Tip: Store iMovie projects on an external hard drive

Icon tips and tricks

Icon tips and tricksIn times of small SSD hard drives with few GB storage space and cameras that take 12 megapixel photos and videos in 4k cinema quality, more and more users have the problem that the hard drive is too small for all the input. One way to free up space is to move [iMovie projects->imovie] to [external hard drives->usb3 hard drive]. The connection with [USB3->usb] or [Thunderbolt->thunderbolt hard disk] also enables quick work in iMovie, even if the data is not on the internal disk.

Moving the iMovie projects works like this: You open iMovie and then go to the "Project Media Center". It is in the main window at the top left and shows the hard disks and, underneath, the individual projects that are on the respective disks. Now press the CTRL key (at least under Mac OS X) and then move the project to the smbol of the external hard drive where it should go. Then you choose in the dialog whether you want to move only the project or also the events (the original clips) there. And the action is done!


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  1. close look says:

    Hello Sir Apfelot and readers of the blog,
    I would be interested in the opposite way. I used iMovie to cut films on a friend's computer for a month and then dragged all of the projects and events onto a fat USB stick. In the meantime I have organized a new Mac myself and would now like to continue to use the stick as a storage location for all iMovie work and cut further films from the existing and new material. How do I get iMovie to recognize the stick as a place of work and to display the existing projects - or even better just a self-defined selection of them - in the program window?
    Is there a tip for me?
    Greetings from nahblick

  2. maggus says:

    Hello, thank you for the suggestions. My external hard drive (1 TB) does not appear. It is formatted in "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)". Do you have another tip what I can do?

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi Maggus!

      But that's strange. Does the hard drive show up in Disk Utility? Or in the finder? Or not everywhere?
      LG the sir!

  3. Gwen says:

    Hello Sir Apfelot,
    can imovie 10.4.1 also outsource the libraries from imovie? The program no longer shows me hard drives. Or is that only possible via the finder?
    I've been google for days and would be really happy for an answer:)


    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Gwen! Yes I think so. The procedure is always the same: you move the folder with the film projects to an external disk, make an alias of the folder on the new disk and move it to where the old folder was before and name it the same. You can also test that without any problems and - if it doesn't work - drag your original iMovie folder back to its old location.

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