Perhaps Time Machine works in standard cases, but for some slightly edge cases it’s completely opaque. After much Googling I’ve finally discovered how to get my old photos from iPhoto back, they had been lost for over a month and I was just about to book a Genius Bar appointment in desperation.
The problem is when I upgraded to Yosemite my machine became so slow and unusable I had to reinstall the OS from scratch (the subject of another blog post). At the time I was abroad on a work trip so I thought I’d put my critical docs on a USB stick in case a Time Machine restore fails.
But even with the largest capacity USB stick I only had room for my critical docs, not my iPhoto library which was around 20gb at that point. “No problem” I thought, “I backup religiously, even my backups are synced to the web, so I will definitely be able to get everything back from Time Machine”. No such luck.
The problem seems to be if you reinstall the operating system, or even upgrade to a new major version, the Mac doesn’t recognise your backups as coming from the same disk, so they become inaccessible. When you connect to your Time Machine you can see your backup history in the Timeline on the right hand side but clicking on any dated bar doesn’t bring you back to that point in time, the save points appear to be inaccessible.
The solution is a massive hack, and definitely something that you’d never stumble into even after spending ages with trial and error.
- Hit “enter Time Machine”
- Press the key combination shift-command-C
- Then (very important) select a red bar to go back in time
Explanation: dull red bars represent backups you cannot access, bright red bars you can
- Then from Macintosh HD navigate to desired folder you want to restore
Backups will now be accessible and you can select the folder you want to restore.