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Mac - "photos" vs "pictures" - please help an idiot out; backing up "photo"


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Not very Mac savvy and have found this a bit hard to understand.  My "Photos" (the 8 side colorful daisy or pinwheel looking icon) largely consist of pictures taken with our iPhones and downloaded to this app when we connect the phones to the desktop.

"Pictures" on the other hand is where our digital camera photos end up when we put an SD card in the iMac (found by going through Finder).  These would seem to be two completely different areas to store photos (which I think is idiotic).  My iPhone "photos" can't be found by looking in Finder under "pictures"; likewise my DSLR photos that I load into a folder named "Yosemite2021" for example don't end up automatically in the photo app (although I think you can select the picture and add it to "photos").   

 

Question is backing up "photos."  I use a Seagate external hard drive that works with Time Machine.  When I look through the back files, I can find my "pictures" (ie DSRL photos), but not my "photos" app (ie iPhone) pictures.  I'm not convinced that these Time Machine backups (which are allegedly backing up my whole computer) are backing up all the iPhone pictures that are in the "photos" app.  IS this correct?  How can I back up those "photos."

I bought an external had drive because I didn't want to pay for Cloud storage.  Every time I do a search for backing up photos, it seems to end up telling me how to back up the "pictures" (under Finder) which I already seem to be doing, but all the photos in the "photos" app do not appear to be backing up (at least as far as I can see).  

Hope that makes sense.  Thanks in advance.

 

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Posted (edited)

Copy all the "pictures" to your Photos app.  Just launch the Photos app, then drag over the orphaned pictures on your Mac. Macs have a program called Image Capture installed by default.  Anytime you launch this program, all it will do is allow you to copy the photos from an SD card, or an attached iPhone...anything with photos on it...you just copy them to the Mac, but not the Photos app.  That sounds like what has happened here.  For reference, you can import directly to Photos from an SD card or whatnot, simply by plugging in the card, launching Photos, then doing an import.

Once you have that done, then back up the entire Photos Library by either:

Time Machine, or

Manually copying the Photos Library to an external drive.

Time Machine will back up the Photo Library, unless you have explicitly removed it from the backup.

Important note:  iCloud Photo Library is not a backup service.  It is a synching service.  It makes it great to have photos on your phone, your Mac, your iPad, whatever.  But it is not (repeating) a backup service.  That's where a proper Time Machine backup comes into play.

For more info:  https://support.apple.com/guide/photos/back-up-the-photos-library-pht6d60d10f/mac

 

 

 

 

Edited by Francisco 2.0
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Thanks.  I think what I find frustrating is that I can enter Time Capsule and open up a backup file.  I can look in that file and find old pdf documents and crap like that.  I can find the folders of my "pictures" just as I can open "finder" and find those same folders, but there are years of photos that are still in the photos app that I can't find in any of the picture folders, either in the backup files or through "Finder."  It makes me think that those years of photos that are not being backed up.  Maybe I'm not looking in the right places, but I clicked through the pictures on "Finder" and I'm not seeing pictures from several years (these are pretty much all kids/family pics) that I can see in the photos app.

I don't believe that I've set up Time Machine to exclude anything of importance.  

Thanks for any other thoughts on this.  

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All of the "photo" or pic viewer apps, regardless of OS, seem to have this problem.  They pull in jpgs from all over your computer, many or most of which should be in the one easy to find directory like "Documents" where you put them, "Pictures" or "Photos" or whatever.

But if you import the photos using the viewer app, it often has another place to stash them that isn't as obvious.

Here is where MacOS Photos keeps them if they aren't somewhere else. https://osxdaily.com/2017/02/23/where-photos-files-located-mac/

Put this in your FInder Go To and it will send you there. Or, navigate to Photos Library in Pictures, right click and "show package contents."  Note that the actual directory name has changed from "Masters" to "originals" in Big Sur or maybe before, but when you "show package contents," you will be most of the way there.

~/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/originals/

Edited by TwiceHorn
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I know you don’t want to pay a cloud service.

In the event you are ever concerned about your data/photos/files and you may be away from a time machine for a bit...I highly recommend backblaze.com.

Saved my oldest last semester when her computer just blacked out.

Have everyone in the family on it now. 

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Thanks for the recommendation.  

I might have the original problem sorted out.  I can now see the "photos library" icon in Finder and somehow clicking on it now opens up my photos.  I could have sworn that when I clicked on it previously, it didn't do anything.  In any event, I'm trying to reformat an old PC "Clickfree" 1 TB backup drive to use as a secondary backup device that I'll keep off site.  I think that link you provided Twicehorn will be helpful for me in figuring out where these pics are hidden.  Thanks gents! 

 

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