My iPhoto and iTunes library is taking up most of the space in my 128GB SSD MBP.

I'm considering to buy a mac mini to store all of my media for iPhoto and iTunes libraries and sync a few of my favourite playlists/events to my MBP.

Is this possible? If not, is it better to just buy a 'Little Big Disk' and store everything there and back it up via my Time capsule(can this be done too?)?

  • Is what possible? What do you mean by "better"? What features are you looking for? – Daniel Nov 9 '11 at 4:03

Unfortunately you can't easily do Mac-to-Mac syncing of iTunes libraries in that manner. Your best options for networked iTunes access are:

  • iTunes Library Sharing: put your library on the server, and you can get streaming access from your MBP. Downsides: no remote/offline access, you need to be on the same network as the server; all media/playlist management has to be done on the server.
  • iTunes Home Sharing: same streaming access as above, but you can also copy files from the server to your MBP. Downsides: it's not syncing, you need to manually select and transfer the songs you want.
  • Store iTunes Library on a Network Share: change the iTunes folder location (Advanced section in the iTunes Preferences) to a shared network drive on the server (or any shared drive, doesn't have to be a Mac). This gets you local control of the library, just like any standard functions. Downsides: have to be on the local network to get access.

    • With this option you could make a second library (option-click iTunes when you open it) on the local drive with a smaller collection of songs you want for off-network access, but again, you don't have any syncing abilities, you have to manually add what you want.

I don't know that much about iPhoto sharing, I think it's more limited, but you can always put the iPhoto Library on a network share, as in the third option above, with the same limitations. There's also iCloud's Photo Stream, which is fairly limited, but may work if you just want to get recent photos from point A to B.

  • With keeping the library on a library share or home share, will my iPhone be able to sync the music to be brought around? I'm happy to keep my MBP's library free of music as long as I can sync them to my phone. – Azeworai Oct 19 '11 at 9:36
  • I was considering to use a portable external drive to keep both the iPhoto library and iTunes library so if I need access I can just plug it in. The thing is, having that data on an external drive my mean it is more prone to damage/loss. I thought if an external can handle it and be backed up when I'm home via time capsule I'd have a nice solution that allows me to carry all my data with me whilst keeping my MBP's hdd free from the itunes/iphoto libraries. Do you have any input for this? Thanks for replying btw, much appreciated – Azeworai Oct 19 '11 at 9:39
  • With Library/Home Sharing you'll sync your iPhone to the server, which is a lot less of a hassle now thanks to wi-fi syncing (although you'll still need one initial sync via USB to the server). – robmathers Oct 19 '11 at 18:02
  • As for keeping the libraries on an external drive, that works fine, the only major concern is if the drive gets accidentally disconnected while you're doing something with the library. There's the potential for corruption, but honestly I wouldn't worry too much about that. If you try to open up iTunes or iPhoto without it connected, they'll just prompt you to start a new library. The external is definitely a viable solution. – robmathers Oct 19 '11 at 18:04

Don't yet have a solution for iPhoto, but check this shiznit out - Requires iTunes Match


  1. Move your iTunes library to an external HD
  2. Create a second profile on your Macbook (NO NEW COMPUTER NEEDED!) - Let's call this profile "iTunes Host"
  3. Log into iTunes Host.
  4. Open iTunes, direct it to your external HD for your library (better info about how to do this available online)
  5. Set up iTunes Match
  6. Go to Profile 1. Delete connection to iTunes Library (again, look online for best info)
  7. Connect to iTunes Match

Voila! You now have access to your entire iTunes Library with just an $100 external HD.

  • Why does this need a second account (profile)? – nohillside Jun 12 '13 at 23:22

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