This is a hybrid hardware/software question with a few more factors than the typical "freeing disk space" question.

I have an older iMac with (I think) about a 250 GB hard drive. It's been running out of disk space for a while, and each time I find some way to recover a bit more room. I've used DaisyDisk, etc. to identify large unused files, moved my iPhone/iPad backups to cloud, etc.

At this point there's just one big culprit left: our iPhoto library, which has been fed increasingly large photos. (iPhone 4S + Nikon DSLR -> way more megapixels than my earliest photos!) The iPhoto library hogs most of the space now and I'd like to avoid one-by-one reviewing & deleting photos if I can help it.

Is there a software solution? Can I tell iPhoto to archive the oldest photos to a NAS? (I have plenty of network space) And if I do that, will photos take longer to open?

Is there a hardware solution? For instance, if I buy a Time Capsule is there a one-step way to relocate my existing photo library? And again, will it slow down the use of photos on my machine and/or prevent me from seeing all of my albums?

Also, I'd like to start moving some of my music back to the iMac - any solution that will let me do the same for iTunes (keep some local, move some to network storage) would be appreciated.

1 Answer 1


Assuming your NAS is always available and connected to your iMac, you can move both iPhoto and iTunes libraries to the NAS and use

  • symbolic links from ~/Pictures and ~/Music to fool the applications
  • start the application with Option pressed to select the alternative location
  • iTunes: select alternative storage location in Options
  • iPhoto: start by double-clicking moved library file
  • 1
    You shouldn't need the symbolic links. iTunes allows you to set the path to its Library. iPhoto can be opened by double-clicking on a Library file, and will use that file as its default until you open another. Unfortunately, neither provides a solution for splitting a library across storage locations.
    – jaberg
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 17:35
  • Thanks for pointing this out, I've edited the answer accordingly.
    – nohillside
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 18:38

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