I have a 120 GB SSD on my Mac and it is almost 90% full. I have another 500 GB external hard drive and I want to install some big applications to that hard drive so it does not occupy space of SSD.

I tried to move apps directly from Application to the external drive but I think some files remain on the SSD.

  • 1
    You can't move all applications, but moving large ones is very effective. Also, what is the sum total of all Applications? You might need to move data files as they typically are the ones you can move to free up tens of GB as opposed to hundreds of MB
    – bmike
    Sep 15, 2015 at 17:54

3 Answers 3


You can use an external HDD to install and run applications there. Make sure they support USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt. I use Mathematica on mine and it works fine. The preferences files will remain on your internal disk but they are very small.


What kind of Mac is this? I installed an SSD + spinning HD in my macbook pro by removing the optical drive. Then I combined them into a fusion drive as described here. This offers a nice combination of speed + capacity. Note: you would need to backup your current drive and restore to the new fusion volume if you do this.


Apps store their data in various locations, not just within something.app in /Applications. For example /Library/Preferences and ~/Library/Preferences. To completely move everything that has to do with an arbitrary app, I'd do this:

  • Global search by the name of the app on source drive. I use Find Any File.
  • For Move each resource that comes up in the search to the destination drive
  • Create symbolic links from the source location to the destination using the ln command.
  • why was this answer downvoted?
    – MikroDel
    Feb 5, 2017 at 23:29

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