My internal HD is too full, so I want to make room for macOS to run smoothly again. As my iTunes Music database is huge, would it be possible to move that database onto an external HD that is continuously connected to my Mac ?
Is there any option to do so ?
Yes, it is possible to move your entire iTunes Music database to an external HD. Apple does explicitly recommend to use an external HD that is connected to your Mac directly with USB, ThunderBolt or FireWire. (and Apple explicitly recommends against putting your active iTunes or Music.app database on a wireless drive or network drive)
To do this, do this :
- get yourself an external HD, preferably one that is using a fast cable connection to connect to your Mac ; Samsung currently has some small and very good external HDs using USB-C for this : Samsung T5 Portable SSD
- plug the external HD into your Mac
- goto Applications –> Utilities –> Disk Utility
- open Disk Utility
- reformat the external HD as “Mac OS Extended”
- now, in the Finder, create a new folder on the external HD named Music
- inside that folder, create 2 new folders ; one named iTunes, the other named Music
- then, in the Finder, goto Users –> [your name] –> Music –> Music –> Music Library (if you don’t have one, skip the next step)
- then drag&drop the Music Library folder into the Music folder inside the top-level Music folder on the external HD you have just created
- …this may take a while
- then, in the Finder, goto Users –> [your name] –> Music –> iTunes –> iTunes Library (if you don’t have one, skip the next step)
- then drag&drop the iTunes Library folder into the iTunes folder inside the top-level Music folder on the external HD you have just created
- …this may take a while also
- when done, open the Music.app (or iTunes.app if you are running an older version of macOS)
- goto Music (or iTunes) in the top-bar of your screen –> Preferences
- in the window that opens, select the Files tab, and at “Music Media folder location” click on the Change-button
- in the Finder window that opens, select the Music (or iTunes) folder inside the Music folder on the external HD and click Open-button
- back in the Files window, click the OK-button
- now Music.app (or iTunes) will start up using the Music Library (or iTunes Library) on the external HD (and it will keep using the Music Library (or iTunes Library) on the external HD as its default library from now on)
- check inside Music.app (or iTunes) to see if all your photos are now available (there’s no reason why they wouldn’t but just to make sure…)
- now start using this setup as your new Music.app (or iTunes) setup, and if you don’t run into any problems in a few weeks (or even months if you need to) you can delete the Music Library (and/or iTunes Library) that was in the Music folder in your Home folder on your Mac’s internal drive to clear up some space
That’s it !
Why not format to APFS?
@Al Larson :
That’s a great question.
Eventhough Apple recommends using MacOS Extended format for external hard disks, it prefers APFS for internal SSDs by default since macOS High_Sierra.
There are 2 things to keep in mind :
1- Apple only supports MacOS Extended SSDs (and HDs) for use as TimeMachine backup disks
2- the stability, data-loss protection and speed gain of the APFS format are mainly for SSDs (for HDs the gain is insignificant)
So… yes, if you are using an SSD as an external iTunes-disk, you could probably use an APFS SSD also…
If you are willing to try APSF, please do so and report back how it runs 😉