How to live with a Mac mini or MacBook Air with a small internal drive

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 59
    LatkoLatko Posts: 398member
    entropys said:
    It is depressing that such articles are necessary due to the gouging Apple does because of the need for additional storage. It is probably reason number one that after thirty years of recommending macs to friends and family, I just can’t do it anymore. 

    It it is also a reason, if you are a dedicated Mac user, to buy the current iMac as it doesn’t have the T2 chip, and you can easily just boot off the TB3 port with an NVME enclosure. That said, it doesn’t solve the fundamental problem of Apple’s upgrade pricing policy, and while I am accepting of this workaround, I won’t recommend it when buying a computer to someone else.
    I too am no longer recommending macs...
    My “Mac-guy being tossed by fat PC-guy” feeling is to become permanent
    edited April 13
  • Reply 42 of 59
    doggone said:
    Biggest issue for me is when I have to do an encrypted iPhone backup on my server (recycled rMBP with 512GB upgrade).  With iPhones having the 256GB drive it is very hard to get this to work.  What happens when I get a 512GB iPhone and can't do the encrypted store?
    All iTunes content is on a Drobo and I have cleaned out most apps that are legacy or no longer needed. 
    This should be as simple as moving your Library/Applications Support/MobileSync to the backup drive, then putting an alias to it back where he original was.
  • Reply 43 of 59
    therfman said:
    For a Mini, why not just get a 1 or 2 TB SSD, put it in a USB-C 3.1 enclosure, and move your entire Home and Apps folder to it?
    The T2 makes this a little more complex than it used to be. While you can do this, right now, we don't recommend it.
    Your later post makes it clear that you don't like the idea of booting off an external. OK, fine, I wouldn't in any case. But that's not what's being suggested here. Moving /Users and /Applications is different.

    That said, I would do it differently: I'd move individual home dirs, and I'd make sure a root-enabled user existed with their home dir on the internal drive. Also, I'd make an Apps folder on the external, then put an alias or symlink to it inside /Applications, then drop most apps in there. Any apps that were finicky about that could go in the main Applications folder. (I suppose, if the Apple App store gets more popular, that could be much more of a pain in the ass. So far it's not. In that case I'd look into union-mounting, but Apple's implementation is crappy so that would probably not be a great solution.)

    BTW, nothing in your post proves that the T2 is responsible for your problems. Do you have information that leads you to believe this?
    edited April 13
  • Reply 44 of 59
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,870administrator
    therfman said:
    For a Mini, why not just get a 1 or 2 TB SSD, put it in a USB-C 3.1 enclosure, and move your entire Home and Apps folder to it?
    The T2 makes this a little more complex than it used to be. While you can do this, right now, we don't recommend it.
    Your later post makes it clear that you don't like the idea of booting off an external. OK, fine, I wouldn't in any case. But that's not what's being suggested here. Moving /Users and /Applications is different.

    That said, I would do it differently: I'd move individual home dirs, and I'd make sure a root-enabled user existed with their home dir on the internal drive. Also, I'd make an Apps folder on the external, then put an alias or symlink to it inside /Applications, then drop most apps in there. Any apps that were finicky about that could go in the main Applications folder. (I suppose, if the Apple App store gets more popular, that could be much more of a pain in the ass. So far it's not. In that case I'd look into union-mounting, but Apple's implementation is crappy so that would probably not be a great solution.)

    BTW, nothing in your post proves that the T2 is responsible for your problems. Do you have information that leads you to believe this?
    To be clear, booting of a stable external is fine. Thunderbolt 3 is awesome for this. 

    In regards to blaming the T2, so far, the (rare) kernel panics associated with the crashes have only manifested on T2 machines, with BridgeOS highly prominent in the crash log. They haven't on T1 and machines without. We're still working on it.
    edited April 13 kestral
  • Reply 45 of 59
    therfman said:
    For a Mini, why not just get a 1 or 2 TB SSD, put it in a USB-C 3.1 enclosure, and move your entire Home and Apps folder to it?
    The T2 makes this a little more complex than it used to be. While you can do this, right now, we don't recommend it.
    Your later post makes it clear that you don't like the idea of booting off an external. OK, fine, I wouldn't in any case. But that's not what's being suggested here. Moving /Users and /Applications is different.

