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Backing up and restoring iPhoto Library

8073 Views 17 Replies Latest reply: Aug 15, 2013 8:17 AM by Terence Devlin RSS
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Rick Spradling Calculating status...
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Mar 30, 2013 5:43 AM

I am currently using Time Machine to back up my iMac, including my iPhoto Library, which is quite large (80 GB). If I have to restore the iPhoto Library, will the photos retain their descriptions so that I an reorganize them?  How about using a cloud-based backup such as Backblaze or Crashplan?

iMac and MacBookPro, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (54,845 points)
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    Mar 30, 2013 7:40 AM (in response to Rick Spradling)

    Yes - TM backups up and restores the iPhoto library just fine - note that it has been reported that TM does not backup up the iPhoto library when iPhoto is running so it is best not to leave iPhoto running unless you are using it.

     

    instructions for TM are here - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1427?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

     

    No - cloud based backups are not better - in fact they probably will not work - The iPhoto library must be on a volume formatted mac OS extended (journaled) and as far as I have seen no cloud based backup system has that - and equally as important iPhoto libraries get very large so just the restore time is too long to be useful - multiple local hard drives is the way to go for multiple backups

     

    LN

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,375 points)
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    Mar 30, 2013 9:34 AM (in response to Rick Spradling)

    In addition to the article LarryHN pointed to, you may want to look at this document for restoring iPhoto Libraries from Time Machine (if you are using iPhoto '11 or later - I am not sure, if your profile signature is still current)  iPhoto '11: Restoring from Time Machine with iPhoto '11 (9.2 or later) and OS X Lion 10.7.2 (or later)

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,655 points)
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    Mar 31, 2013 2:13 AM (in response to Rick Spradling)

    There is no restore method that would "put the backup into iPhoto" so I wold clarify this with the service providers.

     

    Most common report we see on here from people restoring from an online back up: That it can take days to restore. It can take a very long time to download 50+ gigs of data.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,655 points)
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    Mar 31, 2013 8:46 AM (in response to Rick Spradling)

    Well that "restore" should work but it's not quite the same as backing up the whole library.

     

    It is too much? Well, I come close to that but - like you - I have a local back up and two remotes (on in my car, one stored at a relatives house. So for the online storage, rather than backing up the entire thing again, instead I just backed up the photos themselves.  There are many options: Flickr, Picasa, SmugMug etc. However, check the terms of your account carefully. While most sites have free uploading, you will often find that these uploads are limited in terms of the file size or the bandwidth you can use per month. For access that allows you to upload full size pics with no restrictions you may need to pay.

     

    FWIW I use SmugMug. My logic is...if the Mac fails, I have the local back up, if that's gone I have two more, and then if they're gone, well at least I have the photos. Plus I can view them from any computer in the world.

     

    Regards

     

     

    TD

  • PollyfromUT Calculating status...
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    Apr 25, 2013 6:12 AM (in response to Terence Devlin)

    I tried to move my iphoto library onto Dropbox (very bad idea - I know that now) in order to back it up.  I realized my mistake and tried to move it back about a minute later.  Now my photos are gone.  When I try to "import to library" the iphoto library is grey.  I know the photos are gone because I checked the disk usage and it used to be half full and now it's only 25% full.  So I lost around 100GB of photos.

     

    My husband put all our photos on his iPod.  We were using iPhoto 2008, so I upgraded to iPhoto 11 to see if I could put the photos on the iCloud and access them that way, but the photos don't show up in iCloud.  The message boards say to email the photos to myself and input them one and a time, but that would take forever since we have around 6,000 photos on the iPod.

     

    Please, please help!  I have two sons, one 3 and the other 12 months, and the photos are their baby pictures and pictures of those precious moments.  I can't believe I was trying to backup these precious things and did the opposite - intentionally ruined them.  I'm heartsick about it.

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,375 points)
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    Apr 25, 2013 6:46 AM (in response to PollyfromUT)

    Polly,

    how long ago is that since you moved the iPhoto library?

    Do you have a Time Machine backup of your system? If yes, use that to restore the library.

     

    If not, use media recovery software to find any picture files on your Mac. Don't do anything, that might write to the disk and delete more files on your Mac.

     

    For example "Disk Drill" from  http://www.cleverfiles.com/  works well to recover image files. This will not restore the iPhoto Library and your edits and tags, but find most of the pictures, if they have not been erased from the disk.

     

    The photos on the phone will have a poorer resolution, so try to recover from your Mac what you can restore first.

     

    Regards

    Léonie

  • PollyfromUT Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 25, 2013 6:51 AM (in response to léonie)

    I moved the library two days ago.  I had not used Time Machine.

  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (54,845 points)
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    Apr 25, 2013 6:58 AM (in response to PollyfromUT)

    Note that things do fail - people make mistakes - software has bugs and hardware fails - without a backup anyh of these can cause lose of your files and photos - a backup is your ony protection against lose of them - you p=may or may not recover them this time but for the future you should purchase an external hard drive at least 1 1/2 tiems the size of your main drive (2 1/2 is better) and start using Time Machine ASAP

     

    For now see is you can find an iPhoto library and/or a masters folder - the masters folder in th eiPhoto library contains yoru oritinal photos by default and ifyou can fine it on disk or restore it from DropBox you can start over with a new iPhoto library with all of your photos

     

    LN

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,375 points)
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    Apr 25, 2013 7:23 AM (in response to LarryHN)

    Larry,

    I am concerned about this:

      I know the photos are gone because I checked the disk usage and it used to be half full and now it's only 25% full.  So I lost around 100GB of photos.

    If the crippeled copy of the iPhoto Library from Dropbox is all that has been left, then it is really important to stop all write operations to the drive until all images that can be recovered have been recovered. I'd wait with copying from "Masters" and "Preview" until the recovery software has done its job - at least not write to the same drive.

  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (54,845 points)
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    Apr 25, 2013 7:28 AM (in response to léonie)

    Good point - unless DB has a full sized Masters folder

     

    LN

  • PollyfromUT Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 25, 2013 7:45 AM (in response to LarryHN)

    What does this all mean?  I'm not sure exactly what to do.  I don't know what a Masters folder is.  And I don't know how to avoid writing on it.  I'm stressed.

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