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Can I Put My Photos Library On a Home Server?

My main computer is a MacBook 12″ Retina running Mac OS Catalina. Due to its limited storage I decided to move my Photo Library to an external SSD some time ago. Now recently I got this 2012 Mac mini and turned it into a “Home Server” I installed Mac OS High Sierra on it because of I need it to be able to run Mac OS Server 5.6 as well as some apps no longer supported on Catalina. Is is possible, safe or good idea to copy my photo library to this Mini to be able to open it the library on my MacBook when I’m at home without fear of the library becoming corrupt? I have to say that at the moment I’m connecting to the Mini using the sharing pane in system preferences as I haven’t set up the Mac OS Server app yet. Has anyone tried using this setup with success? Any recommendations?

Comments: 3 Responses to “Can I Put My Photos Library On a Home Server?”

    2 years ago

    I suppose it would work. You could try it anyway, and always go to another solution if you find it is a hassle. I can't think of why it would become corrupt. it may be slow though, I think that would be the main problem. A "local" library would normally be accessed over a fast internal drive or fast-enough external. But network speeds are much slower than that. I can't imagine scrolling over thousands of photos like I do regularly.

    And backups are an issue. How do you plan to back up your photos? Often photos are the most valuable thing a user has and the first things you want to back up, perhaps even several ways. But backing up when it is a server is much tougher.

    But I don't see why you would do this over just using iCloud Photos. That will save you space and you'd never have to worry about connecting to an external drive or the server first. Plus you could access your photos on other devices if you have any (iPhone, iPad, other Mac, web). And it just works, without you needing to set things up and maintain them. The only downside is the cost, but at $3/month for 200 GB I can't see that being a factor for you as you are buying all of this server stuff and an external SSD. Three years of iCloud is probably still cheaper than an external SSD, right?

    Mark W
    2 years ago

    Apple does not recommend or support placing a Photos library on any network-accessed drive. Sometimes it may work for a while, but it can cause problems in the long run.

    2 years ago

    Mark: This makes sense. Can you point me to where you see this official recommendation as I'd like to be able to add the link here.

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