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  • How to transfer your iPhone or Mac Photo library to an external drive

    Apple would do well to find a better solution to Photo Library. As of now, I have 35 GB of photos and home videos (as stated by iCloud and the size of the Masters folder), which I believe to be somewhat typical.

    Trouble is, my Photos Library is beyond 46 GB! Photos clogged my SSD with 11 GB of redundant information, related to my own media! That, combined to Apple asking an arm and a leg for better storage options on its MacBooks, makes for a preposterous situation!

    Before anyone says anything, I don’t have duplicated data, or edits. The offending storage hogs are thumbnails caches and facial recognition stuff that Photos creates by itself!
    Your situation does sound very typical, if not absolutely average.  My personal library is about 250GB and that has about 35GB of what you're calling redundant information.

    I worked with a startup many years ago that did something similar to iCloud Photos... or at least as similar as could be at the time on Windows.  I have a bit of insight into what this "redundant" data is, and what it would mean to remove it.

    First, a lot of it has to do with creating alternative views (thumbnails) of your images.  Remove those and browsing your library becomes impractically slow as it ends up having to load in large image files and then render them at the size you're viewing at.

    The second largest amount of data is probably going to be related to non-destructive editing.  Technically, you could eliminate this if you really wanted, but the benefit to being able to go back and change edits is a pretty compelling reason to keep that data, combined with the degradation that would occur with repeated edits.

    The remaining amount of data related to metadata and the database all is either needed for a feature (like Faces and Places) or general functionality.

    The TL;DR: here is that we get "taxed" 5-10% for much greater efficiency in speed in use and a lot of compelling features (non-destructive editing, Faces, Places, and other metadata based functionality).

    If you're really hurting for space, I'd recommend turning on optimized photos with iCloud Photos for what you store on your internal SSD drive, and then keep a cheap large external HDD for the originals.