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If you would rather not have to deal with reference image files and would prefer to move them into your Photos Library, you can do so by: If you can’t remember which images are referenced, and which are already stored in the Photos Library, you can choose some or all of the images, and then select Consolidate from the File menu.
Once you have all the reference files consolidated to your Photos Library, you can use the same manual backup process as outlined in steps 1 through 4, above, for backing up your i Photo Library.
In many cases, reference image files are stored on an external drive, a USB flash drive, or another device.
Reference files are convenient, but they present a problem when you back up.
Once the images are downloaded to your Mac, the flash storage device is more than likely erased to make room for a new batch of photos. If you’re an avid photographer, your image library has the potential to be bursting at the seams with images you've taken over the years.
More than likely, you've gone through your Photos or i Photo Library a few times, and deleted images you decided you no longer needed.
Backing up the Photos Library isn't much different than the method used for the i Photo Library, but there are a couple of extra considerations.
Additionally, Photos allows you to store images outside of the Photos Library; this is referred to as using reference files.
Reference files are usually used to allow you to access images that you don’t wish to take up space on your Mac.
Since the reference images aren't stored within the Photos Library, they're not backed up when you copy the Photos Library.
That means you need to remember where any reference files are located and make sure they're backed up as well.
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Backing up and archiving your Photos or i Photo Library, and all the images it holds can be one of the most critical tasks you need to regularly perform.