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Published at: 2019-09-05 23:19:47 +0000
Recently I compared the output from a Time Machine backup and my computer (on macOS 10.14.6 (18G87)). All the things you expected to not be backed up weren't, such as Caches, Trash, Simulators, etc. But one thing that caught me by surprise was this unusual omission:
While all the photos in the Photo Library were backed up (~200GB) the index database was not (roughly 300MB in comparison!). While this would make sense if you use iCloud Photo Library, this problem occurs even if you have iCloud Photo Library turned off. Without this, after restoring macOS the photo library reports its self as "damaged" and needs to be "repaired". Unfortunately, in my tests of running a full restore, something along the way loses track of the videos in your photo library and you can't watch them anymore.
Apple was made aware of this problem a couple months ago but have not responded. I recommend copying these files manually to the backup drive just in case you need to do a full restore, and if you are transferring from one Mac to another then maybe manually copy the Photo Library instead of using Time Machine restore.
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