OS X Mountain Lion: Important app files to back up Print

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Before you erase or reformat your hard disk or update your system software, you should back up your Mac. If you can’t back up your entire Mac, back up the files listed below, which are used by apps to hold user data or preferences.

The tilde (~) character indicates the name of your home folder, which is the same as your user name. (For example, if your user name is Anna, your home folder is named anna.)

Note: The Library folder is hidden. If you need to open it, make sure you are in the Finder, hold down the Option key, and then choose Go > Library.
Data fileLocation

Your documents

~/Documents and ~/Desktop

Mail data and settings


iTunes data and settings


iPhoto data and settings

~/Pictures/iPhoto Library/

Contacts data and settings

~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook

Calendar data and settings


Safari data and settings




Keychain data and settings




Other preferences


Apps not from Apple may store user data in different locations. For more information, check the documentation that came with your app.

If you moved app data, such as your iTunes or iPhoto library, from its original location, make sure to also back up that data.

Last Modified: Aug 8, 2013

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