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Can't view my iPhoto libary in Time Machine backup

1578 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Jul 8, 2013 9:06 AM by Old Toad RSS
ninjagori Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 7, 2013 12:56 AM

So here is the issue; I often view my pictures of iPhoto by going directly into the iPhoto Library: Finder --> Pictures --> iPod Photo Cache --> iPhoto Library --> then right click on this "iPhoto Library" --> Show Package Content... and I can view all my photoes/events the way I uploaded them from my camera.

So far everything is good. However, when I'm going into my External Hard Drive which I'm using as my Time Machine (Seagate Backup Plus FOR MAC) and trying to locate the same folder there I can NOT find it. The only folders I can locate under my latest backup (and every backup since I started using this external device) are:

- AlbumData2.xml

- iPhoto.ipspot

- Metadata Backup --> BackupStatus.impeta

- Metadata Backup (original) --> BackupStatus.impeta


All of the files are extremly small (like few KB) compare to my 280GB iPhoto Library.


Can anyone help me find my complete "iPhoto Library" on my external backup drive.



iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.8), I'm using iPhoto 11
  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,535 points)

    Finder --> Pictures --> iPod Photo Cache --> iPhoto Library -->

    Is that a typo, or is your iPhoto Library really inside a folder called "iPod Photo Cache". If yes, that is a bad idea. The name is reserved for a cache inside an iPhoto library, and files with this name are treated  special, for example may be excluded from the backup.

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,535 points)

    It is very likely. I do not dare to try that with my library just for testing.


    This looks like you corrupted your iPhoto Library at some time by accidentally dragging files from the iPhoto library package. Opening the iPhoto Library package for browsing is risky, and should only be done, when it is necessary to rescue a broken iPhoto library. There are safer ways to view your pictures. TD has a great user tip on how to view your pictures:                  How to Access Files in iPhoto


    I'd recommend the following, before you move your iPhoto library:

    • Check, where the library is, that iPhoto is currently using: Selct one of your photos in iPhoto's Browser and use the command "File > Reveal in Finder". Where is the image file located in the Finder? Inside the iPhoto Library in your iPod Photo Cache?
    • Search with Spotlight, if you have more than one library: Enter ".photolibrary" into the search field.
    • If you see several Libraries, open them in turn, to see which is the correct library.


    Once you have identified the correct iPhoto Library, drag it to the Pictures folder.


    That is the place where it should be installed.




  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,535 points)


    I forgot to ask - why are you looking for the pictures on your backup drive? Is the iPhoto library in your folder "Finder --> Pictures --> iPod Photo Cache --> iPhoto Library"  not working correctly? Do you need to restore yor iPhoto Library from your backup drive?


    The default place for an iPhoto Library is in the "Pictures" folder in your Home folder. Is there still an iPhoto Library in this place? Have you looked in your backups in the "Pictures" folder for a backup of your iPhoto Library?

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,535 points)

    You are welcome.

    My concern now, is that if I just simply move the iPhoto Library by dragging it to the main Picture folder I will loose the link between the source (which are the photoes in the iPhoto Library) and the pictures I'm looking at when opening the iPhoto application.

    Moving the library between folders will not break the connection between the thumbnails and the original image files, as long as you drag the library as an entity - the whole package and not folders inside. So dragging the iPhoto library one level up, outside the "iPod Photo Cache" folder, the links shoud stay intact.


    Have you checked your Time Machine preferences, if you excluded your iPhoto Library from backup?

    if you press the "Options" button in the "System Preferences > Time Machine" panel, it will show a list of items, that are excluded from backup.

    Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 12.37.15MESZ.PNG

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,535 points)

    o.k., then try, if moving the library outside the "iPod Photo Cache" folder will get it backed up again.

  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (113,315 points)

    Did you look inside the iPod Photo Cache folder while  in Time Machine to see if there was a backup copy of the libkrary inside? 



  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,535 points)

    Maybe it's a good query for Apple Support to figure out why Time Machine skips folders (actually a major one like iPhoto Library) without providing any notifications that these folders were excluded!

    Time Machine skips caches, that can easily be rebuild, when the app is launched. None of my Time Machine backups of an iPhoto Library or an Aperture Library contains the "iPod Photo Cache" folder. That saves a lot of space on the backup volume and makes backing up faster. It was just very unfortunate, that you stored your iPhoto Library inside one of these caches.

  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (113,315 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 8, 2013 9:06 AM (in response to léonie)

    With an earlier version of iPhoto and system TM wouldn't backup an iPhoto Library if the library was opened. But that was fixed with the new system.  It could have been Snow Leopard, I don't remember. That young whippersnapper Terence, might remember.


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