Keep Photos Library After OS X Reinstall

Discussion in 'macOS' started by pydev, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. pydev macrumors newbie


    Sep 22, 2015
    I want to reinstall OS X on my Mac without having to re-download my (very large) Photos library. Ideally, I would simply copy the .photoslibrary file from my system disk to an external, reinstall OS X, copy it back over to my system disk, and voila: done. But I suspect my iCloud settings will get upset.

    Could somebody advise on how I do this? I frequently reinstall OS X on my Mac but haven't done so since getting the Photos library (which I'm very happy with). And, before anybody suggests it, I don't use Time Machine and nor do I want to.
  2. pydev thread starter macrumors newbie


    Sep 22, 2015
    Sorry to bump this thread, but I would be really interested to hear from people who have migrated a Photos library to a new OS X installation without Time Machine or another backup/restore solution.
  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    You can easily just copy the Photos library file off to another disk to copy back later, or even just restore it back from your Time Machine disk, but I think the reason nobody has answered your specific question is nobody is sure how the iCloud piece of the equation will work. I have noticed any posts from anybody doing this move with the iCloud photos sync turned on in Photos.

    I'm thinking as long as you have an extra copy of the Photos library on and external, the worst that could happen is it gets all screwed up and you have to start over and replied it all to iCloud.
  4. thricenine macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2010
    Hey I just did a clean install of El Capitan and manually copied my photos library over from a different drive. Unfortunately after opening up photos it is attempting to reupload my entire library even though the photos on my drive and the cloud are exactly the same. I have found a few other threads of people having the exact same issue. I really hope that if I have to do this again the library will just look for changes rather than reuploading all 100 gigs.
  5. simon lefisch macrumors 6502a

    simon lefisch

    Sep 29, 2014
    I did a clean install as well and had the same thing as @thricenine did. I actually created another library and let iCloud download everything to my machine. Not a very good way to have to resync with iCloud.

Share This Page