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How to Move Home Folder to an External Drive on Mac?

Updated on Thursday, August 18, 2022

iBoysoft author Vain Rowe

Written by

Vain Rowe
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee

How to Move Home Folder to an External Drive on Mac?

You may look around for methods to move Home Folder on Mac to an external drive. Take your time, moving Home Folder to an external drive is not as easy as pie, because the Home folder stores lots of significant files and data on your Mac device. To complete this work, you can never be more prudent.

This article from iBoysoft will analyze why you need to move Home Folder to an external drive, meanwhile, you can learn how to move Home Folder to an external drive on Mac.

macOS move Home folder to external drive

Table of Contents:

 

Why does macOS move Home Folder to an external drive?

By default, the Home Folder stays on the startup drive -- the drive that stores your device's operating system and system information. Containing a big deal of data, the Home folder swallows up the majority of the startup drive, which leaves few spaces for the operating system to work. Consequently, the low running speed and performance occur your Mac at last.

If you want to apply an SSD drive as the primary startup drive, or, if you have an additional HDD drive available, you can move the Home folder data to another drive, freeing up the space of the startup drive, boosting the Mac performance, and accelerating the running speed of Mac.

These operations are suitable for Mac OS X 10.5 and later macOS versions, if you are running older macOS versions, knowing how to update macOS is a priority.

 

How to move Home Folder to external drive on Mac?

For better performance and running speed, moving the Home folder to an external drive on Mac is worth a try.

Before you begin, please back up the startup drive securely, so that you can restore everything to avoid any accident. After you finished the backup work, you can move the Home folder to another drive now:

Move the Home folder to a new destination

  1. Launch Home Folder via Finder or Spotlight Search.
  2. Locate your Home folder, which is often named after your admin account name.
  3. Left-click all folders in the Home folder and drag them to the new drive. Since you apply a different drive as the destination, the operating system copies the data to the new drive rather than moving it. After you ensure that the new Home folder works well, you can go back to the startup drive and delete the original Home folder.copy Home folder to the external drive

Make Mac apply the new Home folder

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
  2. Click Users & Groups, which is called Accounts in Mac OS X 10.5 and Mac OS X 10.6.
  3. Click the padlock icon on the lower left of the Home window.
  4. Enter your administrator password for further actions.
  5. Right-click the account that you moved to the Home folder, and then click the Advanced Options. Please follow the guides to make changes, and do not makes additional actions in case unforeseen problems occur.
  6. In the Advanced Options window, click Choose and then locate the destination where you moved your Home folder.
  7. Click Open, then click OK to confirm your actions.move the Home folder to the external drive
  8.  Close the System Preferences window and restart your Mac. Your Mac will use the home folder in the new location automatically.

Verify if the new Home folder works well

After you move the Home folder to a new destination, verifying if it can extend the function is a significant step. You can create a new file > save it to the new Home folder > launch Finder and locate the new Home folder > check if the new file is stored in the new Home folder.

Or, you can check if the icon of your new Home folder is a house, if it is, meaning that the new Home folder is active.

When you use the new Home folder for a period of time, and there are no additional problems occurring, then you can delete the old Home folder in the startup drive. From this moment on, your Mac has enough space to access the data quickly and work with fast speed.  

 

Things you should know about moving Home folder to an external drive

Though moving the Home folder to an external drive is feasible, you're less recommended to operate this method.

Compared to the internal drive, the external drive set more barriers for you, for example, you need to ensure the external drive is connected to your device all the time, or accessing the data on it is wishful thinking if it disconnects with Mac.

Further, the speed to access the data on the external drive is not so nice, unless you have Thunderbolt storage devices, which are knowns for exceptional speeds.

But if you're still interested in moving the Home folder to an external drive, please make sure the drive is connected to your device all the time. Meanwhile, password protect any files and folders on Mac stored in this drive is not obviously neglectable.

Verdict

For faster running speed and higher performance, operations on Mac to move the Home folder to another drive are feasible. This article presents you with detailed steps on how macOS move the Home folder to an external drive. If you're curious about it, do it now!

FAQ about moving Home folder to an external drive on Mac

 
A

The Home Folder is a default folder containing all your account files on Mac, named after your administrator account. Every admin account has its own Home folder, and you can launch it via Finder.

A

You can move your Mac Home folder to an external hard drive by these steps: backup the Home folder securely > drag the Home folder to the external drive > activate the Home holder in the external drive > delete the original Home folder in the startup drive.