How to back up related files before you update to Final Cut Pro X 10.1 or later

Before installing Final Cut Pro X 10.1 or later from the Mac App Store, use these steps to create a current backup of your important Final Cut Pro X files.

When you upgrade to Final Cut Pro X 10.1 or later, your projects and events are updated. These updated files can't be used with earlier versions of Final Cut Pro X. You can create backups of the older version of Final Cut Pro X and your projects and events before you upgrade in case you need them later.

You should complete any active projects before updating to a new version of Final Cut Pro.

Back up the Final Cut Pro X app

When you update Final Cut Pro X using the Mac App Store, the latest version replaces the current version you have installed. Before updating to Final Cut Pro X 10.1 or later, you can save a copy of the currently installed version as a backup using these steps:

  1. Create a new folder in the Applications folder. Rename this folder using the name and version of the app you're backing up (for example, "Final Cut Pro X 10.0.9"). To check the version of Final Cut Pro X you have, open it and choose Final Cut Pro > About Final Cut Pro.
  2. Select Final Cut Pro X in the Applications folder. Then choose File > Compress to create a compressed copy of the app. It might take a few minutes to finish compressing.
  3. Move the "Final Cut Pro.zip" file into the folder you created in step 1.

You can move the folder containing the zip file to your preferred location for storing your backup. For example, you could copy it to an external backup drive.

Back up your Final Cut Pro X projects and events

To help protect your media, you should back up to a storage device or partition different from the one where you store the media files used with Final Cut Pro.

When backing up your Final Cut Pro X projects and events, be sure to place copies of them inside a new backup folder. This prevents Final Cut Pro X from updating and opening your backup projects and events.

Follow these steps to back up projects and events from Final Cut Pro X version 10.0.9 and earlier:

  1. Connect an external storage device large enough to hold your project and media files. Make sure the device appears in the Finder.
  2. In Final Cut Pro X, Control-click your project in the project Library and choose Duplicate project.
  3. In the window that appears, type a name for the new (duplicate) project and choose your external storage device.
  4. Select an option to specify what is duplicated:
    • Duplicate Project Only: This duplicates files that are specific to the project you selected. You may want to select this option if you use the same clips in multiple projects and plan to back up your events separately (perhaps in your backup copy of your entire project Library and events). This option does not duplicate event media.
    • Duplicate Project and Referenced Events: This duplicates the project and any events referred to by the project. Selecting this option includes all of the media in the referenced events. This is a good option to select if you want to have the unused media available to use later.
    • Duplicate Project + Used Clips: This duplicates the project and clips used in the project. When you select this option, you can choose whether to copy all clips and their media or just multicam and compound clips without the associated media. The first method creates a backup copy of your project with all of its media. The second method backs up the project and creates independent versions of multicam and compound clips that won’t be changed when you update the original versions in your project.
      • All used clips: This duplicates the project and copies all clips and media used in the project to a new event. When you select this option, provide a name for the new event that is created. Selecting this option duplicates the entire original media file for any clip used in the project, not just the portion that appears in the Timeline. If files used in the project were imported as reference files (aliases pointing to media files stored outside the Final Cut events folder), the reference files are copied, not the original media files.
      • Multicam and compound clips only: This duplicates the project and creates new parent clips for multicam or compound clips in the project. This means that the backup versions of the multicam and compound clips are not linked to the original parent versions and will not be updated when the original parent versions change. This option allows you to save a version of a project and prevent accidental changes to multicam or compound clips in that version. This option does not duplicate media and therefore makes a more compact backup file set that saves storage space. You can provide a name for a new event to hold the multicam or compound clips, or you can choose an existing event from the event pop-up menu. For more information about multicam and compound clips, see Compound clips overview and Multicam editing overview.
        Note: The "Multicam and compound clips only" option is available only if your project contains multicam or compound clips.
  5. If you want to include render files, select the option to Include Render Files.
  6. Click OK.

Final Cut Pro X duplicates the project using the option you selected. Each project is saved with an incremented name (for example, "Bill’s movie1"), and appears in the location you set. In most situations, viewing your backup projects and events is as simple as connecting your storage device to Final Cut Pro and locating your backup project or event in the project Library. For more information about locating or viewing your project, see Common media management issues.

Note: When you import media into Final Cut Pro X 10.0.9 or earlier, you have the option to "Copy files to Final Cut events folder". Selecting this option duplicates the source media files on your drive. If you import files with this option deselected, Final Cut Pro X creates reference files (file aliases) that point to the source media files without copying them. When you back up events and projects that use these files, Final Cut Pro X copies the reference files only (not the source media files). If you want to replace the reference files with the actual source media files after you back up your project or event, select the events and choose File > Organize event files.

Learn More

See the following resources for more information on updating your projects and events:

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