Photo backup /storage

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by Ruffian829, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. Ruffian829 macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2008
    I am really struggling with finding a way to back up and store my photos, particularly using an external HD. I want to be able to put photos on an external hard drive and then delete them off my MacBook. It is my understanding that Time Machine will not accomplish this. Is there a way to export photos that includes all the metadata? I feel like having photos exported with no date stamp is relatively useless. Is there any kind of app that would let me do this?

    In the past I've used iPhoto library manager and created iPhoto libraries on the hard drive, but now I am running into so many problems with the transition to photos - I can't open the libraries, I can't continue to use the app (now "power photos") to create libraries on the HD because the HD isn't formatted in extended OS; I can't reformat it without erasing what is on there. It is such a flipping headache.

    Also, if I "optimize storage" on my MacBook and iPhone, so that the full photos are only stored in the cloud... does anyone know if my auto upload to google photos from my iPhone will still upload the full resolution photos? I'm not sure how or if it will all integrate together... but I'm open to other options.

    Please, if someone has a better way or wishes to share their methods for storing photos, I am all ears. My MacBook air does not have a lot of space, so I do not want to keep them all on the internal HD.
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    You rather mix up the storing and backing up issues, so best to separate them.

    One overall solution, however, is to use something besides Photos. Makes it a bit easier.

    Apple recommended against storing iPhotos libraries on non-HFS+ (Apple) formatted drives. It leads to problems, and I assume that goes for Photos as well.

    But both iPhoto and Photos can REFERENCE images on a non-HFS+ volumes. The library is stored on your HFS boot drive; the images elsewhere. I have a bunch on such a drive. But be aware that referencing in Photos has repurcussions for sharing via iCloud Photo Library. But that may not matter to you. You reference by changing the pref in Photos to NOT copy into the library.

    Your problem is, however, that switching to the use of referenced images is a big pain in Photos. Big batch operations are kind of tedious, but you can save metadata into such exports. Strategy here might depend as well on whether you're dealing with RAW files or not.

    You might have to copy the libraries back onto a HFS volume in order to open them and begin to export them out as well.

    I'd suggest you look at a demo of Lightroom; it can import some stuff via it's plugin and you might get all the images out and then use Lr to write in metadata, and then off you go even if you don't use Lr past the free period. It's a lot easier to accomplish stuff like this with a tool like Lr.

    For combinations of backup, storage and synching I prefer Mylio. It makes it easy to store stuff on separate devices (laptop, desktop, iOS, Android, NAS, cloud). It can also work for backing up images; you'd need not only to have them stored on that external but back up the external as well. I'm not sure if TM can backup say an Exfat or NTFS volume without some tweaking; but Mylio can be set up to send a copy of a file to multiple targets for archiving.
  3. Ruffian829 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2008
    I'm so sorry, but I feel like a lot of that went over my head. I do understand what you are saying in regards to backing up vs external storage. What I am looking to do in that case is merely move to an external storage, and I don't have a need to access it frequently. I mostly want to put photos on an external hard drive, make sure they at least have info including the date taken, and then that external HD needs only be accessed once in awhile when I want to look at these photos- I don't need constant access or referencing photos. I don't need them to sync with iCloud or photos or anything.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 11, 2016 ---
    I think I understand what you are saying here... the same hard drive had always worked before with iPhotos, it's only recently with switching to the new MacBook I have and "photos" (and using "powerphotos vs iPhoto library manager) that I'm running into a problem with the way it's formatted. This powerphotos app won't let me create a library in the hard drive but the previous app did. Anyhow, I don't think I have enough space to extract the photos back onto my MacBook before putting them back on the (then formatted) hard drive. I guess my only option here is to purchase another external hard drive?
  4. Zazoh macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2009
    San Antonio, Texas
    Ruffian829 You're scaring me ... back up all that stuff first ...:)

    I think you can get a 1TB external for about $89 bucks. Format it to Mac HFS Journaled and copy all your photo folders from the Mac then the other external. Put it away in a safe place.

    When you "Optimize Storage" for iCloud, your devices have the smaller file, iCloud still has the full res. But don't use iCloud for storage until you read through all the documentation and realize that if you delete an image on one of your devices it is gone across the Cloud. I don't use it for storage for that reason.

    What I've done is this.
    Photos can have multiple libraries. If you open photos while pressing the option key, you can choose from libraries or create a new one.

    1. Figure out how you want to slice and dice your collection. I do it by year. I have folders of years, from 2001 to 2016. The 2016 folder is about to go off while I work in the 2017.
    2. Open Photos while pressing Option and create a new library. Create that library on an external drive. import images from your Master library to that new one.
    3. Verify they are there then delete the images from the master.
    4. Rinse Lather Repeat.

