How to Move Photos From Mac to External Hard Drive

Charlotte Daniels

Mac, Tutorials

Welcome to this tutorial on how to move photos from your Mac to an external hard drive. Whether you want to free up space on your Mac or create a backup of your precious memories, transferring photos to an external hard drive is a smart choice. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps involved in this process.

Step 1: Connect the External Hard Drive

The first step is to connect your external hard drive to your Mac using the appropriate cable or connector. Make sure it is properly connected and recognized by your Mac before proceeding.

Step 2: Locate Your Photos

Before you can transfer photos, you need to locate them on your Mac. Open the Finder application and navigate to the folder where your photos are stored. This could be in the “Pictures” folder or any other location where you have saved them.


If you have organized your photos into albums within a photo management application like Apple Photos, make sure to locate the specific album(s) you want to transfer.

Step 3: Select and Copy

Selecting and copying the photos is a straightforward process:

  • Select Multiple Photos: To select multiple consecutive photos, click on the first photo, hold down the Shift key, and click on the last photo. All photos in between will be selected.
  • Select Individual Photos: To select non-consecutive photos, hold down the Command key (⌘) while clicking on each photo you want to select.
  • Select All Photos: To select all photos in a folder or album at once, press Command-A (⌘+A).
  • Copy the Photos: Once you have selected the desired photos, right-click on any of the selected photos and choose “Copy”. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Command-C (⌘+C).

Step 4: Paste Photos onto External Hard Drive

Navigate to your connected external hard drive in the Finder and open the folder where you want to store your photos. Right-click inside the folder and choose “Paste”. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Command-V (⌘+V) to paste the photos.


If you want to organize your transferred photos into folders on the external hard drive, create new folders before pasting by right-clicking inside the destination folder and choosing “New Folder”. Give it a descriptive name and then proceed with pasting.

Step 5: Verify and Eject

After pasting your photos onto the external hard drive, it’s essential to verify that everything transferred correctly. Open a few random photos to ensure they are intact and accessible.

Once you have confirmed that all your photos are safely transferred, it’s time to eject your external hard drive properly. Locate its icon on your desktop or in Finder’s sidebar, right-click on it, and select “Eject” from the context menu. Wait for a notification confirming that it is safe to disconnect before physically unplugging it from your Mac.

Congratulations! You have successfully moved your precious photos from your Mac to an external hard drive. Now you can enjoy extra storage space on your Mac while having peace of mind knowing that your memories are safely backed up.

We hope this tutorial has been helpful. If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out. Happy photo organizing!

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