Backup Photos Library To External Hard Drive Mac

  1. Backup Photo Library Mac
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  5. How To Backup Photos Library Mac To External Hard Drive
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  • Dec 24, 2018  The next type of backup veers away from the cloud-based model. Time Machine is the built-in Mac application that will automatically backup your Mac to an external hard drive. Which means you will have to buy an external drive or use a.
  • Nov 09, 2018  Free up your space by transferring your Photos library to another external hard drive. By freeing up space you will have valuable space for your work on your Mac.

Apr 23, 2018  Apple’s iCloud Drive is a great way to backup the data on your devices. It’s simple, easy and, most of all, reliable. But what happens if something goes wrong with it? Creating backups of your iCloud Drive files is easy and will help protect your precious.


By AppleInsider Staff
Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 04:40 pm PT (07:40 pm ET)

Storing an entire collection of photographs in Apple's Photos app on macOS can be a great way of keeping precious memories in order, but there are occasions when it needs to be stored on an external hard drive. AppleInsider explains how to shift the Photos Library to a new location while keeping all images safe and intact.

There are multiple reasons to move the Photos Library away from its default location, with the primary reason being to free up a Mac's storage. Images and videos can quickly consume storage, especially for prolific photographers shooting RAW files, so moving the library to an external drive can be the best option for those with internal drives that are close to their capacity limit.
Putting the library onto external storage also provides the option of sharing the library with others directly, by disconnecting the drive from the host Mac and plugging it into another. This is also useful for those who wish to use the same library across multiple desktops, like an iMac and a MacBook Pro, if they need to regularly access and change the held files.

Pre-move Backup

Before attempting any file transfers, it is highly recommended to make backups of all images, as there is always the possibility of file corruption or another mishap, and keeping a backup is always a good idea for just these occasions. An up-to-date Time Machine backup is ideal, but it is best to make sure the external or remote drive used for the backup is different to the one you wish to use for the Photo Library storage itself.
It may also be worth using cloud storage services to hold the images, such as Apple's own iCloud Drive, Dropbox, and Google Drive. It might also be an idea to try out iCloud Photo Library, a service that automatically uploads your photographs to iCloud, which can be shared to iOS devices and other Mac desktops using the same Apple ID.

Finding the Folder

Before you can make the move, you need to find where the Photo Library is actually located. In most instances, it should appear in the Pictures folder of your Home directory, labelled as 'Photos Library,' potentially alongside other similar libraries for Photo Booth and iPhoto, the predecessor to Photos.
In the event it isn't at the default location, you can find it by opening up the Photos app, clicking Photos in the Menu Bar, then selecting Preferences. At the top of the General section will be a line marked Library Location, which will show where it is located, as well as an option to Show in Finder, which will spawn a new Finder window at the right directory.

Importing from iPhone

First, connect your iPhone to your Mac with a Lightning to USB charging cable. A popup will ask if you want to trust your computer, tap 'Trust' and enter your passcode.
Now open Photos on your Mac, where your iPhone will appear under the Devices tab on the left side of the app. From here, you can browse through all of the photos or video in your iOS Camera Roll.

At the top of the page, click on Library, and you can choose to make a New Album for the import. If you wish to erase the photos off of your iPhone after importing, check the box below the Import button before clicking it.
If you chose that option, you will see your photos being deleted off of your iPhone in real-time after importing is completed. Your iPhone photos are now successfully backed up onto your Mac.

The Move

If it is still running, quit Photos by selecting Quit Photos under the Photos Menu Bar, or by pressing Cmd+Q.
Connect the external drive that you wish to use for storing the library, and once it appears on your desktop, drag the Photos Library away from its current location within the Finder and on top of the external drive icon. If you want to place the Photos Library in a specific place within the new drive, open the external drive in a second Finder window, navigate to the correct directory, and

Backup Photo Library Mac

drag Photos Library to the right place.
The amount of time it will take for the Photos Library to transfer to the new location will vary on a number of factors, including the amount of images that need to be transferred, the speed of the external drive for transfers, and the transfer method itself. Generally, transfers to an external drive over Thunderbolt 3 will offer the fastest potential speeds when compared to Thunderbolt 2 and USB-based drives.

