How to Back up your Pho­tos li­brary

Mac|Life - - CONTENTS -

Find your pho­tos

By de­fault, your photo li­brary lives in your user ac­count’s Pic­tures folder. So, it’ll be in /Macin­tosh HD/ Users/[your user­name]/Pic­tures. It’s a pack­age, not a folder — mean­ing it ap­pears like one file, but isn’t re­ally.

Drag to a drive

If you want to back up your en­tire Pho­tos li­brary, drag and drop it to a lo­ca­tion on an ex­ter­nal drive. Don’t use a USB flash drive/mem­ory stick — they’re of­ten too low in ca­pac­ity and, though por­ta­ble, are too easy to lose.

Set a sched­ule

One of Car­bon Copy Cloner’s best fea­tures is its sched­uler, which doesn’t just sched­ule back­ups but also lets you wake your Mac if it’s asleep, or de­fer a backup if some­thing is us­ing the same des­ti­na­tion at that time.

Open it up

To see the pack­age’s con­tents, Ctrl–click it and choose Show Pack­age Con­tents. You should see the struc­ture shown here. The ac­tual pho­to­graphs are stored un­der Masters and then or­ga­nized by year and month.

Go pro

If you want to au­to­mat­i­cally backup your photo li­brary, we sug­gest us­ing a ded­i­cated backup app, such as the pop­u­lar Car­bon Copy Cloner. This app is free for 30 days, so you can try out all of its fea­tures.

Say where to go

We’ve set our source and our backup sched­ule. Now to choose our backup’s des­ti­na­tion. Back­ing up to the same drive is a bad idea — hard disks can and do fail. Here we’ve at­tached and se­lected an ex­ter­nal SSD.

Which for­mat?

If you might open back­ups in an app other than Pho­tos, check which file for­mats that app can open. Since iOS 11 and High Sierra, some of your pic­tures may be stored as HEIF (High Ef­fi­ciency Im­age File For­mat), not JPEG.

Se­lect the source

We’d rec­om­mend back­ing up ev­ery­thing that’s im­por­tant, of course, and Car­bon Copy Cloner can do ex­actly that. Here, though, we’re con­cen­trat­ing on our Pho­tos li­brary; once again we’re se­lect­ing it from our Pic­tures folder.

Set it off

If your Pho­tos li­brary is enor­mous this would be a good time to go and make a cup of cof­fee — back­ing up gi­ga­bytes of data is slow even on speedy ex­ter­nal drives. This is why au­toma­tion is such a great idea.

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