    It will be a pain the first time, but I only do this at end of year now and it helps me stay sane. ;-)
  5. Ruffian829 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2008
    I do also have my photos saved in full resolution in google photos (paid version), and they are on the external hard drive. My MacBook Air is obv too small to keep them all... I'd like to keep them on the EHD and also in Google photos- I haven't switched to iCloud for storage for exactly the reason you stated, I dislike that if I delete one photo from my phone it's deleted from everywhere else. This is even without the optimize storage right? I haven't turned on iCloud for photos at all because of this and I have just been using the old photo streams but I know they are going away.

    I do have multiple libraries (on the EHD), but they are not that organized. I realized it could be done when it was taking forever to open iPhoto on my old MacBook Pro... that's when I made a new library and started with the libraries on my EHD (does that make sense?).

    So, I should get a new EHD, format that to the mac extended OS thing (I swear I formatted this one but alas I am not quite sure where I went wrong, but I now know it's not in the correct format or something. Again most of this goes over my head generally but I am trying).
  6. Paco II macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2009
    It's been a little hard follow what the OP is trying to do, but here's a suggestion, since they are using Google Photos:

    Get that external hard drive and format it properly. Install Google Drive, and make sure the Google Photos option is enabled and set the Google Drive settings so that it resides on your external drive. Now, all your photos in Google Photos will automatically download to your Google Drive, which is on your external drive. Any new photos you add to Google Photos will also automatically be downloaded to your Google Drive on your external drive.

    You end up with all your photos in Google Photos, as well as residing on your external drive, in the Google Drive folder, sorted by year.

  7. Ruffian829 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2008
    Thank you, I'll give that a shot. I'm sorry I've been confusing, I swear I am trying hard not to be! Mostly I'm trying to store photos off my MacBook, but it is important to me that they keep the metadata that includes the date taken (I don't care about keywords or anything). I do also back them up to the (Google photos) cloud... but I don't trust that to store everything, which is why I also want them on the hard drive before removing them from my MacBook (again, it's primarily a space issue, I have too many photos).

    The only problem with what you've said above is I won't always have the external hard drive plugged in... but so long as I plug it in semi-regularly (monthly?) this method should work right? Is there any way to remedy the insane file names that come with downloading photos that have been stored in google photos?
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I have a separate "media" partition on one of my drives, and I keep all my original photos there.

    I've created a "finder-based hierarchy" of folders for my originals, with each folder having a recognizable name and date.

    I purposely DO NOT permit ANY program (such as iPhoto or Photos) to become the "sole repository" of my originals (within its database).

    By doing this, my pics aren't "tied to" ANY program in particular. I can open and edit them using any app that I wish, and again, the originals all remain untouched in a single location (see above).

    What I do is more involved than just dumping one's pics into iPhoto or Photos, and then "letting the app do all the work". Of course. But if you do this, you'll never be locked into one app, be it Apple's or anyone else's.

    Be aware that if you do this, and you no longer keep your pics on the MacBook, you will also need a SECOND external drive to serve as a backup for your "primary external" drive.

    Storing the pics in one location IS NOT ENOUGH, and it's a recipe for disaster if that drive should fail.

    I keep my media volume backed up in 2 separate backup locations, one located "out of the house". This prevents against disasters such as fire, theft, etc.
  9. Ruffian829 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2008
    I love this idea... but how do I get my photos out of iPhoto or now photos and have them keep the metadata (specifically- the date and time taken)? I was under the impression when I export them or anything they end up with the date that I moved them.
  10. Paco II macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2009
    If the data lives in the photos metadata, it will remain.

  11. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    OK, let me back up here a bit.

    iPhotos and Photo can store images in a library (just a specialized folder really) by COPYING in those images at import. That's called a MANAGED library.

    They can also reference images, or store pointers or references to where the images are in the Finder/filesystem. Sorta like aliases. That's a REFERENCED library, and is what happens you change the prefs in Photos or iPhoto so that it does NOT copy in during import. So if you have a folder called "Sasquatch shots" in "Pictures" they stay there; Photos just points to them. And you can use a "show in Finder" command in Photos/iPhoto to see them in a regular Finder window. Or access them like any other file in the Finder; no special folder involved.

    The referenced option is preferred by many because you can store images on various hard drives, external volumes, etc, since they aren't all copied into one big library. Photos/iPhoto just stores the location of the images, it doesn't copy them. But it still stores adjustments you make, keywords, etc.

    As to metadata, normally Photos or iPhoto or most photo software won't change the stored creation date of the image (note that that may be different than the creation date of the FILE). The creation date of the photo is stored in exif, and is different than the "creation date" you may see when you do a "Get Info" on a file. So unless you've adjusted that PHOTO creation date (like when you shift for time zone changes or whatever) then it should still be in the original and exporting the original shouldn't make a difference with that piece of metadata. Try a few and see. The OS is usually smart enough to preserve those image creation dates even if you copy that image file. Some older ones, or scans, may mess up however.

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