I am interested in setting up my home folder and /Applications in another hard drive like you can with Linux.

Is there a way how to do this? I would also like to make sure that it won’t cause any problems on updates/reboots providing I have the external drive connected.


Moving your Applications folder to anyplace BUT "/Applications" can cause issues with certain apps, particularly when it's time to update. It may work with a symlink.

The home folder is much easier. Make a new admin user and log in to that. From there, move your home folder to the location you want. Then open up System Preferences, and click on Users & Groups. Unlock the pane, if locked. Right click on the user who's home folder you are moving and choose "Advanced Options".

From that sheet that slides down, you can choose the new location of that user's home folder.

I've used this in the past to have the OS and Applications folder live on an SSD boot drive, while the home folders live on a larger HDD.

  • If I were to have FileVault enabled with this setup, would this affect boot up? By that I mean would it prevent boot up? – iProgram Mar 21 '18 at 22:18
  • I don't think it would prevent bootup, but I think filevault would only encrypt the boot drive. So the drive with your home folder, and all the data you actually want encrypted, would not be encrypted. What is the actual setup you have, what are you actually trying to accomplish here? – l008com Mar 21 '18 at 22:21
  • I have a fairly new setup (clean install it the other week and mainly only have development tools on my computer). I am wondering if I can store my home folder on an external hard drive as I need more storage. I don’t have FileVault enabled but I may enable it in the future. I also want it to be easy to swap to another computer incase I upgrade it. – iProgram Mar 21 '18 at 22:24
  • Storing the entire home folder on an external sounds like trouble. Couldn't you just keep the home folder local, and manually store larger items on the external, in a more traditional file management scheme? – l008com Mar 21 '18 at 22:26
  • It’s because I want to keep all my projects, ~/Library .bash_profile, .vimrc downloads etc all in an external drive. – iProgram Mar 21 '18 at 22:31

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