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Should I save my large iphoto library to an external hardrive?

1214 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Sep 15, 2013 3:18 PM by LarryHN RSS
bertaloha Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Sep 12, 2013 10:19 PM

I am about to transfer all my files, etc. from my old mac book to a new macbook pro. I don't want to bog it down with lots of junk. I want some of my photos on it, but not my whole iphoto library. How should I back up my whole library and only transfer part with migration assistant to my new mac?

MacBook, Mac OS X (10.7.5), before I transfer to new macbook pr
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (221,030 points)

    Migration Assistant can transfer your entire library, but it cannot transfer a part of it. To do that you need to create a second library containing only the pictures you wish to transfer to the new computer.

  • PlotinusVeritas Level 6 Level 6 (13,640 points)

    regardless of migrating your photos from old to new mac, per your question line----"Should I save my large iphoto library to an external hardrive?"  ......YES


    Never consider any computer a data storage device, ever. period.


    2 copies is 1, and one is none.    Nobody should ever consider their collection and irreplaceable pics/ data etc. safe up and until there are at least 2 copies other than that on the computer itself.  A backup (time machine etc.) and an archived storage on a HD, and/or DVD backups.


    Storage is very cheap. A nice 1TB Toshiba HD is only $65, or $50 per TB on 3.5" external HD


    People spend a fortune on computers, but forget the only really important thing is the data they spent YEARS making and saving, pic, documents, etc etc. is only on ONE place, the computer.,....thats just a disaster waiting to happen.  

    Dont make that mistake

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,725 points)

    1. Don't use Migration Assistant with an iPhoto Library. Its record is patchy and we see plenty of reports on here from people who have had issues.


    2. You can easily archive a library to an external disk. You can also retain part of it on your internal drive.


    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.


    Now you have two full versions of the Library.


    3. On the Internal library, trash the Events you don't want there


    Now you have a full copy of the Library on the External and a smaller subset on the Internal


    Some Notes:


    • As a general rule: when deleting photos do them in batches of about 100 at a time. iPhoto can baulk at trashing large numbers at one go.


    • You can choose which Library to open: Hold down the option (or alt) key key and launch iPhoto. From the resulting menu select 'Choose Library'



    Migrating to the new machine is easy:


    To move an iPhoto Library to a new machine:


    Link the two Macs together: there are several ways to do this: Wireless Network,Firewire Target Disk Mode, Ethernet, or even just copy the Library to an external HD and then on to the new machine...


    But however you do choose to link the two machines...


    Simply copy the iPhoto Library from the Pictures Folder on the old Machine to the Pictures Folder on the new Machine.


    Then launch iPhoto. That's it.


    This moves photos, events, albums, books, keywords, slideshows and everything else.


    And yes, PlotinusVeritas is absolutely correct, you need to back up the library on the external... to another external.

  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (54,880 points)

    Kappy wrote:


    Migration Assistant can transfer your entire library, but it cannot transfer a part of it. To do that you need to create a second library containing only the pictures you wish to transfer to the new computer.

    This is NOT recommended - Migration assistant often causes problems and damages the iPhoto library


    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



    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




    If you only want some of it back on the main system depress teh option key, launch iPhoto and create a new library - use iPhoto Library Manager - -   move photos, etc between libraries





  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (113,210 points)

    You can use Migration Assistant to get all of your files to the new MacBook Pro.  However, since there's a track record with iPhoto Libraries having problems after such a transfer I suggest you do the following:


    1. delete the migrated library from your new MacBook Pro.
    2. copy the library directly from the old Macbook to the external HD and test it to confirm that it works as it should and all photos are there.
    3. create a new, empty library on your new MBP.
    4. use the paid version of  iPhoto Library Manager to copy those Events and/or album you want from the EHD library to the new, MBP library.  This will also include keywords, titles, places, etc.




  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (54,880 points)

    1 - assuming that you have a default managed library and that the LaCie HD is formatted Mac OS extended (journaled) then yes


    2 - to discuss we need to user terms correctly - in iPhoto albums are logical organiazially elements that have no physical existance - so your question does not make sense


    If you are calling the iPhoto library an album (incorrect usage) then you need to understand how iphoto works - it is a SQLite database program and older versions of iPhoto can not read new iphoto libraries - so typically older Macs can not share a library with a newer mac


    The iPhoto library can be on an external drive - and you can have multiple libraries (if you do it is best to pruchase iPhoto Library Manager - -  to manage them and to move photos between them)


    Plkease explain what you want using standard terminolgy so we all understand what you are saking



  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (54,880 points)

    My old mac has been upgraded and has iphoto '11, 9.4.3. So it can share with my new MBP, right?

    Yes - as long as both have the same version of iPhoto


    as to brand of Hard drive - totally personal chi=oice - I personally like OWC (Other World Computing) but the brand makes no difference - only the format which must be Mac OS extended (journaled)


    That way my first LaCie would have my whole HD user folder from old mac on it, and 2nd one would be a back up to iphoto library?

    Ok - having a gooc backup is critical to not losing photos


    Can that work so that I can plug it into into my new mac and edit/save some smaller albums onto my new mac's iphoto?

    again we run into language problems - and it is important to use the correct words since if the wrong words  are used then we will not understand each other and things will get messed up


    You can not save albums

    in iPhoto albums are logical organiazially elements that have no physical existance

    They are simply entries in the iPhoto library database - you can move them between libraries using iPhoto library manager - you can change the computer a hard drive is connected to and open the iPhoto library with the current computer - You can not move photos, event, albums or anything else using iPhoto - it does not do that - it works onnly with its current library and knows nothing about any other library - IPLM came about to resolve that and it does it well along with several potheer functions like duplicate identification


    If you want a small library on your new Mac and a big library on an external drive you will want IPLM to manage thsoe libraries



  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (54,880 points)

    That is a question of FatCat - the authors of IPLM


    I would think so but that is only a guess




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