    That said, I would do it differently: I'd move individual home dirs, and I'd make sure a root-enabled user existed with their home dir on the internal drive. Also, I'd make an Apps folder on the external, then put an alias or symlink to it inside /Applications, then drop most apps in there. Any apps that were finicky about that could go in the main Applications folder. (I suppose, if the Apple App store gets more popular, that could be much more of a pain in the ass. So far it's not. In that case I'd look into union-mounting, but Apple's implementation is crappy so that would probably not be a great solution.)

    BTW, nothing in your post proves that the T2 is responsible for your problems. Do you have information that leads you to believe this?
    To be clear, booting of a stable external is fine. Thunderbolt 3 is awesome for this. 

    In regards to blaming the T2, so far, the (rare) kernel panics associated with the crashes have only manifested on T2 machines, with BridgeOS highly prominent in the crash log. They haven't on T1 and machines without. We're still working on it.
    Interesting. When you say "stable", what are you talking about? Layer-1 issues (bad cables/ports, etc.)? Bad FS (damaged sectors, etc.)? Bad I/O chips/drivers in the drive? Or something else?

    In any case, assuming you have a stable external drive (FSVO stable), do you have any issue with using it for offloading /Applications, /Users, or anything else?

  • Reply 46 of 59
    nubusnubus Posts: 67member
    Never buy a Mac with 128 GB SSD. It isn't mentioned in the article or in the comments but there really is one reason: Speed!
    The SSD will likely deliver half the write-performance of a 256 GB drive: https://twitter.com/tapbot_paul/status/1060611584639361024

    Writing to the disk is being used for cache, temp files, and when you create/update documents. You can't really migrate temp and cache files away from the system disk. Well - you can in a few applications, but then those won't work without the external disk. Lliving like Marie Kondo on your computer is just fine. I only use 80 GB and have Xcode, InDesign Server, and much more. But don't do that on a 128 GB drive.
    JustSomeGuy1GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 47 of 59
    kestralkestral Posts: 260member
    nubus said:
    Lliving like Marie Kondo on your computer is just fine. I only use 80 GB and have Xcode, InDesign Server, and much more. But don't do that on a 128 GB drive.
    128GB does not spark joy.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 48 of 59
    But see, here's the problem with a 128Gb SSD - my "System" takes over 270Gb... note also I've got all media files off by internal drive: movies, music, photos. All I have on my internal drive are System, Apps, Mail, Documents (mostly Word and Ppt). 

  • Reply 49 of 59
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,870administrator
    But see, here's the problem with a 128Gb SSD - my "System" takes over 270Gb... note also I've got all media files off by internal drive: movies, music, photos. All I have on my internal drive are System, Apps, Mail, Documents (mostly Word and Ppt). 

    You've got some kind of problem if you've got system files occupying 270GB. Across all the machines here, the biggest one we've got is 58.1GB, and as low as 22GB.
  • Reply 50 of 59
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,870administrator

    nubus said:
    Never buy a Mac with 128 GB SSD. It isn't mentioned in the article or in the comments but there really is one reason: Speed!
    The SSD will likely deliver half the write-performance of a 256 GB drive: https://twitter.com/tapbot_paul/status/1060611584639361024

    Writing to the disk is being used for cache, temp files, and when you create/update documents. You can't really migrate temp and cache files away from the system disk. Well - you can in a few applications, but then those won't work without the external disk. Lliving like Marie Kondo on your computer is just fine. I only use 80 GB and have Xcode, InDesign Server, and much more. But don't do that on a 128 GB drive.
    While we aren't recommending a 128GB buy, and you are right about the speed, it's important to keep in mind that even that the read speed is several multiples of a SATA SSD. We haven't seen quite as low as 600 megabytes per second write, but even that is faster than SATA.
    edited April 14
  • Reply 51 of 59
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,870administrator
    therfman said:
    For a Mini, why not just get a 1 or 2 TB SSD, put it in a USB-C 3.1 enclosure, and move your entire Home and Apps folder to it?
    The T2 makes this a little more complex than it used to be. While you can do this, right now, we don't recommend it.
    Your later post makes it clear that you don't like the idea of booting off an external. OK, fine, I wouldn't in any case. But that's not what's being suggested here. Moving /Users and /Applications is different.

