with my fast SSD.

I tried to ln -s the Autosave directory to point at my SSD, but QuickTime errors out with an "unknown" error after that.

3 Answers 3


A much more robust way to do this is to store your entire user folder on the external drive. This avoids needing terminal and also avoids confusion with symbolic links and them breaking when software doesn't expect to see a link or a system upgrade script touches the Library folder contents.

You could make a second "recording" user to log out of the normal user and have all that user's files on the external drive.

To make a new user on an external drive named "Retina" and to name the user "external", follow these steps:

  • Open Users & Groups
  • Unlock the pane if needed
  • Click the + icon (lower left)
  • Make the new user (I called mine external)
  • Control click on the user name and choose Advanced Options...
  • Look closely at the Home Directory field - you will make a new folder on the external drive named the same "external" as the short name for your chosen user name
  • Click Choose...
  • Navigate to the external drive (Command-Shift-C shows the computer). I use the Command-Shift-N shortcut to make a new folder called Users, then make a second new folder inside the /Volumes/Retina/Users folder named external - the same case as the user's short name.

Then you can use the Apple menu to log out of your current user (or enable fast user switching) to change between the user that has all temp files and recordings to the external drive by logging on to the "external" user account.

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  • Cool, I didn't know about account "advanced options". This is helpful!
    – nneonneo
    Jan 22, 2016 at 20:37
  • Sounds like an incredibly smart fix. Will try it now. Mar 16, 2017 at 16:51

Turns out this is actually possible by employing a double link trick. In the terminal:

$ cd ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX
$ mv Data Data_bak
$ ln -s /Volumes/SSD/QuicktimeScratch DataSSD
$ ln -s DataSSD Data

and voila! This sets up Data as a link pointing to the local DataSSD file, which in turn is a link pointing to the actual SSD scratch location.

QuickTime works fine now, and puts its temp files on my SSD just as I wanted. No more screengrab stutter!

  • 2
    I tried this on OS X 10.10.5. It did not work. Quicktime would crash each time I tried to open it.
    – metaColin
    Jan 22, 2016 at 19:55
  • This works on 10.11.3 -- sure you did a double link ?
    – Tuinslak
    Mar 21, 2016 at 19:06
  • I can confirm it crashes on 10.14.4 May 11, 2019 at 13:39

I know it doesn't answers the question specifically to Quicktime, but the above answers didn't solve the problem for me.

However, using OBS Project (which is free / multi platform) I was able to save/stream it directly to the external hard drive.

You just have to configure it under Settings. enter image description here

And then start recording.

enter image description here

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