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As I'm planning to install an SSD into my iMac with smaller capacity than the internal Fusion Drive its replacing, I will need to symlink my Movies, Music and Pictures folders to an external mains powered USB 3.0 desktop hard drive, plus store my Steam games library on the same external drive.

I'm running macOS 10.15.4 (Catalina) on a late-2012 iMac.

What are the pros and cons of using APFS vs HFS+ for the external drive?

  • "...with smaller capacity than the internal Fusion Drive its replacing, " Did something happen to the internal drive? Symlinking to external drives, especially USB, is problematic. – Allan Apr 29 at 21:13
  • If it is a boot drive Catalina, I believe, requires APFS. – Steve Chambers Apr 29 at 22:31
  • The SSD in the Fusion Drive has failed SMART verification. It's still usable for now but in expectation of complete failure I've destroyed the container and am currently using the 3TB HDD of the Fusion Drive to boot the system and store data. In what ways is symlinking to USB drives problematic? – Richard Brockbank Apr 29 at 22:36
  • You don’t mention if the external USB drive is a flash based drive or a hard drive. Also, the type of hard drive might make a little difference. What are your plans? – bmike Apr 29 at 23:13
  • I haven't settled on which drive to use, but it will be a 3.5" external mains-powered hard drive. Not familiar with different types beyond that description. Probably a partition on my Seagate 4TB Expansion Desktop, or the iMac's 3TB hard drive (when removed) in a USB 3.0 enclosure. – Richard Brockbank Apr 29 at 23:27

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