How to Transfer Photos From Mac to External Hard Drive

Kyle Wood

Mac, Tutorials

Transferring photos from your Mac to an external hard drive is a smart way to free up storage space and keep your precious memories safe. Whether you’re a professional photographer or just someone who loves capturing moments, this tutorial will guide you through the process step by step.


Before we dive into the actual transfer process, make sure you have the following items ready:

  • Mac computer: Any Mac running macOS can be used for this tutorial.
  • External hard drive: Ensure that your external hard drive is connected and recognized by your Mac.
  • Photos: Organize the photos you want to transfer into a specific folder on your Mac for easy access.

The Transfer 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. Once connected, wait for a few seconds until it shows up on your desktop or in the Finder sidebar.

Step 2: Open Finder

To access and manage files on your Mac, we’ll use Finder. You can find Finder in the Dock at the bottom of your screen or by clicking on the desktop and selecting “New Finder Window” from the “File” menu.

Step 3: Locate Your Photos Folder

In Finder, navigate to the folder where you have stored your photos. This could be in the “Pictures” folder or any other location of your choice. If necessary, use the search bar at the top-right corner of Finder to locate specific photos.

Step 4: Select Photos

Once you have found the folder containing your photos, select the photos you want to transfer. To select multiple photos, hold down the Command key while clicking on each photo. To select all photos in a folder, press Command + A.

Step 5: Copy Photos

After selecting the desired photos, right-click on one of them and choose “Copy” from the context menu. Alternatively, you can press Command + C.

Step 6: Paste Photos to External Hard Drive

Navigate to your external hard drive in Finder and open the folder where you want to store your transferred photos. Right-click inside the folder and choose “Paste Item” from the context menu. Alternatively, you can press Command + V.

Tips and Considerations

  • Create subfolders: To keep your transferred photos organized, consider creating subfolders within your external hard drive’s folder.
  • Duplicate files: When transferring photos, if a file with the same name already exists in the destination folder, macOS will ask you whether to replace or skip it.
  • Safety first: After transferring your precious photos to an external hard drive, it’s a good idea to make a backup copy somewhere else for added security.

Congratulations! You have successfully transferred your photos from your Mac to an external hard drive. By doing so, you have created extra space on your Mac while ensuring that your memories are safely stored for years to come.

If you ever need access to these transferred photos again, simply connect your external hard drive to your Mac, locate the folder, and enjoy reliving those special moments!

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