Photos Library Drive – Part 2

In my previous article on creating an external Photos drive I covered the hardware setup. Today I want to take you through the actual moving of the Photos Library and some ways to backup the Library in it’s new location.


Moving The Photos Library

Once I got the new Inatek/Crucial SSD setup, I just dragged my Photos Library over to it. This copy took several hours to complete. My Library is about 200 GB in size. Once that was done I had to connect the Photos app with the Library in the new location. This is easily done. Just boot up the Photos app while holding down the Option Key ⌥ and you will see this window:


Initially, it will default to the current location of the Library. All you have to do is click on the “Other Library” button, navigate to the new location of the Photos Library and select it:


Now when you open the Photos app it opens the Library from the new location first time, every time.

Observations So Far

I have been running with this new Library setup for a few days now. I have used the Photos app extensively. Here are my overall observations of this move.

I would say that interacting with my Photos Library (opening, editing photos, etc) is about 50% faster than when the Library resided on my iMac. The Crucial SSD is pretty fast. Although, it does seem like the Photos app is holding back the SSD at times. Hopefully, the Photos app will get more efficient over time. The move did not affect anything that I had done to photos. All the edits were present and the meta data as well. So far, so good as far as I can tell. However, there is one major consideration here: Backup!

My wife and I really treasure our family and travel photos. We do not want to lose them. So, after moving and opening the Photos Library, I setup a backup of the Library to one of my external hard drives. I use several external drives for various purposes. I have lots of room on many of them. I just used the excellent Get Backup Pro app to create a weekly backup of the Library. However, I decided that was not enough so I created a second monthly backup of the Library to yet another drive.

At this point I think that is enough redundancy to ensure my Photos Library is safe and sound. SSD drives are super reliable. Hopefully, I will not have to use any of the Photo Library backups, but it does not hurt to be extra careful.

Oh, and one more thing. After I was sure the moved Library was working properly and I had my backups completed, I deleted the original Photos Library from my iMac HD. Wow, did that free up a bunch of space!


If you have been considering moving your Photos Library off your main machine for whatever reason, I say go for it. Yes, there is a bit of expense in purchasing the SSD equipment, but you will not regret it in the long run.