How Do I Back Up My iPhoto/Photo Original Files?

iPhotoLibraryApple would rather you send your pics through to iCloud, but what if you don’t want to use their cloud solution? Here’s how to access your original pics in iPhoto or the newer Photos app.
This particular piece was inspired by a Twitter comment stating that it was “almost impossible” to backup photos. That’s not quite true, but it’s equally not all that obvious how to access your pics outside of iPhoto/Photos if you’re on a Mac.
So how do you do it?
Firstly, if Photos or iPhoto is open, close it entirely from its menu, or via Command-Q on the keyboard.
Open up a Finder window, and go to your home directory — that’s the one with your username, typically.
From there, go into the Pictures, where you should see the Library files for the applications in question. Right click on the Photos Library (or iPhotos Library, if you’re using iPhoto) and choose “Show Package Contents”.

Your Finder window will probably have slightly different drop-down options, but it's that "Show Package Contents" option you want.
Your Finder window will probably have slightly different drop-down options, but it’s that “Show Package Contents” option you want.

That’ll take you within the bundle that the Library for each app represents. If you go into the “Masters” directory from there, you’ll find all your imported photos, sorted by calendar year. From there, you can copy, back up or do whatever it is you need to do with your files.
Bear in mind that you are playing with the files inside these apps, so if you pull files out from there (rather than copying them or backing them up) they won’t be in Photos or iPhoto the next time you launch either application. In other words, be careful, but on no account go without a solid backup of your photos. It’s not like you can take them again in exactly the same way.
How Do I? covers the basics, because we’ve all got to start somewhere.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.