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As your iPhoto library grows, you probably start thinking about, wow! I need to protect these images also. How I do that? Well, iPhoto doesn't have a lot of built in backup stuff. In fact, it doesn't really have anything practical to speak of. So you are kind of in a do-it-yourself situation here, and this is one of the differences between iPhoto and more advanced digital asset managers, such as Aperture and Lightroom. But I will show you basically how it works. I'm going to quit iPhoto first, because that's the first thing you have to do. And now this brings us to the desktop, and I have our Pictures folder open, and that's where the library lives for iPhoto. The iPhoto library is in your Pictures folder.
Now if you just double-click, all you are going to do is launch iPhoto again, because that's they way it's designed; it's actually a package. But if I right-click on it, and I do Show Package Contents, we can take a peek inside. Now I am going to warn you right now, do not touch anything that's in here. This is for looking only, because if you change anything behind iPhoto's back, you're probably going to break the database, and then you are going to have a real mess on your hands. So this is -- don't do this at home kids! This is definitely one of those movies.
But the thing that I wanted to show you is that your masters are in here, they're filed in a very iPhoto kind of way, but they're they are, all safe and sound. Now if you want to back up your library, you basically just back up the whole thing each time. So you could do that into folders, and then erase the older backups over time; however you want to work it. It's going to take some time when you have a large library, because you have to copy the whole library. You can't do incremental backup.
Essentially what you do, you just take it, drag it to an external hard drive, and let it copy of the whole thing. Now the good news about this is that restoring your iPhoto library is very easy, because if you have a problem with your Mac, or let's say that you lose it and you have a fresh Mac, and you have your iPhoto library backed up to an external drive, all you have to do is copy that container, this one right here, back from the external drive onto your Mac, double-click it, and it will launch iPhoto.
So here we go; we have it right here. There is our library, safe and sound. So you would just drag it back onto a brand new Mac, double-click, and there is our entire library with metadata, photos even our albums: the whole kit and caboodle. So it's not the most sophisticated backup in the world, but it is effective.
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