Recovering photos from Time Machine backups
Q I erased some pictures from Photos, and I’m trying to get them back off Time Machine by selecting Time Machine > Applications > Photos from an earlier time. Going back in time, I can only get the front sheet giving details of Photos’ software version. I cannot see individual pictures to restore. Hitting the ‘restore’ command, after selecting/highlighting an earlier Photos file, does not change the latest Photos file to an earlier version. What am I doing wrong? Allan Luskow A Photos lacks an explicit Trash folder, like iPhoto did, but you can select File > Show Recently Deleted to see photos deleted within the last 30 days. It’s probably too late for this auto-emptying Trash to help you now, but it’s worth remembering for the future.
It sounds like you’re trying to restore the Photos app rather than its library, which is stored in your Pictures folder by default. However, correcting that by restoring the entire Photos library from Time Machine is a bad idea – you’ll lose any photos added since the missing photo was deleted, but there is a way to restore individual photos. Right-click your Photos library and choose Show Package Contents. In the Masters folder, photos are arranged by year, month, day, and then folders with cryptic numbers. Navigate to when the missing picture was originally added and enter Time Machine. Restore the image and then import it into Photos. This will create a new copy filed under today’s date. Delete the restored copy.
The Show Recently Deleted option in Photos gives you 30 days to change your mind and recover a photo.