How to restore iCloud Photo Library from Time Machine backup?

btownguy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 18, 2009
545
19
I have been using iCloud Photo Library for quite some time. I keep full originals on my MacBook Pro, full originals on my iPhone, and optimized versions on my iPad.

While on vacation with spotty wifi, my iPhone got stuck on "downloading 27 originals" and nothing could fix it, even after returning home to solid wifi.

I figured I would turn off iCloud Photo Library on the iPhone, delete EVERYTHING from the iPhone including the empty albums so that there was NOTHING in Photos on the iPhone, and then turn iCloud Photo Library back on. My hope was that it would just pull down what was in iCloud Photo Library exactly as it was in iCloud.

Big mistake. While it did download all 30,000 pics and videos from iCloud, it then deleted my complete folder/album structure I had so painstakingly created over the years. It deleted the folder/album structure in iCloud which then propagated those deletions down to my MacBook Pro and my iPad.

The good news is I have a Time Machine backup from the night before leaving for vacation.

How can I restore the Photo Library from Time Machine such that it will restore my folder/album structure?

Do I need to disconnect my MacBook Pro from the internet while performing the restore of the entire photo library and then reconnect it after the restore is complete?

Do I need to delete everything in iCloud before performing the restore?

Any advice here would be helpful.
 

50Bytes

macrumors newbie
Feb 15, 2014
9
0
Hi btownguy,

I ran into the same problem.

All photos present, but folder and album structure is gone.

Did you solve your Problem?

Regards
Uli
 

btownguy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 18, 2009
545
19
Hi btownguy,

I ran into the same problem.

All photos present, but folder and album structure is gone.

Did you solve your Problem?

Regards
Uli
I did but the process was a bit painful. I told iCloud to fully delete everything in my photo library. I did this in iCloud settings on one of my devices. They make you wait 30 days before they'll actually delete everything in case you change your mind. I waited the 30 days and confirmed via iCloud.com that my photos were truly empty. I then wiped my iOS devices and set them up as new (with zero photos). Then I did a full restore from my last Time Machine backup onto MacBook Pro and the entire photo library (it had the originals on the MacBook Pro). After that uploaded to iCloud, the iOS devices then also received the photo library. This process was a pain, but everything's back to normal now.
 
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50Bytes

macrumors newbie
Feb 15, 2014
9
0
Thank you btownguy,
that is really horror... 30Days!
But thanks for the quick reply!
uli