It is quite likely that you store digital photos on your Mac computer. If you are like most users, your photo library is an ever-expanding entity as you regularly add new images and never get around to deleting any of the older ones. After a while, the storage demands of your library can start to add up and cause lack of space issues on your internal storage device.

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Professional photographers and videographers are even more prone to running into a storage issue due to the size of their Photo libraries. We are making the assumption that you know how to move your photos from your iPhone to your Mac, and that your photo library is on your computer’s internal hard drive.

We are going to show you how to do that, as well as point you toward a few externals storage devices that will work very well as repositories for your photo libraries. Near the end of the article, we will show you how to recover photos that may be accidentally deleted from your external hard drive.

How to Move Your Photos Library to an External Hard Drive

Let’s take a look at how to transfer photos from a Mac to an external hard drive. As with any major modification that you will be making to your computer or storage system, we recommend that you make sure that you have a good backup of your device before proceeding.

This adds a little time to the whole process, but in the event that something goes wrong during the data move, you will be glad that you have that backup. Just imagine all of your photos gone for good.

Steps to Move your Photos Library to an External Drive

At the end of this procedure, your external hard drive will contain all of the photos from your Photos library that were previously stored on your Mac. You have also freed up all of the space that they previously occupied. Nice work.


3 Best External Hard Drives for Storing Photos

There are many fine external storage devices from which to choose to hold your iPhoto libraries. Here are three of them.

1. Western Digital My Passport

move photos from mac to external hard drive

You can obtain this external drive in a variety of colors and sizes ranging from 1TB to 4TB. It is self-powered and features password protection and hardware encryption. WD My Passport is compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 interfaces. It includes WD backup software that can be set to automatically protect your data on a timed schedule. It comes formatted for Windows but can be formatted for use on a Mac.

2. G-Technology G-Drive Mobile SSD R-Series

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This drive is available in sizes up to 2TB and since it is an SSD drive, provides enhanced durability over traditional hard drives. It features high-speed data transfer and is shock and vibration resistant. A good choice if you plan on using your drive in challenging environments.

3. Samsung T5 SSD

move iPhoto library to external hard drive

Here is another SSD drive that comes in sizes from 250GB up to 2TB. It features a distinctive aluminum casing and is extremely portable, weighing in at 51 grams. Fast transfer speeds are a hallmark of Samsung SSDs and this model is no exception.


Tips to Recover Deleted Photos from an External Hard Drive on Mac

So now that you have all of your valuable photos on your external hard drive, what are you going to do if you accidentally delete some of those special memories? You might just be doing some housekeeping on your storage device and inadvertently send some photos to the Trash, which you then delete. Maybe you even formatted the drive by mistake.

Don’t panic. Here is a great way to recover deleted photos from an external storage device that is attached to a Mac.

Conclusion

You never know what can happen with your computer, so it’s always a good idea to have a copy of your photos on an external hard drive or a USB flash drive. This way, you’ll be sure that all your precious memories are safe.

Luckily, transferring your Photos Library to an external drive is hassle-free and doesn’t take up much time. And thanks to this article, you’ll know exactly what steps to take.

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Romana Levko

Romana Levko is a content writer with a strong interest in the technology field: data recovery, cybersecurity, and everything Apple are among her favorite subjects to explore. Her goal is to expand the reader’s unders...

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Brett Johnson

This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.