External Drives & MacBooks All Questions Answered


Although Apple is notorious for charging a LOT of cash for upgraded storage, MacBooks are beautiful, trendy computers.

External drives are a natural solution to this problem. This article will answer any external drive questions you might have.

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Can You Run Applications From an External Hard Drive Mac?

Almost all applications, including games, are run from an external hard drive, including solid-state drives, SD cards, and USBs on Mac OS. The only issues are compatibility and speed problems when running an app from an external drive, and the applications are only usable when the drive is connected.

Mac OS’s huge advantage over Windows is running almost all applications straight from an external hard drive without installing annoying drivers.

Mac OS makes it SO simple you can drag the application from the external drive to Mac’s desktop, and everything will copy just like that.

I’ve used everything from games to applications on my MacBook on my external drive. It just works.

Depending on your MacBook, it can be annoying always to have an external hard drive connected. You will need a USB C converter which you can buy on AmazonOpens in a new tab. if your MacBook has a thunderbolt USB C port which started with the 2015 12-inchOpens in a new tab. MacBook.

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It isn’t an issue if you use your MacBook with another monitor. However, if you’re curious to see how it’s done, you can read my handy guide.Opens in a new tab.

If you use a slower external hard drive than your MacBooks drive speed, you will see a slowdown in your workflow.

For example, the M1 MacBook AirOpens in a new tab. has almost 2,200 MB/s write and over 2,600 MB/s read speed way faster than this Seagate external hard driveOpens in a new tab. with only 120 MB/s read speed 21 times slower!

If you have an older MacBook with slower read speeds, you will notice less change, but I still recommend buying a fast external drive for the best external hard drive experience.

In most cases, this SSD will be your best bet. However, I like how small it is. It’s only 2.07 inches wide with reading speeds up to 1050Mb/s! To see which SSD I use on Amazon, you can click hereOpens in a new tab..

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Can You Run Mac Apps From an External Hard Drive?

Almost all Mac applications, including games, can be run from an external hard drive, including solid-state drives, SD cards, and USBs on Mac OS. The only issues are compatibility and speed problems when running an app from an external drive, and the applications are only usable when the drive is connected.

Do you hate to download annoying drivers on Windows? I do, too. Now on my Mac, I NEVER have to worry about installing drivers again.

On your Mac, download Macs apps on an external hard drive which could be an HDD, an SSD USB drive, or even an SD card slot all work.

I downloaded countless games & programs on my external drive. It works effortlessly; see the video below on how easy the process is.

How Do I Put Apps on My External Hard Drive Mac?

  1. Insert the external hard drive into MacBook.
  2. Open ‘disk utility select and erase the external hard drive
  3. Change external hard drive format to APFS, then click ‘erase.’
  4. Drag any application onto the external hard drive.

Mac OS doesn’t have to deal with downloading annoying drivers like Windows to use applications on an external drive. ALL you have to do is format the external drive, then drag applications onto your external drive. It’s that easy!

You likely need to format your device keep reading to know how to it.

Format External Drive

  1. Open ‘Disk Utility.’
  2. Select the external drive and erase it.
  3. Change format to APFS (Apple file system) click ‘Erase.’

Disk Utility

Delete External Drive

Putting Apps on Drive

  • Open up applications.
  • Drag & drop apps to drive.

I don’t have to explain this one. All you do is drag the application you want and drop it to your external drive.

Does your MacBook run hotter than normal? For the secret of keeping it nice & cool, consider reading my guideOpens in a new tab..

Can I Install Apps on an External SSD Mac?

Almost all Mac applications, including games, can be run from a solid-state drive, including hard drives, SD cards, and USBs on Mac OS. The only issues are compatibility and speed problems when running an app from an external drive, and the applications are only usable when the drive is connected.

Can You Run Programs From an External Hard Drive on Mac?

Almost all Mac applications, including games, can be run from a solid-state drive, including hard drives, SD cards, and USBs on Mac OS. The only issues are compatibility and speed problems when running an app from an external drive, and the applications are only usable when the drive is connected.

Can You Run Games of an External Hard Drive Mac?

Almost all Mac applications, including games, can be run from a solid-state drive, including hard drives, SD cards, and USBs on Mac OS. The only issues are compatibility and speed problems when running an app from an external drive, and the applications are only usable when the drive is connected.

