I switched to Aperture some time ago. And right now, the moment has come that I want to save some space on my internal hard drive. What I found on the Apple website is this:

Aperture: Multiple volumes

I can't seem to find this feature. Online tutorials simply suggest to create multiple libraries and switch between them. But I'm looking for the kind of solution that Apple suggests in this screenshot: I want to use Aperture with my library (one single big library) and Aperture manages where all pictures are stored, across the multiple hard drives. It should be something going on at the background, out of my knowledge. I just want to be the clueless user of the application.

Has anyone found how to do this?

2 Answers 2


This is a very easy operation that basically is one menu item away.

  • File -> Relocate Originals…

So, just connect whatever drive you want to store some photos on and select those photos (by project, album, smart folder, whatever) and then relocate them.

A standard file dialog will appear and you can move them to whatever folder you want on the other drive(s).

Aperture will then update the database and move the large / original version of each photo to the drive selected. When you are using aperture and the drive is not connected, you still have a preview version to work on / edit / crop / correct / etc… If you perform some operation where the original is needed, Aperture will ask nicely that you connect the drive, but for routine tasks - you may not even need the original version for daily use.


I cannot say that I have Apple's exact solution for doing this, but to span one large library upon multiple hard drives, you can combine your hard drives with RAID to form one large drive. Now, this will only work in special cases. RAID cannot be spread between an internal and external hard drive. For RAID to work the best, the hard drives should all be the same hardware and in some type of RAID enclosure.

Now, what you might be looking for will probably be closer to this Span Aperture Library over Multiple Drives It uses symbolic links to span it over multiple drives, but this is much more involves and requires the use of Terminal.

Apple does not actually seem to have a straight-forward easy way to span your library. Otherwise, symbolic links and RAID are your best bet.

  • I've used Aperture to store originals offline for some years now on disconnected drives. The user guide has more than a dozen pages spread throughout the manual discussing the many ways you can choose to store images and only the most trivial setup puts all originals inside the Aperture Library. Even if you import images into the library, you can seamlessly move them later with no hassle. You could chose to use Aperture like iPhoto, but it is far more flexible in storage than what you present here.
    – bmike
    Jun 2, 2013 at 0:58

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