How to transfer an iTunes/iPhoto library?

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by c073186, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2007
    I am considering performing a clean install of Mountain Lion over my existing Lion OS, and I really do not have that many applications to reinstall, but my concern is over backing up and transferring my iPhoto and iTunes libraries. I tried to do this one time manually, simply by dragging the physical files to a backup hard drive and then putting them back onto the new system, but by doing this, a lot of information is lost - for example, all of the songs show an imported date of that day, rather than when I originally added them (likewise, the play count was reset, etc.).

    Is there a way I can backup and restore an iTunes/iPhoto library and maintain everything? Can I do this without backing up my whole computer? I'd like to start clean with Mountain Lion, but I still want to keep those libraries intact.

  2. macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2011
    You can export to a dvd, thumb drive etc...

    In iphoto you go File -> Export you are presented with options to export dates, names etc...

    I've never imported that file to a new install, but I'm assuming it would work.

    Maybe hold down OPTION while launching and repairing permissions would be useful post clean install.
  3. mrapplegate, Sep 22, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012

    macrumors 68030

    Feb 26, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    You can copy the iPhoto library and the iTunes folder over without a problem. You have to also take any associated folders in ~/Library or ~/Library/Application Support as well. I would take any .plist file in ~/Library/Preferences also. I forget where the playlist info etc is stored. Just grab anything iPhoto or iTunes related files from your Library and Preferences and copy into the same place on the new system.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2010
    personally after going through an ordeal with a kernal panic on my old macbook i would not recommend trying to movie iphoto or itunes library

    what you could do is first get itunes match:
    with itunes you can sign up for itunes match and any songs that do not get uploaded or matched can be forced by converting them to acc 256 files

    for iphoto, how many photos do you have?
  5. Mal
    macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    Yeah…not gonna cause a kernel panic by moving an iPhoto Library.

    OP, just backup the iPhoto Library package (anything else will be reinstalled along with iPhoto), and the entire iTunes folder in ~/Music. Nothing else should really matter unless you think you've changed your preferences significantly from the original, in which case back up ~/Library/Preferences/ and, along with any others containing iTunes or iPhoto references.

  6. macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2010
    sorry if i was not clear, it was after i experienced a kernal panic - thank goodness for time capsule.....
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Oct 29, 2007
    I have done this many times on various Macs. All you need to do is move/copy the entire iTunes library folder. If you just move the music files and re-import, yes, you will lost metadata. If you maintain the entire library folder and files, it will appear identical to your old Mac.

    Same goes for iPhoto. Simply copy/move the iPhoto library folder. Done. You don't need any plist or other files. It's self-contained. I've never lost any data this way.
  8. macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2010
    did you just move to external HD?

    btw, whatever you do, do not use iTunes or iPhoto before setting up your old libraries first as it will then create two libraries....
  9. macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2007
    v9.4.2 Where's the iPhoto Library gone to?

    This is great info...EXCEPT I can't find the dratted iPhoto Library (v9.4.2, OS X 10.8.2)

    There is NO such library in Users/Pictures ƒ.

    Any ideas where the Genius Bar might had hidden this this time???
  10. macrumors regular


    Jan 6, 2003
    My iPhoto is jacked up...and needs your help!

    So, after fixing some hard drive issues I was having, iPhoto has become really unstable. Every time I open it I get the message shown in the attachment. If I open with CMD+ALT I can open the library by choosing "Rebuild Database". That is the only option of the four that lets me see my library. This is the only way I can open my library, however. It has lost all "Faces" information and has screwed up some Albums. I've tried to restore from a backup, but the same issues occur, eventually with iPhoto crashing.

    So, what is the best way to fix the error? Can I export my library once I open iPhoto, then start from scratch (i.e. delete the iPhoto library, start a new one, and import the old library)? All of the photos are there so I have a feeling there is something messed up within iPhoto itself. Who knows. I've stopped backing up my machine until I get this fixed, in the hopes that my oldest iPhoto backup won't get erased. Thanks for any advice!

    Attached Files:

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