Prepare your drive

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You can store your library on an external storage device, such as a USB or Thunderbolt drive formatted as APFS or Mac OS Extended (Journaled). However, you can't move your library to a disk that's used for Time Machine backups. Find out how to check the format of your external storage device.

To prevent data loss, Apple doesn't recommend storing photo libraries on external storage devices like SD cards and USB flash drives, or drives that are shared on a network.

Move your Photos library to an external storage device

  1. Quit Photos.
  2. In the Finder, go to the external drive where you want to store your library.
  3. In another Finder window, find your library. The default location is Users > [username] > Pictures, and it's named Photos Library.
  4. Drag your library to its new location on the external drive. If you see an error, select your external drive's icon in the Finder, then choose File > Get Info. If the information under Sharing & Permissions isn't visible, click the triangle button , then make sure the 'Ignore ownership on this volume' checkbox is selected. If it's not selected, click the lock button to unlock it, enter an administrator name and password, then select the checkbox.*

  5. After the move is finished, double-click Photos Library in its new location to open it.
  6. If you use iCloud Photo Library, designate this library as the System Photo Library.

Delete original library to save space

After you open your library from its new location and make sure that it works as expected, you can delete the library from its original location.

In a Finder window, go back to your Pictures folder (or whichever folder you copied your library from) and move Photos Library to the trash. Then choose Finder > Empty Trash to delete the library and reclaim disk space.

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Open another Photos library

If you have multiple libraries, here's how to open a different one:

  1. Quit Photos.
  2. Press and hold the Option key while you open Photos.
  3. Select the library that you want to open, then click Choose Library.

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Photos uses this library until you open a different one.

Learn more

If you have a permissions issue with your library, you might be able to resolve the issue by using the Photos library repair tool.

* If the volume isn't formatted APFS or Mac OS Extended (Journaled), or has been used for Time Machine backups but hasn't been erased, this checkbox will either not be present, or won't be selectable after unlocking. Erase and reformat the drive for this option to be available.

If you are accessing a network location from your Mac on a regular basis, it is better to go ahead and map a network drive. This will provide you with the opportunity to save a lot of time on a daily basis.

Two different methods are available for you to map a network drive on a Mac. You can go through these two methods and select the most convenient method out of them. Both these methods will deliver positive results to you in all the Mac OS versions.

Mapping a Network Drive in Mac

Before you try this method, you need to keep in mind that the network connection would drop, if you are disconnected or reboot the computer. Below mentioned are the steps that you will have to follow.

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  1. Go to the Finder in your Mac OS X, press Command + K, so that you will be able to get the “Connect to Server” window.
  2. Now you can enter the path to the specific network drive that you want to me. For example, you can enter smb://networkcomputer/networkshare and select connect button.
  3. Now you can enter the login user name and the password. Upon entering the credentials, you can click OK to complete mounting the network drive.
  4. Now you will be able to see the network drive on the desktop. You can also locate it in the Finder window sidebar.

Mapping a network drive that re-mounts after the system reboot

If you want to map a network drive that re-mounts after a system reboot, you need to go through the below mentioned steps and try out. If you are looking for a more persistent method than what we discussed above, you can try the below mentioned steps.

  1. From the Finder, press the keyboard shortcut Command + K.
  2. Now you can enter the path of the specific network drive, which you need to map. For example, you can enter smb://networkcomputer/networkshare.
  3. Now you will be asked to enter your login details. You will have to enter the login and password and then press OK.
  4. Now you will be able to see that the drive has been mounted. However, you will need to continue in order to complete the mounting process, so that you can make sure it re-mounts even after you turn on your Mac on the following day.
  5. To do that, you need to visit System Preferences. You can access it from the Apple Menu.
  6. Now you can select Accounts.
  7. From there, you need to select Login Items.
  8. As the next step, you can select the + Button and you will be able to add an additional login item.
  9. Now you can locate the network drive that you have mounted. Then you can select Add.
  10. Now you have successfully done the job and you will be able to exit from the System Preferences.

Map Network Drive On Mac

Now you will be able to make sure that the network drive is mapped automatically, even after you reboot the Mac.