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How to duplicate your photo library in iPhoto

Discover how to streamline and simplify the way you back up your iPhoto library

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There’s no getting around it: backing up is not glamorous, fun or exciting, but nevertheless should be a crucial part of your workflow. File corruption, computer damage and theft are the main ways you could lose data, and they’re much more common than most people realise. Therefore backing up your system is a no-brainer.

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One way to ensure your photos and videos remain locked away for safe keeping is to duplicate the entire library by saving it on an external drive. Then, whenever this hard drive is connected, users can switch between the internal iPhoto library and the backup. Additionally, the beauty of this function is that it can be used for much more than just backing up; you can also create multiple libraries for improved organisation too.

Step-by-step: Duplicate your iPhoto library

 

1 Drag and drop

Connect an external hard drive with enough free space to hold your iPhoto library.     Locate your library in Pictures then drag and drop it into a ready-made folder on the hard drive.

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2 Switch to library

To save confusion later, rename the backup library as something appropriate. Open iPhoto and head to File on the menubar, and then travel down to Switch to Library.

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3 Select the right library

iPhoto will now ask you which library you want to work in. ‘iPhoto Library (default)’ is the internal catalogue, so plump for your newly created backup option and hit Choose.

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4 Are you sure?

You can also create new catalogues on your Mac’s hard drive. iPhoto will now check to make sure that you definitely want to switch libraries. Hit Relaunch to confirm.

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5 Welcome to your backup

Everything will be set out and stylised in the same fashion as the original, and any changes to where images are stored will happen independently and not affect the original.

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6 Edit away

What’s more, any edits, detail changes or deletions in this backup version will happen here alone and therefore not affect any of the images in your original collection.

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In-depth: Get backing up

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