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I'd like to free up space on my mac's internal HD. I currently run with no external HDs.

Seems like one option is to selectively move one or more apps (that I don't use very much), along with their associated libraries, from internal HD to external HD EHD.

For the sake of the goals/criteria below, let's say (a) I'm not moving any /Users/*, and (b) EHD is an external SSD connected via USB-2.

For any such low-use app App which is currently wholly-contained on my internal HD, I'd like to know how to move it to EHD such that:

  • if EHD is mounted/available, then startup or access times for App are not a primary concern (slow is ok)
  • I'm in control of EHD's mounting/availability (so if EHD isn't mounted, it means that I don't care about App's availability)
  • key goals:
    • keep macOS on internal HD
    • don't move /Users/*
    • regardless of whether or not EHD is mounted, any operations NOT associated with App (or its libraries) should have same functionality and performance as they currently do.

I've looked at some old-ish SO questions (Photos.App/Mail.App, IBooks.App) which seem pretty similar to what I'm asking, but I'm looking for more general how-to/best-practice recommendations/gotcha's. I reckon that a naïve approach would be to just drag App.app from /Applications/App.app to EHD/wherever/, but I'm hoping for something less naïve.

For what it's worth, my first target for App is XCode -- seems to take up alot of disk space, and I don't use it much, but would like freedom to power it up (over possibly painfully-slow USB) when necessary.

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    Why don't you just try moving the app? One way or the other it need to get to the external drive :-) – nohillside Dec 18 '20 at 7:41
  • Usually just copying the app works. I have done that myself, but not with Xcode, rather with games or just large applications in general. Speed should not be an issue here, if it is, then it is the USB 2 connection bottlenecking... – X_841 Dec 18 '20 at 8:20
  • @nohillside - because I found 15,427 files with "Xcode" in their name in /Users/ME/Library/**. I didn't know/suspect "just moving the app" would handle all of those dependencies. – 0xb304 Dec 18 '20 at 8:36
  • @X_841 'copy' sounds less intrusive than 'move' -- I'll give it a shot, thanks! – 0xb304 Dec 18 '20 at 8:37
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    The dependency is to your Library which doesn't move so Xcode still should find what it needs. The files in your Library will not be moved of course :-) – nohillside Dec 18 '20 at 8:40

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