New Photos Hard Drive Install

In a previous article, I described the death of my USB external hard drive used for my Photos Library. I received by new hard drive and enclosure the other day and transferred my library over onto it. Here is how that went.

Photos Transfer

There probably are a few different ways to transfer a Photos Library to a different hard drive. This is how I did it. My Photos Library is about 265 GB. It is fairly large. I store the Library on an external hard drive. I have just enough room to store the Library on my internal drive, but it would not leave room for anything else.

I began by copying the Photos Library from the failing external drive onto my iMac internal drive. When that was completed I setup my new drive. This is the drive I bought:

It is a 1 TB Western Digital Blue SSD. The Western Digital Blue drives are their midrange product and have a 3 year warranty. Here is the drive out of the package:

It is a typical SSD. The Western Digital Blue Drive gets good reviews. It has components that are a little better quality than their Green Drive.

I placed the Blue Drive in the new enclosure and attached it to my iMac. When I received the “Initialize” message I went into Disk Utility and initialized the drive in the APFS format. Then, I copied the Photos Library onto it, which took about 30 minutes.

Once that was completed I went about setting up the Library. The first thing I did was boot up the Photos App holding down the Option ⌥ Key which presented the find library window:

You have to click on “Other Library”, navigate to the new drive and choose your Photos Library. Once you open Photos you are not quite done yet.

You have to go into the Photos Preferences area and tell Photos to use the new Photos Library as the “System Photo Library”:

Once you do that the macOS will use the Library for your photos interactions.

When I had completed setting up the new Photos Library drive, I deleted the copied library off my iMac internal hard drive. The new library drive works well. I will probably throw the old dying SSD away. After it fails you really cannot trust it.


Moving a Photos Library to a new external drive is time consuming, but not difficult.