Accessing the Library

After the file transfer has completed, you will need to inform Photos of the new location. To do this, hold the Option keyBackup Photos Library To External Hard Drive Mac and click the Photos icon in the dock to launch the app.
This will bring up a new Choose Library window, with a list of libraries available for you to access. Click Other Library and navigate to the location on the external drive that holds the now-transferred Photos Library, select the Library, and then click Open.

At this point, Photos will open and use the library located on the external drive.
While this process can be used to reconnect with the Photos Library, it can also be used to switch between multiple Photo Library archives. This is handy in some cases, such as if a friend or colleague provides their Photo Library on a portable drive for you to browse and use for work.
Note that in order to access your photographs, the external drive needs to be connected to the Mac before entering Photos. The Photos app will warn you if the Library is not accessible in this case, with the solution being to quit Photos and reconnect the drive before relaunching Photos.

Designating the System Photo Library

If you want to use the moved Photos Library - or one of a collection of the Libraries - with a number of Apple services and features, such as synchronization with iCloud Photo Library, iCloud Photo Sharing, and My Photo Stream, you will need to designate it as the System Photo Library. This also applies if you wish to have the photographs used by other apps, or to set an image as the desktop background.
Generally, the initially created Photo Library will be the System Photo Library by default, but actions such as moving it or designating another Library temporarily with the label can stop a Photos Library from being used in this way.
To re-enable it, hold down the Option key and open Photos, then select the Library you want to use as the System Photo Library. Once opened, select Photos in the Menu bar then Preferences.
Within the General tab of the Preferences window, you should see the current Library's path under Library Location, and two buttons: the previously discussed Show in Finder and Use as System Photos Library. Click the second option to set it as the System Photo Library.

Clearing Space

One of the main aims of this project is to free up space on your Mac's internal drive, and since the Photos Library resides elsewhere, it is likely to be in your interests to delete the locally-held version. Make sure that this Library is no longer required, and that the version on the external drive is complete and functional before considering deletion of the local copy.
Use Finder to navigate to the directory where Photos Library was located, as discovered in the 'Finding the Folder' section above. Right click on the Photos Library and select Move to Trash.
To completely remove it from the Mac, open the Trash from the Dock or Finder window, and click the Empty button on the top right of the window, followed by selecting Empty Trash in the confirmation dialog.

There's never too many photos on iPhone, right? Wrong. When it comes to backing up your iOS device, endless photos, messages, and files can suffocate your internal storage on Mac.

Mac cant see users library folder. Jan 12, 2020  Launch Terminal, located in /Applications/Utilities. Enter the following command at the Terminal prompt: Press Return. Once the command executes, you can quit Terminal. The Library folder will now be visible in the Finder. Should you ever wish to set the Library folder. Can't see user library files in macOS X 10.7 and later - Method 2 Hold down the Alt (Option) key when using the Go menu. The user Library folder is listed below the current user's home directory. Note: After you open the Library folder, you can drag the Library icon from the top of that window to.

The first way to solve the problem is pretty straightforward: Keep your iPhone or iPad clean. It became a bit easier with the release of iOS 13, which allows removing similar shots and clutter from your Photos gallery automatically. If you take your gallery cleanness seriously, you can go further and install a smart duplicate finder like Gemini on your phone. Whether you're an Instagram husband/wife, or simply love good photography — this is a pro-level tool to save your disk space.

iPhone Backup to External Storage

Get the best Mac apps to backup and transfer data from iPhone, iPad, iTunes, iCloud to external drives without any loss.

