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This tutorial will show you how to backup and save your iMovie project to external storage — a flash drive, a hard drive, MC Storage Space, or cloud storage.

Note: If you wish to backup your project to the MC Storage Space, you will need to sign up before backing up your iMovie/Final Cut Pro/GarageBand project.

Sign up for MC Storage Space 

Movie Library

iMovie will autosave all of its data and assets (video, images, audio) into a library file called iMovie Library in the Movies folder of the computer you are working on for the day. Every time you make a change or add to your project in iMovie, your project will autosave. This iMovie Library file must not be renamed or it will stop working.

When you are done editing for the day, close out of iMovie by click on the red button in the top-left corner of the program. This will ensure that your project saves one last time before you back it up.

Next, locate your iMovie Library in the Movies folder by either double-clicking on the Macintosh HD icon in the top-right corner of your desktop, or clicking on the Finder icon at the bottom of your screen. This will bring up a new Finder window.

The Movies folder is located on the left-hand side of this Finder window, so click on Movies. Your iMovie Library will be listed in that folder. This is the file you will want to move back and forth, between your external storage and the computer.

Do not double-click on this file, otherwise it will open you project back up and you will have to close out of iMovie again.


Backing Up

If you have a flash drive or external hard drive that you wish to save your project to, you will want to plug your drive into the computer via USB. Your drive will show up on the Desktop, and you can double-click on your drive to open it and see its contents.

If you have a MC Storage Space already created and wish to save to it, locate the Access My MC Storage Space icon on the right hand side of the desktop and double click the icon.

This will launch the MC Drive but it will not open on its own.

Once the MC icon appears on the desktop, double-click it.

This will open up a new Finder window with all of the MC Storage Space folders for which you have signed up.

Double-click on the folder that you wish to save to.

Now that you’ve accessed whichever storage method you wish to use, you should have two Finder windows open — one with your iMovie Library, and one for your external storage. Go to the one with your iMovie Library.

Right-click on your iMovie Library file. Within this menu, select “Compress iMovie Library.” This will compress your file into a .zip file, which protects your file, and creates a second backup.

Once you’ve compressed your iMovie Library, you should now have a file called iMovie Library.zip in this list as well.

Now all that’s left to do is to drag both your iMovie Library and iMovie Library.zip over into your external storage folder (flash drive, hard drive, or MC Storage). Dragging and dropping these files will copy them into your storage.

If you have an older version of your iMovie Library in your storage folder, the computer will ask you if you wish to replace it with your new project. Select “Replace” in order to overwrite your old iMovie Library with your new iMovie Library. Be careful not to overwrite your current iMovie Library!

Once your iMovie Library and iMovie Library.zip files are copied into storage, you are all set to logout of the computer! Now you will have your projects backed up, so you can restore them and work on them again later.

If you are backing up your project to cloud storage such as Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox, simply login to your cloud storage account from a web browser, and upload your iMovie Library.zip file after you’ve compressed it by following the steps above.

You do not need to upload the regular, orange iMovie Library file, as cloud storage services will not recognize this file. Once your iMovie Library.zip file is uploaded, then you are all set!


To restore your project from the MC Storage Space server or from an external drive, you will reverse the back-up process and this time move the iMovie Library from your Storage Space to the Movies Folder. You will need to to this before you launch iMovie.

Once your iMovie Library is back in the Movies folder of your computer, eject whichever external drive you had connected to the computer by right-clicking on the icon on the Desktop, and select “Eject.” This will ensure that you are not working from your backup copy of your project.

Once your drive is ejected, double-click on your iMovie Library in the Movies folder, and all of your work will return so you can continue editing.

If you are restoring from cloud storage, login to your account and download your iMovie Library.zip to the computer. Once you’ve downloaded the file, move the .zip file into the Movies folder of the computer.

After it’s moved, double-click on iMovie Library.zip to unzip it. This will bring back your regular iMovie Library file. Now double-click on your iMovie Library to continue editing in iMovie.

If you are not 100% sure about how to back up your files to the Media Commons Storage Space or have general questions, please contact us before you leave the Media Commons editing lab.