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Photos for Mac and iOS: The Missing Manual by Lesa Snider

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Chapter 10. Managing Your Library

Photos’ library concept is very tidy: Your entire Photos existence is bundled into a single file. It’s also quite versatile because you can maintain a single library or several. (You first met your Mac’s Photos library file back in Chapter 2; see Dealing With Duplicates for an overview of what it contains.)

Photos makes it easy to create new libraries and switch among them on your Mac, but there are consequences. For example, it may sound like a great idea to create a new library for your kid’s sporting events, your niece’s wedding, or your space walk outside the International Space Station (hey, astronauts might read this book). But is that a good idea? This chapter points out the many reasons why it’s not.

If, for whatever reason, you find yourself in Multiple Library Land, you can always merge them to simplify your Photos experience. Unfortunately, doing so is no easy task. Since Photos can’t merge its own libraries, you have to employ other methods that cost money. This chapter walks you through all your options.

Another important aspect of managing your library files is backing them up. Recent surveys report that the things people are most afraid of losing in a catastrophe—besides other people and pets, of course—are their digital photos and videos. Even if you’re using iCloud Photo Library (Meet the iCloud Photo Library) and you feel smug knowing that you maintain an offsite backup of your library on Apple’s iCloud servers, it’s safer to err ...

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