    That said, I would do it differently: I'd move individual home dirs, and I'd make sure a root-enabled user existed with their home dir on the internal drive. Also, I'd make an Apps folder on the external, then put an alias or symlink to it inside /Applications, then drop most apps in there. Any apps that were finicky about that could go in the main Applications folder. (I suppose, if the Apple App store gets more popular, that could be much more of a pain in the ass. So far it's not. In that case I'd look into union-mounting, but Apple's implementation is crappy so that would probably not be a great solution.)

    BTW, nothing in your post proves that the T2 is responsible for your problems. Do you have information that leads you to believe this?
    To be clear, booting of a stable external is fine. Thunderbolt 3 is awesome for this. 

    In regards to blaming the T2, so far, the (rare) kernel panics associated with the crashes have only manifested on T2 machines, with BridgeOS highly prominent in the crash log. They haven't on T1 and machines without. We're still working on it.
    Interesting. When you say "stable", what are you talking about? Layer-1 issues (bad cables/ports, etc.)? Bad FS (damaged sectors, etc.)? Bad I/O chips/drivers in the drive? Or something else?

    In any case, assuming you have a stable external drive (FSVO stable), do you have any issue with using it for offloading /Applications, /Users, or anything else?

    Kernel panics induced by a BridgeOS crash, that we don't see when an external isn't being used as a system volume. It isn't cables/ports, as it only manifests on T2 systems. We haven't started using symlinks yet to see if there are still crashes there, but that's on the list.
  • Reply 52 of 59
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,136member
    nubus said:
    Never buy a Mac with 128 GB SSD. It isn't mentioned in the article or in the comments but there really is one reason: Speed!
    The SSD will likely deliver half the write-performance of a 256 GB drive: https://twitter.com/tapbot_paul/status/1060611584639361024

    Writing to the disk is being used for cache, temp files, and when you create/update documents. You can't really migrate temp and cache files away from the system disk. Well - you can in a few applications, but then those won't work without the external disk. Lliving like Marie Kondo on your computer is just fine. I only use 80 GB and have Xcode, InDesign Server, and much more. But don't do that on a 128 GB drive.
    In addition, it won't last as long either since each bit is being used more often -- it effectively gets more wear.
  • Reply 53 of 59
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,849member

    nubus said:
    Never buy a Mac with 128 GB SSD. It isn't mentioned in the article or in the comments but there really is one reason: Speed!
    The SSD will likely deliver half the write-performance of a 256 GB drive: https://twitter.com/tapbot_paul/status/1060611584639361024

    Writing to the disk is being used for cache, temp files, and when you create/update documents. You can't really migrate temp and cache files away from the system disk. Well - you can in a few applications, but then those won't work without the external disk. Lliving like Marie Kondo on your computer is just fine. I only use 80 GB and have Xcode, InDesign Server, and much more. But don't do that on a 128 GB drive.
    While we aren't recommending a 128GB buy, and you are right about the speed, it's important to keep in mind that even that the read speed is several multiples of a SATA SSD. We haven't seen quite as low as 600 megabytes per second write, but even that is faster than SATA.
    Well quite alright then. Nothing to be concerned about.
  • Reply 54 of 59
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,870administrator
    entropys said:

    nubus said:
    Never buy a Mac with 128 GB SSD. It isn't mentioned in the article or in the comments but there really is one reason: Speed!
    The SSD will likely deliver half the write-performance of a 256 GB drive: https://twitter.com/tapbot_paul/status/1060611584639361024

