iMovie Project Data Lost

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 12.39.56 PMRecently, I had a client that had a problem with iMovie. They found that when they opened up iMovie, all the work they had done on the project that they were working on was gone. They restored the project from Time Machine and found that the project was still blank.

I also took a shot and restoring from the Time Machine disk and found the same thing so I called Apple and after talking to the level one support person, they escalated to a level 2 iMovie support specialist. We looked at the logs and it looks like iMovie crashed on the machine probably at some point. Normally that would not of been an issue except iMovie had never been closed for days while working on this project.

So here’s what I found out. If you have a project open in iMovie, Time Machine never backs it up. The reason is the file is in use. Even more importantly iMovie does not write your work to the disk until you close the program. So if you open iMovie, start a project, work on it for days and nights, but never close iMovie, your work never gets written to the hard disk. It’s only in memory. Since it’s never written to the hard disk, but still open, it does not get backed up either with Time Machine.  This was actually news to me.

So here is what probably happened.  My client opened iMovie and iMovie was never closed so the work was never written to the project on disk and the work was never backed up. Then something on the machine had a problem causing iMovie to crash and all of those days of work on the project was lost.

The take away for this is that you need to close iMovie every once in a while in the process of working on your projects. Without closing iMovie you’re never going to write your work to the hard drive and if you don’t write it to the hard drive it will not get backed up.