11 Replies Latest reply: Apr 8, 2010 7:25 AM by DiploStrat
kyledravis Level 1 (0 points)
Can I use Time Machine to back up my library rather than the vault? If my macbook was stolen, would I be able to use the Time Machine backup of my library on a new/different computer? Would all of my versions and adjustments be intact? P.S. I don't use referenced images.

MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • Matthew Bergsma Level 3 (600 points)
  • switcher98223 Level 1 (15 points)
    Can you elaborate. I've received mixed information on this (even from an Apple genius) that suggested Time Machine is not an option.
  • StuartOnline Level 1 (45 points)
    I do not use Time Machine to backup Aperture Library. But I do use Time Machine to backup the system (computer) which means the program itself (Aperture 3 software) is backup. This way if I need an new system it is easy to get back up and running again.

    Personally I do not store any of my image in the computer (MacBook Pro). I use external Firewire 800 portable hard drives. I use both LaCie 320GB Rugged Triple Interface Portable Hard Drive and Iomega 500GB eGo Portable Mac Edition Hard Drive. When importing to Aperture 3.02 library I also backup images to another drive at the time of the import. I use the Vault to backup Aperture 3 Library. Besides my main drive I have two drives that I use for the Vault backup. So now I have backup images and two library backups. I am thinking of going to a 3rd vault on another portable hard drive and store that one in my safety deposit box.

    My feeling is I will never be able to get these images back again if something major happens. And trust me it will happened in due time. So having a number of backups and storing them off site is a must in my opion.
  • William Lloyd Level 7 (21,040 points)
  • kyledravis Level 1 (0 points)
    I figured it out. Hopefully this will help others as well! I made a "Test" library in Aperture, backed it up with Time Machine and then deleted the library from my macbook. Next, I went into Time Machine and restored the library from the previous backup. Once it was back on my mac, I opened it in aperture and everything was fine! All of my edits, labels, faces and places were exactly the same as before.
  • switcher98223 Level 1 (15 points)
    So, the complete "backup" on Time Machine works, but we are not able to "enter" the Time Machine interface to select individual photos like we can with say a document in the documents folder, or pictures in an iPhoto library?
  • Matthew Bergsma Level 3 (600 points)
    That is absolutely correct.
  • Matthew Bergsma Level 3 (600 points)
    For users looking for a more configurable/technical option using rSync. This is a good donationware app: http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/systemdiskutilities/backuplist.html

    It could be useful in scenarios where you don't want the all or nothing approach of time machine - (I have mine setup to ignore the previews and thumbnails during the backup of the library, since I can regenerate those from a backup in worst case scenario, and the thumbnails are packed into single BLOB-like files making backups of these slow).
  • ericnepean Level 1 (60 points)
    If you use Time Machine to backup your library, I believe it will store a new copy of the whole library if you change even one tiny part of the Library. If you have a Library with managed masters, the Library file exceeds 100GB rather soon, and this uses up backup space rather quickly.

    On the other hand, if you use referenced masters, then your Aperture Library will be much smaller, probably much less that 50GB. Time Machine will back up each master once as you add it, and not again, since they don't change. Then you can choose to use Time Machine to backup your library file with all the adjustments, keywords and project organization, which will still chew up backup drive space, but not as quickly as before.

    Or, you can set up a small partition on your time machine drive for your Aperture vault to backup your Library, and configure Time machine not to backup your Library file.

    It's advisable to have at least two backups of both the masters and the Library files. One way to implement the second backup is to use a RAID 1 backup drive, another way is to us an old hard drive to make a copy of the Library and masters files once a week.
  • Gary Level 2 (185 points)
    I believe it will store a new copy of the whole library if you change even one tiny part of the Library

    No. An Aperture Library file - whether referenced or managed - is really an entire hierarchy of folders and files, just like anywhere else on your hard disk. There's a 'switch' that a developer (Apple or third party) can toggle to make a folder and its contents appear to an end-user as a single file. These are called 'packages' and have been around for a long time now. Your typical Aperture library has tens or even hundreds of thousands of files hidden away internally. Time Machine should (and, I'm 99.8% certain, does) treat this as a bunch of individual folders and files which may or may not have changed and backs them up them on an object-by-object basis.

    If you want to see this for yourself, right-click on your Aperture Library and select the +Create Archive+ option. Before actually writing the archive (blah.zip) file, it will display a progress box which shows you that it is preparing to archive xx number of items. Watch this until you get bored or it actually completes the preparation. You can then cancel the archive process. I checked my 8GB referenced library recently and it went up to about 43,000 objects.

    What you say about multiple backups (where possible) is very true. But it's also very important to periodically verify the integrity of your backups, whatever mechanism you use, to check that you can reliably restore from them if you're ever in the unfortunate position of experiencing a disaster. There's no point in spending the time to make backups if they're not going to work when you need them.

  • DiploStrat Level 2 (345 points)
    Sadly, you cannot start Aperture and then step into the Time Machine and browse your images as they were in the past, including all adjustments. (I hope this is coming. You can do this in Mail, for example, and it is simply amazing.)

    But you can certainly use the Time Machine to go back in the past and find your images using the Finder. If you know the name of a given master image, for example, you can open your managed Aperture Library and bring that image forward to the present. And obviously, if you have your masters referenced, you can simply navigate to the desired master and bring it forward. What you can't do is easily bring forward a single, adjusted image or images. (Because, of course, this requires both the master and the version(s).)

    If you have time, you can, of course, bring foward the whole Library, run Aperture against that, export any images you want, and then reimport them into your present Aperture Library. Might take a few hours, however, depending on the size of your Library.

    When my MacPro died, I used Time Machine to put my Aperture Library (which had been residing on an separate internal drive inside the MacPro) on a new external drive so that I could keep running using my MBP. Worked very well.