The process is a little more complicated for Mac Steam OSOpens in a new tab. than dragging Mac applications to the external drive, but not that much.

All you need to do is:

How To Play Steam OS Games From External Drive

  1. Open STEAM OS.
  2. Click ‘Preferences’ on the top left corner.
  3. Select ‘Downloads.’
  4. Press the + button to add another download location.
  5. Select your external drive.

Watch my above video for an easy demonstration. After it’s done, it’s as simple as clicking the game startup disk, and you are ready to go.

How Do I Play Sims 4 on an External Hard Drive Mac?

  1. Format an external drive to AFPS.
  2. Select and drag the Sims 4 application onto the external hard drive.
  3. Click on the Sims 4 application to play it.

Assuming your external hard drive is correctly formatted, playing Sims 4 on your external drive will be as easy as dragging the application icon to the external drive. Likewise, assuming you properly set Steam downloads to work in that external hard drive.

See my above video on setting up external hard drive locations on Mac OS.

If you have a MacBook and are curious about its good for gaming, I recommend you check out my detailed post.Opens in a new tab.

Why Does It Take So Long to Transfer Files to My External Hard Drive Mac?

Likely your transfer speed is slow because you are using a slow USB 2.0 drive whose maximum reading capacity is only 35 MB/s. Even if you’re connected to a thunderbolt USB 3.0 port, the transfer speed will still be slow, or you are using a slow external hard drive.

It’s in perspective if you have an M1 MacBook Air as I do, you’re accustomed to almost 2,200 MB/s write and over 2,600 MB/s read speeds. So even if you use this Seagate external hard drive from AmazonOpens in a new tab., its read speed is 20 MB/s over 21 times slower!

Keep reading for other ways to fix the issue.

How To Fix Slow Transfer Speeds On Mac

  • Change adapter to a USB 3.0 Compatible adapter.
  • Convert the external drive from FAT 32 to APFS.
  • Turn off the spotlight for the external drive.
  • Delete problem finder files.
  • Purchase an SSD.

1. Change to a USB 3.0 External Drive.

MacBooks got thunderbolt 3Opens in a new tab. in 2016 with USB C read speed up to 40 GbpsOpens in a new tab.. Unfortunately, if you’re using a slow USB 2.0 drive, the fastest it can read is only 35 MB/s, far slower than it should be.

I recommend looking at the best 3.0 USB external drives on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

2. Turn Off Spotlight for External Drives

  1. Open system preferences and click the spotlight.
  2. Click on the privacy tab.
  3. Click + at the bottom to add your USB drive.
  4. The next time the USB device is plugged in, the spotlight will ignore it.

If you don’t know the spotlight, press the command button and spacebar. At the same time, this highlights an indexing tool that enables you to search on your MacBook for everything you want.

Spotlight could cause slower external read speeds every time a drive is connected. The spotlight will scan the files on it above is how you display it from happening.

3. Format the External Drive APFS.

If your external drive is formatted to FAT32Opens in a new tab., this is a Windows file system. It is incorrect for Apple. Apple uses APFS (Apple File System) it is the best format for external hard drives.

If you can still use the external hard drive on Windows or a gaming system, it hasn’t correctly been formatted for Mac OS. See above on how to format to APFS correctly.

Delete Problem Render Files

Rarely preference files linked to the finder app can be broken or corrupted, causing files to transfer slow. Deleting finder preferences fixes this issue.

  1. Search for ~/Library/Preferences/ in the Spotlight bar, and click the top result to open the Preferences folder.
  2. In the new window, locate this file com.apple.finder.plist.
  3. Right-click and select Move to Trash.
  4. Now close the folder and restart your Mac.

Don’t worry. It won’t damage Finder as Mac regenerates the deleted preference file itself.

How Do I Use an External Hard Drive Instead of an Internal on a Mac?

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. Immediately after the chime, press and hold down the. “OPTION” key.
  3. Release the key when the boot manager appears.
  4. Select the disk icon for the external HDD.
  5. Click on the arrow button below the icon.

If your MacBooks internal hard drive is ever damaged, you can use an external hard drive to boot up your MacBook.

Want to keep your MacBook nice and protected? Discover the truth if cases are good or if they can damage your MacBook in my article.Opens in a new tab.

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