Limiting Catalog Backups


Today’s Question: I backup “every time Lightroom exits” because I’m not in Lightroom Classic every day, or even most times once a week. Is there an option to tell Lightroom to only keep “x” number of backups or to purge backups older than a specific date?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Unfortunately, no. The only option is to periodically delete older backups, so that only a handful of recent (and perhaps one or two older) backups of your Lightroom Classic catalog remain.

More Detail: I hope that all photographers are regularly backing up their photos, so that if anything goes wrong with their computer or storage device they won’t lose any of their precious photos. Of similar importance, however, is backing up the catalog if you are using Lightroom Classic to manage your photos.

The Lightroom catalog contains all of the information about your photos, including updates and changes you apply within Lightroom Classic. Backing up the catalog regularly ensure that you’ll have something to fall back on if your catalog is lost or corrupted.

Of course, the backup feature in Lightroom Classic doesn’t include an option to clean out old backups. Instead, you’ll need to navigate to the backup location yourself through your operating system. There you’ll find folders named for the date upon which the backup was created.

I generally recommend keeping a few recent backups, including, of course, the most recent backup. I also recommend keeping a backup from a few months ago, and one from perhaps about six months ago, just so you have some options in case there is corruption of your catalog that also impacts the backup copies of your catalog.

All other backup copies can be deleted, which means simply deleting the folders that contain catalog backups you no longer need. This process can be repeated periodically to reduce clutter and wasted storage space in the location where you store the backup copies if your Lightroom catalog.