Data Recovery » How to Backup iPhoto Library to External Hard Drive?

How to Backup iPhoto Library to External Hard Drive?

External HDD

Backing up your data regularly is very crucial, in order to tackle any data loss situation. Photos, in particular, we often capture to cherish them in the future. Though you use Time Machine as a backup, which is a good thing, you should have additional backups as well. Here’s why you need additional backup.

Backup iPhoto Library Using Time Machine

Time Machine is a great backup feature in Mac machines, you can easily backup your iPhoto library using Time Machine. it as a backup point does an incredible job but is not stored forever. It automatically deletes old files from Time Machine to make space for the newer ones. And this is something to be concerned about if you want to keep your old items like your photos. Hence it is recommended to always have multiple backups of your important files.

With everyone using digital cameras to click pictures, the original copies stored in the camera once copied to your computer, are almost erased from your camera to make way for the new images. So the original copies are only on your computer and nowhere else.

If something goes wrong with your Mac, all your photos are gone making you wonder how to restore my pictures folder? To save yourself from this situation you need additional backup.

How to Backup iPhoto Library to External Hard Drive?

To start backing up your iPhoto library, first open iPhoto then click File tab and choose Switch to Library.


A new iPhoto window will open with the list of all iPhoto libraries available on your Mac. From the list select iPhoto Library (default).

Now exit from iPhoto library by selecting Quit iPhoto from the iPhoto Menu or press Cmd + Q. Now, connect the external drive which you want to use as a backup.

Open Finder and choose Pictures from the sidebar. Now, drag and drop the iPhoto to the external hard drive. Depending on the size of the library, it will take few minutes or longer to transfer the folder.

Once the process is over, press and hold the ‘Option’ key and open iPhoto library from the Applications folder or from the Dock. A window will open prompting you to choose one of the three options – Other Library, Create New or Choose the highlighted one. Click ‘Other Library’.

The window that opens, search for your external hard drive, select the iPhoto that you copied and click on ‘Choose’.

The iPhoto will be open with a reference to the library on your external hard drive until it is disconnected. Once again quit iPhoto and remove the external hard drive safely.

Now you have backed up your entire iPhoto Library to your external hard drive. Repeat the process whenever you add a new photo to iPhoto so that you’ll have all your recent photos backed up as well.

What If the Images are Not Stored in Photo Library?

You need to back up the other Photo Library just like the default Photo Library since the photos support multiple libraries. The photos saved outside the Photo Library is the reference file. These reference files dont backed up since it is not stored in the photo library. You should always remember the reference file location. In case you don’t want these reference files you can remove them by following the steps below.

  1. In the Application folder, launch the Photos application from the Dock.
  2. Now select the photos which you want to move to the Photo Library.
  3. Click on the File option, navigate to the Consolidate option, and click on the Copy button.

Once the files are consolidated into the Photos Library, they can be easily backed up.

Got Error While Moving iPhoto Library to External HDD?

  1. In the Finder select the External Hard drive, then choose File option > and select Get info.
  2. Under sharing permissions check the “Ignore ownership on this volume”.

Now you will be able to move the iPhoto Library pictures to the External HDD/USB drive.

In case you lost your important photos from the iPhoto library for which you have not taken a prior backup, then utilize Remo Recover Mac to effortlessly recover lost photos. This tool is built with a powerful advanced engine that is capable of recovering more than 300 file types. It is designed with a simple user interface which supports recovering of data from any complex scenarios. Additionally, the tool offers a free preview feature to evaluate the recovery results.

download Remo Recover for Mac

Final Words:

Hope the article was helpful in answering how to backup iPhoto pictures to an external HDD. In case you dont have a backup of your important files, then you can always opt for Remo Recover Mac. This software is built with a powerful file recovery algorithm, that scans through the sector to recover deleted or lost files effortlessly.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How to backup photos to iCloud on Mac? 

  • Double click on the Photos App

Note: Examine the locations listed above to find pictures that aren’t already in your Photo collection.

  • There, just drag and drop the photos.
  • Do the opposite now. You can put your images on an external hard drive or into other backup systems by duplicating iCloud and making an offline backup, which will make it simpler to establish numerous backups and protect you from any tragedy.

2. How do you Open a Different Photos Library? 

  • Now try to open the Photos and press and hold the Option key.  
  • Select the library you want to open and then click on the Choose Library

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