Thursday, 02 March 2017 08:45

How to make a lasting copy of a Photos Library before cleaning it out

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A bulging Photos Library that consumes 30GB of iCloud storage has led Sante Kotturi to want to offload all their current images and videos, and start fresh. But Sante wants to store the existing media securely and for a long time.

I thought of just copying the Photos Library file in User/[me]/Pictures onto an external drive, but this runs into a problem if you try restoring it after changes to macOS Photos make the file format incompatible.

My next thought was to export all 7,000 photos and videos, and then delete all the photos. Wait for iCloud photos to sync, which will probably take the full 30 days for deleted photos to disappear.

Despite thousands of questions about Photos, no one has ever asked for advice on this particular combination of factors, so it deserves tailored set of answers.

Copying Photos Library and compatibility. I definitely see Sante’s concern here. You can simply copy the library file and then, whenever you want access to it, quit Photos, hold down the Option key while launching it, and then select that copied library. However, what if Apple changes the library format so much it’s unreadable in the future?

Over a several-year period, this seems unlikely to me.

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SPEEDEE spends his day searching the internet for the information you need to better use your Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch and all else Apple.

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