How To Store Imported Photos And Videos Outside Mac Library


By default, photos for Mac will copy all imported images to its own library. To prevent this behavior, you can make use of referenced mode, which helps you import them to their original positions instead of copying them to the Photos library. In other words, the mode allows apps to converse storage by referencing files. If you prefer to store images and videos manually arranged in different folders or external drives on your Mac, you should follow our instructions.

First and foremost, you take notice that referenced files are excluded from backups of your Photos library. Besides, they are also not saved in iCloud Photo Library and the last is that you cannot sync them across devices through iCloud Photo Library. Here’s how to do it

How to enable referenced mode

Step 1: Initially, you need to choose Preferences from the Photos menu.

Step 2: Then, you click the General tab in the Preferences window.

Step 3: Eventually, you simply untick the checkbox beside “Copy items to the Photos library”.

Now all imported images and videos will be referenced instead of being copied to the library and you can avoid file duplication.

Also read: How to turn off comments on your Instagram posts

How to Show referenced file in Finder

Step 1: First, you need to choose it in Photos

Step 2: Now, you can choose the option labeled Show Referenced File in Finder from Photos’ File menu.

How to consolidate referenced files

While working, referenced files can be scattered easily over numerous locations and they can cross many outside disks and network shares. Nonetheless, those files do not go with the Photos library in case you move that library to a new folder.

If you delete a referenced file in Finder, you cannot access it in Photos. The most important thing is that you cannot automatically upload or save referenced files in iCloud Photo Library. Hence, consolidating the library is necessary for you as it helps copy referenced files to the Photos library and then you can back up consolidated items with other remaining images in the Photos library.

Step 1: First of all, you need to choose referenced files in Photos

Step 2: After choosing Consolidate from the File menu, you click the Copy button to confirm the action, which helps copy the original files into the Photos library.

Step 3: Lastly, it may take a while to finish the whole process if the size of reference files is big.


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