But what if photos are not the problem? Sometimes it's about text docs, mail attachments — lots of small files that become heavier and heavier as they pile up. It will take hours of work to free up storage space manually. So we suggest you don't. You can solve the problem by changing iPhone backup location instead.

In this guide, we'll tell you everything about where iPhone and iPad backups are stored by default, how to move them to an external drive, and what's the best Mac tool for running direct iOS backups.

How to change iPhone backup location on Mac

There are two Apple ways to backup iOS devices to Mac — using iTunes or iCloud. None of them is very easy. We've prepared detailed instructions on how to locate and move iPhone backup to an external drive both ways. If you follow these, nothing could go wrong.

Locate iOS backups in iTunes/Finder

Here's how you find a list of iOS backups if you use iTunes:

  1. Click on the Spotlight Search button in the menu bar
  2. Type the following command: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/
  3. Hit Return.

The mechanism is a bit different if you're searching for a specific backup. In this case, go to iTunes > Preferences > Devices. Control-click the selected backup and select Show in Finder from the drop-down menu.

Note that if you're using macOS Catalina, you'll have to locate backups via Finder, while the latest macOS doesn't have iTunes in its original form:

  1. Open a new Finder window
  2. Select Go > Go to Folder
  3. Type the command ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/
  4. Hit Go.
  5. Access your Backup folder from there.

An important thing to remember is that you shouldn't copy or extract specific files from your Backup folder — this might lead to your files being ruined. What you have to do is to copy and transfer an entire folder.

Locate iOS backups in iCloud

If you use iCloud for iPhone backups, you don't have to suffer from the low storage problem. Once your iPhone or iPad files are backed up, you can simply delete the backups. None of your valuable data will be damaged.

How to remove backups from iPhone or iPad and turn off backup for your device.

  1. Go to Settings > Your Name > iCloud
  2. Click Manage Storage > Backups for iOS 11 and iCloud Storage > Manage Storage for iOS 10.3
  3. Select your device name
  4. Delete Backup > Turn Off and Delete.

On your Mac:

  1. Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud
  2. Select Manage and click on the Backups
  3. With the backup selected, click Delete to remove the backup. Confirm that you would also like to turn off Backup if needed.

Backup iPhone to external hard drive

For those who backup via iTunes/Finder, the journey isn't finished. Now it's time to backup iPhone to USB drive, an external hard drive that won't affect your storage on Mac. This should be done very carefully. Any attempt to extract files from the backup folder or using the wrong name of a hard drive may end up in a failure.

Also, let us warn you in advance that you shouldn't delete a backup after you move it to the new storage location. Before you do anything to your old iOS backups, make sure you set iTunes to backup from the hard drive. Let's go through it step by step.

How to save iPhone backup to external hard drive:

Apple Photos Library External Drive

  1. Connect your external hard drive to Mac and open it.
  2. Select the backup folder from the Finder window or iTunes. Usually, the name of the backup folder consists of random numbers and letters, or it's called 'Backup.'
  3. Drag the entire folder — couldn't emphasize it more — to your external drive.
  4. Type your admin password.
  5. Rename the backup folder to 'iOS_backup' and enter the admin password once again to confirm your action.

Now, the most delicate part. It's not enough to create iPhone external storage, you have to tell iTunes where it is to ensure the backups will be done externally from now on. To make that work, you should create a new path — or a so-called symbolic link — for iTunes/Finder.

Before you dive into it, make sure you allow Full Disk Access for Terminal. You'll have to enable it manually if you use macOS Mojave. In this case, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy. Unlock by entering your admin password and click Full Disk Access. Add Terminal to the list of apps with full access permission via the plus button.

