I'm using a 2011 iMac using macOS Sierra 10.12.6. I'm running out of disk space and I want to find out how to transfer entire music and photo libraries to an external SSD, then delete everything on the Mac, start new libraries and still be able to view/listen to the old stuff.


1 Answer 1


For files not stored in Photos, iPhoto, Music, iTunes, you can simply drag and drop the files / folders in Finder.

For files stored in Photos or iPhoto, locate your photo library and drag it to your SSD. Close Photos/iPhoto before doing this. Typically, this is a file in the ~/Pictures (In Finder, Go > Home and open Pictures folder). After moving it, when you open Photos/iPhoto, you may be asked to select your library.

This process can be repeated in the same fashion for Music/iTunes, except that it will be located in ~/Music instead of ~/Pictures.

Two things to note:

  1. If you use iCloud Photo Library, follow the same steps. After completing the steps, you can open Photos > Preferences and make sure that the library is marked as the System Library.
  2. If, for any of these applications, not all of your media is located within the library, it will not transfer.
    • In Music, you can choose File > Library > Organize Library and indicate both options.
    • In Photos, you can create a Smart Library that matches "Photo is Referenced" to see if you have any photos of this nature.

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