    Writing to the disk is being used for cache, temp files, and when you create/update documents. You can't really migrate temp and cache files away from the system disk. Well - you can in a few applications, but then those won't work without the external disk. Lliving like Marie Kondo on your computer is just fine. I only use 80 GB and have Xcode, InDesign Server, and much more. But don't do that on a 128 GB drive.
    While we aren't recommending a 128GB buy, and you are right about the speed, it's important to keep in mind that even that the read speed is several multiples of a SATA SSD. We haven't seen quite as low as 600 megabytes per second write, but even that is faster than SATA.
    Well quite alright then. Nothing to be concerned about.
    It's just the nature of parallel writes. Small SATA SSDs are subject to similar speed hits.
  • Reply 55 of 59
    brianmbrianm Posts: 25member
    As long as you do setup the OS on the initial boot drive (to set an admin password) you can then change the Security Settings on the Mac mini (T2) to allow booting from an external drive. Or just keep OS/main apps on the internal drive, setup shortcuts to an external USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 drive to hold everything large (Photos can be set to other destinations for it's main library, same with iTunes, iMovie, and pretty much every 3rd party app that deals with larger files can work from any drive). Bobolicious - for the 6 core Mac mini - add on an eGPU for better/cheaper than apple would have charged for a better internal GPU. Several companies have eGPU cases you can put different video cards into - even here in Canada can get a RX 580 in eGPU case for under $700 - in the US it would likely be under $500. (unfortunately Nvidia not supported yet... debate on if/when it may happen - word as recently as of this month, is Nvidia is still working with Apple on the drivers/cuda)
  • Reply 56 of 59
    aegeanaegean Posts: 114member
    My 2018 Mac mini 3.2GHz, 64GB RAM includes 2TB Apple SSD as it serves the purpose as my media server, and I truly enjoy the freedom of internal SSD. Really wish if Apple had an option of 3 or even 4 TB SSD, or at least multiple SSDs like 2x 2TBs

    My iTunes managed library is on internal SSD, and referenced library is spread out on 2 external SSDs.
    edited April 15
  • Reply 57 of 59
    wizard69 said:
    entropys said:
    It is depressing that such articles are necessary due to the gouging Apple does because of the need for additional storage. It is probably reason number one that after thirty years of recommending macs to friends and family, I just can’t do it anymore. 

    It it is also a reason, if you are a dedicated Mac user, to buy the current iMac as it doesn’t have the T2 chip, and you can easily just boot off the TB3 port with an NVME enclosure. That said, it doesn’t solve the fundamental problem of Apple’s upgrade pricing policy, and while I am accepting of this workaround, I won’t recommend it when buying a computer to someone else.
    I too am no longer recommending macs...
    I’m currently in the middle with respect to recommendations.   Some people are certainly better off with Macs.   For me the only real alternative is Linux as my brief run in with Windows 10 was absolutely horrible.  Linux is far more trouble free than in the past but still suffers from the need to reinstall (actually upgrade to a new distro release), constantly.   Mac OS is perhaps the only OS going that has smooth upgrade transitions.  
    Indeed there are some I suppose... The iMac is still a great 1440p computer, if more limited than in the past. I miss the VESA option in the non-pro, as well as target display. Drive access also became even tougher over the years.  

    Yesterday I spent some time at the Apple store and the only way I could manage to get an iMac to run @ 4K was by installing SwitchRes, and then it was so tiny as to be straining, at least to me...  Let's hope the rumoured 6K 'pro' 31" display may translate into an iMac that will offer a 2160p 4K retina quality native resolution that is usable, with restored VESA flexibility and offering easier user ram/storage access.
    edited April 16
  • Reply 58 of 59
    wizard69 said:
    entropys said:
    It is depressing that such articles are necessary due to the gouging Apple does because of the need for additional storage. It is probably reason number one that after thirty years of recommending macs to friends and family, I just can’t do it anymore. 

    It it is also a reason, if you are a dedicated Mac user, to buy the current iMac as it doesn’t have the T2 chip, and you can easily just boot off the TB3 port with an NVME enclosure. That said, it doesn’t solve the fundamental problem of Apple’s upgrade pricing policy, and while I am accepting of this workaround, I won’t recommend it when buying a computer to someone else.
    I too am no longer recommending macs...
    I’m currently in the middle with respect to recommendations.   Some people are certainly better off with Macs.   For me the only real alternative is Linux as my brief run in with Windows 10 was absolutely horrible.  Linux is far more trouble free than in the past but still suffers from the need to reinstall (actually upgrade to a new distro release), constantly.   Mac OS is perhaps the only OS going that has smooth upgrade transitions.  
    No longer true depending on which Distro you are using. Linux Mint which is my favorite has for sometime switched to LTS and point release. So the next Linux Mint update will go from Mint 19.1 to 19.2 and upgrading Mint is super easy, no need to start over, you upgrade from the Software Updater. My 2012 Mini when it's no longer supported will become a Linux box. I'm pretty fed up myself with Apple these days and i've been with them since 2001.
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