Now you're ready to work with Terminal. Make sure you pay close attention to every word you type — Terminal commands can be cumbersome. Open Terminal via Spotlight and type the following command (no rush, you might need to customize it):

ln-s/Volumes/External/ios_backup~/Library/ApplicationSupport/MobileSync/Backup/ 4f1234a05e6e7ccbaddfd12345678f1234b123f

In the command above, 'External' is the name of your hard drive. Possibly, your drive has a different name, so you'll have to change it in the command. The last part '4f1234a05e6e7ccbaddfd12345678f1234b123f' is the name of the backup folder. If you're transferring via Finder, it's very common for this folder to be named 'Backup.' Make sure they match or rename accordingly.

Once your command is accurate, hit Return and quit Terminal.

You've done everything right if you can find a newly created symlink file with the name of your backup folder in the MobileSync folder. The file icon should have an arrow in the bottom left corner.

Backing up to external drive: How to check it works?

Now when you've backed up iPhone to portable hard drive, run a test to see whether iTunes is really backing up from the new location:

  1. Connect your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Launch iTunes or find your device via Finder.
  3. Select Back Up Now.
  4. With the backup completed, open the iOS_backup folder on the external drive.
  5. Check the date and time of the last backup — it should coincide with your recent activity.

Only after the test proves successful can you delete your old backups.

How to backup iPhone directly to external drive

There are two big problems with iTunes backups. And we can understand why you say 'nay' to both of them. First of all, if you're backing up with iTunes or iCloud, you never know what files are covered. While you have to move an entire folder to your external drive, there's no way to check what's inside — not to mention selecting specific files for a backup.

Another thing is Terminal commands can go wrong — and they often do. A single mistake can break the whole process, so you'll have to start all over again. The good news is you can actually back up iPhone to external hard drive without iTunes and iCloud. The tool that you need for that is called AnyTrans for iOS.

AnyTrans is a Mac utility that handles connections across iOS, macOS, and Android devices. And by 'connections' we mean lots of useful things that built-in utilities like iTunes can't handle:

  • Transfer media files, including photos, messages, and documents from your iPhone/iPad to Mac.
  • Back up your iOS device to an external drive in seconds.
  • Preview files that you're backing up and select your custom file types if you don't want to back up everything.
  • Preview old iCloud and iTunes backups and transfer files from your old backup directly to an external drive.

Backup Photos Library To External Hard Drive Mac Laptop

As a nice perk, AnyTrans has a built-in media downloader that enables you to download video and audio from 900+ websites, including YouTube and Dailymotion.

The backup process is a four-step deal if you use AnyTrans — instead of complicated Terminal commands. Here's how you back up directly to external drive:

Backup Photos Library To External Drive Mac

  1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to Mac and open AnyTrans.
  2. Click on Backup Manager and view the list of files that can be backed up.
  3. Tick the boxes next to specific file categories or select all.
  4. Choose your external drive as the target save location and click on the Next button to start backing up.

That's it. Everything you've backed up will now appear on your external drive.

Let's sum up with a few tips that will help you keep your iPhone data protected:

Double protection

If you're determined to use the built-in tools for your iOS and iPad backups, we recommend to use both iCloud and iTunes/Finder. It's never a waste of time when it comes to ensuring your data security. So in case something goes wrong, you'll have a backup plan. Pun intended.

Move backups across storages

Maybe you have lots of data. Or, you simply prefer cloud storage to storing your files on a local drive. That's understandable. To ensure nothing gets lost in the shuffle, use CloudMounter to mount your cloud drives as local disks and thus, transfer backups across multiple storages flexibly.

How To Backup Photos Library Mac To External Hard Drive

There's always a way back

We encourage you to simplify things with AnyTrans. And even if you decide to go with iTunes, note that you can always delete your symlink and try an easier option. To go back to internal backups, type ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup in Spotlight and delete your symlink folder.

Two (or 162) for the price of one

Backup Photos Library To External Hard Drive Mac Download

Both AnyTrans and CloudMounter are available with a Setapp subscription. Setapp is a package of curated Mac utilities that solve the majority of jobs on Mac. So if you get the Setapp subscription, you'll be able to handle automatic iOS backups, move backups across storages and do 160+ other things.