1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply: May 14, 2014 9:20 PM by LarryHN
G.I.Bling Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hi everyone i am asking the question and i hope that someone can spell it out for me,

I am a lot short on hard drive space and i am an avid photographer, could some one explain how to get my photos backed up onto a disc so that i can delete them from my hard drive.

i have only 42.6 MB left

iPhoto '11, iOS 6.1
  • 1. Re: How to back up iPhoto library
    Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (123,875 points)

    DO this immeadiately


    OS X needs about 10 gigs of hard drive space for normal OS operations - things like virtual memory, temporary files and so on. Without this space your Mac will slow down as the OS hunts for space on the disk, files will be fragmented, also slowing things down, apps will crash and the risk of data corruption - that is damage to your files, photos, music - increases exponentially. Your first priority is to make more space on that HD. Nothing else can be done until you do. Purchase an external HD and move your Photos and Music to it. Both iPhoto and iTunes can run perfectly well with the Library on an external disk.



    Make sure the drive is formatted Mac OS Extended (Journaled)


    1. Quit iPhoto


    2. Copy the iPhoto Library from your Pictures Folder to the External Disk.


    3. Hold down the option (or alt) key while launching iPhoto. From the resulting menu select 'Choose Library' and navigate to the new location. From that point on this will be the default location of your library.


    4. Test the library and when you're sure all is well, trash the one on your internal HD to free up space.



    But note: this is not a back up. You have only moved the Library. A back up is a copy on another disk.






  • 2. Re: How to back up iPhoto library
    Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (115,720 points)

    If you want to have a current day to day backup of your iPhoto library you will need to have a second EHD drive and use it with Time Machine to backup your first EHD drive (and your boot drive for other documents if desired)




    use the second EHD drive with a backup application like Synk Pro,, Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper, etc., to incrementally backup (i.e. copy only new or modified files) the iPHoto library each day.  But the backup must be on a different volume that the original iPhoto Library.



  • 3. Re: How to back up iPhoto library
    rocgain Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Terence could you please make the distinction between backing up and



    In step 2. you state "copy" the library to the external disk but in your

    finale note you warn: "But note: this is not a back up. You have only moved the Library. A back up is a copy on another disk."


    Seems like this IS backing up.


    If I drag and drop my iPhoto icon to an external drive, then I am moving it not copying it so it is not backed up,



    If I want to be absolutely sure that my original iPhoto library is safe and protected what should be done

    before moving it or copying it or fiddling with it?


    Sorry, I'm so confused, but I want to be sure I don't lose any of my photos before I do a rebuild.


    Thank you.

  • 4. Re: How to back up iPhoto library
    LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (56,705 points)

    But note: this is not a back up. You have only moved the Library. A back up is a copy on another disk.

    As soon as you copy the library you have a backup


    BUT when you modify the original you now do not since the two libraries are different and if either one is lost or damaged you have no way to retore it


    You do not tell enough about your system to be sure or your work flow but the general answer to your appearent needs is to move the iPhoto library to an external drive therby freeing up space on your boot drive - do this by

    Moving the iPhoto library is safe and simple - quit iPhoto and drag the iPhoto library intact as a single entity to the external drive - depress the option key and launch iPhoto using the "select library" option to point to the new location on the external drive - fully test it and then trash the old library on the internal drive (test one more time prior to emptying the trash)



    And be sure that the External drive is formatted Mac OS extended (journaled) (iPhoto does not work with drives with other formats) and that it is always available prior to launching iPhoto




    You need to start baking up immediately - without a backupyou are 100% guarenteed to lose all f yoru files including yoru photos sooner or later


    And backup soon and often - having your iPhoto library on an external drive is not a backup and if you are using Time Machine you need to check and be sure that TM is backing up your external drive


    I suggest adding a Time Capsule (you can not share one drive with Time Machine and the iPhoto library) and starting Time Machine quickly



  • 5. Re: How to back up iPhoto library
    Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (123,875 points)

    See step 4? That's why it's not a back up.

