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iphoto transfer from timemachine macbookpro data to new macbook air?

5015 Views 21 Replies Latest reply: Feb 14, 2014 12:25 PM by A.dickey RSS
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EdBraz Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Aug 17, 2013 5:13 PM

Hi Folks.


I have an external HD with Timemachine saved data from my 2011 Macbook Pro which I recently sold.  I now have the brand new Macbook Air 11.6 inches and, on opening Timemachine and searching my external hard drive I am unable to find my iphoto photos that were saved onto the timemachine external drive from my old macbookpro.  All my other documents from my macbook pro are available on the external drive, including all my photos that were not saved on iphoto.  However, all the iphoto pictures from the last 2 years, family pics, holidays photos etc etc seem to have completely vanished!  What has happened??How do I find them and install them onto my new macbook air??  Very puzzled and highly traumatised!  

MacBook Air, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.4), Previously macbook pro 2011
  • sberman Level 7 Level 7 (23,650 points)

    Did you consider using Migration Assistant to transfer your data from the Time Machine backup to your new Mac?


    I believe that would capture the photos.


    Here's a knowledge base article:

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    EdBraz wrote:

    . . .

    on opening Timemachine and searching my external hard drive I am unable to find my iphoto photos that were saved onto the timemachine external drive from my old macbookpro.

    Are you sure you're looking in the right place?  Had you moved your iPhoto Library from your Pictures folder? 


    Are you looking via the Finder => Time Machine?  Do you see the iPhoto library at all?  Note that you cannot see individual photos inside it via the TM browser (the "Star Wars" display) anymore.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    No, you can't use an application or data in your backups.  Via the TM browser (the "Star Wars" display), you can view some types of files, but not images or photos.  To use them, you must restore them somewhere.


    And the Application isn't what you want anyway; you want the actual data, stored separately, in your iPhoto Library.  By default, that's in the Pictures folder inside your home folder, but you may have moved it.


    Usually, your best bet with a new Mac is to use Setup Assistant when it first starts up, to transfer all your apps, user accounts, data, settings, etc., either directly from the old Mac or it's backups, so it's automatically set up just like the old one.


    Once you've skipped that, and created a user account, you can still do that, but it takes some a finagling. 


    However, if you only want a few selected items, you might want to do it another, more tedious way.



    Please give us a better idea of what you want to do -- transfer everything; or one or more entire home folders; or just bits and pieces.  If the latter, we'll need to know how many user accounts are on your Mac now, and how many were on the backups.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    EdBraz wrote:

    . . .

    Only thing missing is the iphoto pictures.  The actual data that was in the iphoto folder - the pictures - are not in the pictures file in the backup macbook Pro Time machine stuff.  All my other pics are there.  But not a single one that I loaded directly into iphoto when I had the macbook pro.


    There is only one user - myself.  

    From that, and your response to sberman, it sounds like either:


    • The home folder was not transferred from the MacBook Pro's backups, or;


    • It was transferred to a different user account and home folder on the Air than the one you're using.   It cannot "merge" one user account into an existing one; only copy it separately.


    If, as you mention above, only your Applications were transferred (you don't mention anything else), that wouldn't get the data -- the pictures -- from the backups.  The Application is all the windows and programming you use to display and manipulate the data (pictures) that are stored in the iPhoto Library.



    Try this:  Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups.  See how many user accounts are there.  If there's more than one, log on to the other one, start the iPhoto app, and see what shows up.


    If there's only the one account, quit iPhoto and hold the Alt/Option key while re-starting it.  That should show this window:


    Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 9.42.51 PM.png


    Give it a moment to search for all iPhoto libraries.  When you select one, the location will appear under the box.  If there's more than one, select each and click Choose -- you may find the ones you're after.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    EdBraz wrote:

    . . .

    Here is the route I did:  Finder > time machine backups > My Macbook Pro folder > Chose a folder from a date from when I had the macbook pro and photos should be there > macintosh HD for that date > Users > My name folder > Pictures > iphoto Library icon >


    This this message appears:


    "The iPhoto library is a Time Machine backup, and so cannot be used as the main library. Reopen iPhoto with the Option key held down to choose another library".

    Correct.  When you click the iPhoto Library via the Finder, it tries to open it with the iPhoto app.  But you cannot open backups with an app.  You must Resrore that iPhoto Library somewhere to use it.



    Which I do.  Which then gives me one library option - iphoto.  When I click to open, iphoto does open, but only with the new macbook air uploaded photos.  My 2 years of photos of my macbook pro iphoto do not appear.

    Also correct. It's opening the one you chose, not the one in the backups (you can't choose that one).


    Really confusing for me.  How can I open a file from March 2013 and have only August 2013 pictures in there from my new computer.

    Again, you must restore the backup copy somewhere, then open the restored copy.


    Try this:  Point the Finder to your computer (open a Finder window and either select your computer in the sidebar or press Shift+Cmd+C).    Then Enter Time Machine.  Do not select anything in the Finder window yet, but select a backup in the TimeLine that was made on the MBP.  That should not be grayed out, and you should be abel to select it.


    Then navigate to your home folder (inside the /Users folder) and the iPhoto library.  Do not click the usual Restore button at the lower right.  Instead, select the iPhoto Library, control-click, choose the Restore iPhoto Library to... option, and choose an alternate location, such as your Desktop (not the location of your existing MBA iPhoto Library).


    That will restore the MBP's iPhoto Library to your Desktop, and you should be able to open it with the iPhoto app (by starting iPhoto with the Alt/Option key as above).

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    Please consider the explanations, an follow the instructions in my earlier post, carefulliy.



    It's late here, and I'm about to sign off for the night, but will be back tomorrow.

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