iPhoto '11: Restoring from Time Machine with iPhoto '11 (9.2 or later) and OS X Lion 10.7.2 (or later)

When using iPhoto ’11 (version 9.2 or later) and Time Machine with OS X Lion 10.7.2 (or later), iPhoto no longer has the Browse Backups option. This means that instead of restoring specific photos within your iPhoto Library, you must restore your entire iPhoto Library.

Important: If you are using earlier versions of iPhoto 9 and OS X Lion, please update them first. Do this by clicking the Apple () menu, choosing Software Update, and installing any available updates. iPhoto may need to be updated through the Mac App Store; please see About updating iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand for more information.

When using iPhoto ’11 (version 9.2 or later) and Time Machine with OS X Lion 10.7.2 (or later), iPhoto no longer has the Browse Backups option. This means that instead of restoring specific photos within your iPhoto Library, you must restore your entire iPhoto Library.

Follow the steps below to view and restore from your Time Machine drive.

To restore photos:

  1. Quit iPhoto.
  2. Connect your Time Machine drive.
  3. In the Finder, open the folder containing your iPhoto Library. Unless you've moved your iPhoto Library, it can be found in Home/Pictures/iPhoto Library.
  4. Enter Time Machine.  (Time Machine can be found in the Dock or in the /Applications folder.)
  5. Choose your desired backup. The timeline on the right side of the screen displays a purple tick mark for each of the backups stored on your Time Machine drive.
  6. Select the iPhoto library you would like to restore, and click the Restore button.

iPhoto may prompt you to repair your library if there are some inconsistencies in your files. If so, please allow it to proceed by clicking the Repair button. If you notice blank thumbnails, reopen iPhoto while holding down the Command and Option keys. When the Rebuild iPhoto Library window appears, enable the "Rebuild all of the photos’ thumbnails" checkbox. This may take a long time, depending on the size of the library.

Learn more

  • Always quit iPhoto before restoring from Time Machine. 
  • Time Machine canʼt do a full iPhoto Library backup when iPhoto is open. To ensure that Time Machine does a complete backup of your library, periodically quit iPhoto before backing up.
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