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Backing up iPhoto - not with Time Machine

by techquestion49 / January 8, 2013 8:46 AM PST

I am not a fan of Time Machine. I back up iPhoto to an external drive manually. The only way I've been able to figure out how to do it is to save a copy of the current iPhoto Library to the external drive. However, then I end up with multiple copies of the iPhoto library on the external drive as after I do the backup I delete some of the older events off the Mac hard drive for memory purposes. What I want to be able to do is to slide old events into one iPhoto folder on the backup drive so that I keep one complete copy of all of the pics there. I don't think it's possible to do this. Yes or no? If not, what would you suggest as the best backup method outside of Time Machine?

Thank you.

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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by techquestion49

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iPhoto Library Backup
by Old_Toad / January 11, 2013 2:06 AM PST

Why not use a backup application that does incremental backups, i.e. only copies new or modified files to the library on the EHD. This will give you only one backup copy, the most current. It would be advisable to occasionally open any backup copy to make sure it works as intended and does contain what you expect it to.

I use Synk Pro and have it setup to automatically copy only new or modified files immediately upon closing iPhoto. There are other apps that can do incremental backups. You can search for them a

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by techquestion49 / January 11, 2013 4:43 AM PST
In reply to: iPhoto Library Backup

Thanks, Old Toad, that is exactly what I need. I will check into that software and similar. Thanks very much!

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Not sure why you would end up with multiple copies
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / January 9, 2013 8:34 PM PST

of the iPhoto Library on the external drive if you are just dragging the iPhoto library from the internal to the external.

Doing so should produce the response that there is already an older folder there with the same name and would you like to replace it.

What you are doing is not actually a backup as such, more of a copy on an external drive, which is a vulnerable to failure as the internal drive.

Most backup software uses the same technique as Time Machine, incremental backups after the first complete one, but do not offer the same ease of restoring as Time Machine.
Just as a matter of interest, what is your objection to Time Machine?


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Two suggestions: Carbon Copy Cloner & Lightroom
by mariohummer / January 18, 2013 9:05 AM PST


1. Consider Carbon Copy Cloner as your backup/clone software. It can make an exact copy (either on request or via a periodic task) of a sub-directory, for instance, to whatever drive you wish. I use it to make an exact copy of my Pictures folder from one external drive to another. CCC can also clone your entire MacIntosh HD to an external drive, so you can boot from this external drive if your internal one fails and continue working. You can then clone back to your internal one to be back to your usual set up.

2. I was an iPhoto user after getting my first Mac, some 7yrs ago. After a year or so, I dropped it and started using Lightroom. LR is very reasonably priced, manages/catalogs/tags all your photos, lets you edit them superbly and easily, lets you print and/or share them on the web as well as create a web page, slide show, etc. You won't regret it.

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by techquestion49 / January 19, 2013 2:44 AM PST

Your suggestion of using Lightroom is a great idea. I love iPhoto from the standpoint of the events. I love the way it automatically sorts into events that are then easily split, named, and organized. That is the reason I loved iPhoto from the start. However, I don't like that you have to export photos in order to be able to share them and even in order to back them up if you want the backup copy to be used anywhere than on a Mac. I have been so in love with the easy organization of iPhoto that I haven't really thought about using another program, and that is probably a very good idea. Does LR have anything similar to the events organization in iPhoto? I don't if any other programs are really set up like that. While I would love to still have that style and ease of organization, I may have to let that go. You have made a very good point to go with another program for photos and I will definitely look at LR. I took just a brief look and see one can still purchase the prior version (I think it's 3 but don't remember). Since I don't need a lot of fancy editing tools, that would likely serve my purpose well. Thank you for your thoughts. I appreciate it.

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Re: Two suggestions...
by mariohummer / January 19, 2013 4:51 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks

You can download a full blown copy of LR 4 and experiment with it for a month for free, if you wish. You'll get comfortable with it in a couple of weeks. I would also suggest Lightroom 4 book for digital photographers, by Scott Kelby. I'm using LR3 and, by coincidence, am about to upgrade to LR4, because the RAW converter has been improved. LR, at least up to LR3, doesn't do HDR; I use a plugin called LR Enfuse - search Google - which does what I need. LR3, as far as I know, doesn't do events (I recall it was something new with iPhoto when I dropped it way back) but you will be tagging your photos and you can organize them in folders (I use folders with the year as names and then sub-folders with the themes that interest me which could be your events, for instance). Clone your LR photo folder, or your Pictures folder, to an external drive and you can carry wherever you want to or as a backup.

I didn't like iPhoto file structure at all after a while. It created JPEG files from you RAW files everytime you did a little edit on the original RAW files, it was just too limited and, in the end, it was just a big waste of time in my opinion. As I said, you won't regret leaving iPhoto I believe.

Finally, and back to the backing up business, do note that, if you use Time Machine for your backups, in case your internal HD goes bad you will not be able to boot from the TM backups, at least directly. I much prefer to clone to an portable external HD my whole internal HD, and I do that at the end of every day with CCC. That way when I travel I just carry with me this portable clone drive; if my Mac's HD goes bezerk, all I have to do is connect my portable HD to the Mac and boot from it after powering the laptop up and continue to work. I don't have to have, for instance, my 3 TB Time Capsule with me, which wouldn't be practical and nor could I use it for booting anyway. Something for you to think about. Good luck.

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