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I recently moved to OSX Mavericks from Snow Leopard. I made a copy with Time Machine, perform a clean install and restored some data with the Time Machine backup.

I first tried to recover everything. The SO was a little bit buggy so I wanted to make a better clean installation, so I format again and restored only data and settings. The system is now even more buggy.

So I decided to perform a completely clean install and manually recover all the data I need. To do this I have to manually save all my data. But how can I backup my iPhoto and iTunes libraries? I want to have all the same information I have now, in the new clean system.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Your iPhoto library (by default) is located in ~/Pictures as a package (.photolibrary).
Your iTunes library (by default) is located in ~/Music as a folder.

Copying the entire library will copy all the data (unless you are using referenced media). Your app settings are located in ~/Library/Preferences.

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I also just did this, as my previous machines' backup was just littered with old cruft I didn't want to pollute my shiny new computer with :)

I used the built-in terminal command 'rsync' which is a sophisticated Unix file copy tool. It may be overkill for you, but this did the trick for me:

  1. In Finder, navigate to your Time Machine backup.
  2. Drill down to Macintosh HD > Users > your name. This will make sure the Time Machine back up data is available.
  3. Run Terminal
  4. The following command (tailored for your username) will copy everything from your Pictures folder in the Time Machine backup to your local drive:

    rsync --archive --stats --human-readable --progress /Volumes/Time\ Machine\ Backups/Macintosh\ HD/Users/<your name>/Pictures/ ~/Pictures
    
  5. The following command (tailored for your username) will copy everything from your Pictures folder in the Time Machine backup to your local drive:

    rsync --archive --stats --human-readable --progress /Volumes/Time\ Machine\ Backups/Macintosh\ HD/Users/<your name>/Music/ ~/Music
    

This will take time, depending on the size of your libraries - took 4 hours for me, but on slow wireless. Wired or local Time Machine drive will be much quicker.

The reason for the complex command is:

--archive preserves timestamps, ownership, aliases, etc.

--human-readable uses notation like '12.3MB' instead of '12305405 bytes'

--stats gives you summary statistics at the end

--progress gives you file-by-file progress report at Terminal.

The end result is that your iPhoto and iTunes libraries will be cloned to their new location and look and feel precisely like the originals - everything should be intact. At least, this worked perfectly for me two weeks ago using Mavericks.

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