Separate Data Partition?

For my MacBook Pro (MBP), I’m thinking of creating a second partition on my hard drive for data. Primarily this would be data like photos, documents. Reasons for this are to keep data separate (back in windows world, I would wipe out the windows installation) and for easier backup of data.

  1. is it possible to move the Users directory to another partition?
  2. What cons are there for moving the Users directory
  3. If it’s not a good idea to move Users, should I just have data like photos and documents in that separate partition?

Thanks for your thoughts.

You can move individual Home directories to another drive. Here are some thorough instructions:

However if your drive is formatted APFS (and if you are running Mojave it certainly is) partitions actually share the same area on the drive, so you aren’t really getting any benefit. If you aren’t doing a full clone backup, you can always specify which directories to back up.

Bottom line is there is no advantage to doing this and it might cause problems just because of the unusual setup.

macOS Catalina will do this for you. Your system will live on a read-only partition separate from your data.

I tried this once. If your Users folder is in a different partition that is encrypted, MacOS won’t find it on boot.

In my opinion, on a Mac there’s no advantage to doing this, and depending on how you partition the drive you may end up wasting space.

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Thanks for the responses. I won’t carry over this remnant from Windows

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A bit late to the party, but I will also second the idea that there is little reason to partition the main boot drive on a Mac.

The main purpose I have found to doing so is when there is something potentially incompatible existing on a drive. For example, if you use a single external drive for both clones and Time Machine, putting these two backups on separate partitions is helpful and avoids some problems. (Leaving aside the question of whether both of you backups should be on the same physical drive!)

I have found that while you can locate your home folder on a drive separate from MacOS, this can lead to problems. As already pointed out, doing so on an encrypted drive is problematic, but if store your home folder on an external drive and for any reason it is not available when you log in, you account will be nonfunctional.

What I do for relocating my home folder to an external drive (it lives on a Drobo) is to have my real home folder on the boot drive, all of my files on the Drobo, and symlinks for some relevant folders to the proper places on the external drive. Cloud sharing services (Dropbox, ResilioSync, etc) will usually let you relocate the folder location.

Also note that with APFS, while the underlying hard drive is partitioned, I don’t know that it makes sense to create separate partitions at the drive level any more. Rather, creating multiple APFS volumes in a single APFS container lets the drives share the available storage space. WIth a partition approach, if you allocate 1TB to a partition that winds up needing 1GB, the rest of the space remains unusable. Therefore, if I wanted multiple volumes now on a single physical drive, I would be more inclined to make an APFS container and put multiple APFS volumes into it.

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