I've just bought MBP 2017 with 128Gb and I'm new to macOS. I know that I can use external HDD or sd-card to store and run apps from it. But I want to buy home NAS. Question is can I configure and use NAS so powerfull and efficient as external HDD or even like 2nd local mount drive? I mean run apps or games from NAS or work with files not downloading to MBP ssd? When I am at home, my connection to NAS would be by ethernet to get the most speed, when I'm outside I have stable 4g-connection.

2 Answers 2


Yes and no.

Can you technically do it? Yes, you can. You can mount a volume on a NAS device in the same way you would an external storage device and offload your data and applications there. They would even run from that volume.

Would you want to? No.

First, just comparing USB 3 with Ethernet, you're opting for a connection that's 1/5 that of USB 3 (Ethernet = 1Gbp/s; USB3 = 5Gbp/s). Then, if you're intending to run this over 4G LTE, you'd be going from 5Gbp/s to 50Mbps - 1/10th the speed. This is not practical in any sense.

Get a high quality external USB drive for supplemental storage and keep it with you; it's cheaper and more practical.

  • Note there are some apps that will not run if not in /Applications but most will
    – mmmmmm
    Mar 11, 2019 at 13:32

I disagree with the answer above to some extent. The answer seems to be predicated on the notion that running an app mounted on a remote device entails continually transferring data to and from this device while you're using the app. But I think of apps as programs that load into memory once when you start using them, and then they allow you to do things, like edit audio, create documents, query databases, view photos, etc. It is true that some apps, like a photo viewer, will send a lot of data back and forth to the disk while you are using them. Even so, where the app's data store is located is logically a separate question from where the app is stored. If an app is data intensive or uses a database (or databases), it should always be configurable, as to where its data is located. In fact, I plan to do exactly what this question asks about with my Mac, because my internal drive is almost full, and I do not like having an external solid state drive hanging off of my Mac book pro when I am using it. Much more convenient to park my large apps, like XWorks, which is huge, on the network. Why not? Because it'll take a whole three seconds to load the binary image into memory before I can start to work? So what. Once the program is in memory, I'm developing code, and only teeny, tiny amounts of data are going back and forth to the disk. So at that point, I don't really care if the app's data is stored locally or on the NAS, although I'm sure I could set it up either way.

So go for it! I say you've got a good ideas. And you get bonuses, as well: maybe a VPN with no subscription fee, maybe a "private cloud", where you can access your files from anywhere without paying a monthly fee for the privilege.

About the only drawback I see for storing your huge apps on the NAS is that you may not (or may, I don't know for sure) be able to run the apps when you're accessing your NAS through the Internet. So say I'm in a hotel room somewhere, and I want to look at some code in XWorks, and suppose that running from the "private cloud" Internet drive that comes with my NAS does not work (probably doesn't). What do I do? Well, since all my heavy weight apps are stored on the NAS and not filling up the internal drive of my Mac Book Pro (which I was told when I bought it is not expandable after-the-fact), I have plenty of room on the internal drive, and I can just download over the hotel WiFi the one or two heavy weight apps I might want to use while traveling (for example, maybe Photoshop, as well as XWorks).

I hope this different perspective might help.

If anyone out there disagrees with me, I am open to your input. Maybe I've overlooked something? I'm not an expert in Xos system administration, because I've used Windows and Linux a lot more--unfortunately in my view, due to work requirements,

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