  • 6. Re: How to back up iPhoto library
    thedrinkgirl Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm so sorry if I confuse you; however, my iMac is saying that the startup disk is full and I know that I have a filled iPhoto library.  I followed your steps to copy the library to my external drive but I'm scared to delete the one on my computer.  Also, in trying to follow your post steps, I'm confused with step 3.  Is that creating a new icon on my desktop? I'm such a chicken that I'm afraid to try anything and I have video's that need to be uploaded and I have no space.  HELP please!!    Thanks so much!!!, Shannon

  • 7. Re: How to back up iPhoto library
    JSMad Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    OK. to add to this confusion, Iphoto won't open entirely and shuts itself down after i walk away from ther computer for about an hour. I can't copy the Iphoto library because "some of the data cannot be read or written to". But I can go into the library then copy the "master" folder. will that give me the photos from the library?

  • 8. Re: How to back up iPhoto library
    LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (56,705 points)



    Threadjacking is not a good idea and since it is unlikely that your issue is anything like the original issue you may very well get the wrong answers by doing it


    start a new thread and describe your system and problem in detail



  • 9. Re: How to back up iPhoto library
    gail from maine Level 6 Level 6 (11,610 points)

    Hi Larry/Terence,


    GB here. I'm sure you would have a much greater level of wisdom to impart to Stephen on this thread:




    Can you help?





  • 10. Re: How to back up iPhoto library
    LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (56,705 points)

    Actually I think you gave good advice  --  I have no idea how to access the iPad backup or if you even can


    Probably Stephen should ask in the iPad forum rather than the iPhoto for IOS forum since it is not an iPhoto for IOS issue but an iPad problem - the placd that iPad experts hang out is the best place to ask



  • 11. Re: How to back up iPhoto library
    gail from maine Level 6 Level 6 (11,610 points)

    Thanks Larry!



  • 12. Re: How to back up iPhoto library
    earthwhile Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Protecting our valuable data- pictures, videos, documents...is one of the most important, required tasks of owning and using a computer and not having it drive you nuts! It's also kind of boring and time-consuming and that's why folks often overlook it's importance. IT IS VITAL!


    Several years ago when I was newbie, my only external hard drive full of videos failed in the middle of a paid editing project. It was in that miserable moment I realized how stupid I felt about not backing up those files. My excuse was I didn't have enough money for another hard drive! That kind of thinking sinks ships.


    The only thing I can add here that may not have been covered is this: If you're going to backup iPhoto (for instance) onto an external hard drive and then delete the original from your system drive, what happens if the ext hard drive craps out on you while you make a backup of it to a second ext hard drive? It's not likely, but it happens!


    The safe way is to copy iPhoto to both ext hard drives first, then delete the original from your system drive.


    Some people may complain they don't have enough money to buy an additional hard drive and I get that. The truth is if you have anything on your computer, such as photos, and they mean A LOT to you and you don't have them backed up, you will truly be bummed, furious, flabbergasted, etc. if they disappear forever. If you can't afford external hard drives, you can always backup the original images in iPhoto (go to Documents, then Pictures, find iPhoto Library, don't open it, but select Show Package Contents and your original images are in the Masters folder) to CD's or DVD's.


    If you haven't lost all your original files from a hard drive (yet), you may be inclined to say you'll get around to it soon. Guaranteed when it happens (and it eventually will) you'll be having one of those "I knew I shoulda done that!" moments. You'll notice I've mentioned this a few times here. Just can't overstate the importance of backup. Today hard drives are super cheap and keep getting cheaper.

  • 13. Re: How to back up iPhoto library
    sheerkan Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Bling,   You mentioned your "icon".    Make sure you are backing up your "iPhoto Library", not "iPhoto" or your iPhoto App!

  • 14. Re: How to back up iPhoto library
    Sentinel Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Googled out to this thread because the copy operation was saying 24 hours for 55GB...(***?!?!)


    But sure enough, after seriously thinking about what it was copying - and doing it exCRUtiatingly slowly for about 20 minutes) it started speeding along like normal.


    So ya, about 1GB/minute.

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