External storage solution for 2017 iMac

Hi there,
I have a 2017 iMac with a 1TB internal SSD that’s nearly full. I back it up using Backblaze and have a clone, but the SSD is nearly full… I don’t do much content creation, but have a lot of photos and videos that take up space. So, what’s the best solution to add more space? Am thinking of adding an external drive, but do I want a simple USB3 or thunderbolt? Hard to imagine that I need an external SSD drive, and I’d rather not pay for any thunderbolt if I don’t need to… thoughts?

If it’s storage that doesn’t require lightening fast access, the less expensive option I’ve used is Western Digital 3TB MyCloud. It’s a spinner so there is that risk, but I’ve found it holds my files, photos and movies just fine.

Others will suggest expensive, extravagant solutions. Sometimes simple is best.

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Keep in mind that if you use the Photos app with iCloud that this only works with the library stored on the internal drive.

Not true - you just need to select make system library within settings of Photos for the library stored on the external drive. Have mine happily stored on an external Samsung T7 drive and its syncing without issues. It might cause issues on a laptop where it’s not attached all the time, but I’ve not run in to issues on my Mac Mini. It’s even got an Apple Support page.

I’d got for a spinning hard drive with USB 3 if it was purely to be accessed by you and wasn’t speed critical and you wanted space. Even then, opening a document off of a spinning drive isn’t to much slower that I’ve noticed. Larger or more complex documents might mind.


nope. put that library wherever you want.

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I use a G-Tech Thunderbolt 3 drive with my 2017 5K iMac.


The TB3 is really fast, and great if you are backing up lots of photos. Personally I won’t go back to anything slower if I can avoid it.

Like @drezha said, one way to reclaim space on your internal SSD is to move your photo library to an external drive. Easily done and works great, just remember to turn on the external drive!

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A thanks for pointing that out.
I recall that it did not work a while ago, glad to know it does now.

Thanks. Really appreciate all the posts. Think solution is definitely to move photos library externally.