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Mac 101: How to back up your Google Reader account

Google is sunsetting its Reader service in July and you may be on the hunt for a new RSS service and client to use. Before you fire up that new client, you should take a few minutes to back up your current Google Reader feeds as you may need to import them into your new app. Importing your feeds will be a lot faster than manually re-subscribing to each one. It's also a good idea to have a copy stored locally as a backup.

Here's what you need to do to pull your feeds down from Google Reader:

Mac 101 How to backup your Google Reader files

1. Login to your Google Reader account and click on the gear on the right-hand side of your web browser. Select "Reader Settings" from the drop-down menu.

Mac 101 How to backup your Google Reader files

2. Click on the Import/Export tab in the Google Settings page. Here you will find a link to "Download your data through Takeout."

3. Click on the link to "Download your data through Takeout" and you will be brought to Google's Takeout service. Login again to your Google account, if needed.

Mac 101 How to backup your Google Reader files

4. Make sure the "Choose Services" button at the top of Takeout is selected and Google Reader is noted in the box on the center of the screen. Click on the "Create Archive" button at the bottom to create a backup of your Google Reader account.

5. You will then jump to the download screen where you will see the progress of your backup. My backup was small so it was already completed by the time the page opened. The files for your Google Reader account will be bundled into a zip file and can be downloaded to your computer.

Mac 101 How to backup your Google Reader files

6. Click on the download button to start transferring the Google Reader files to your computer. I use the default download settings in my browser, so my zip file was saved to the "Downloads" folder on my Mac.

Depending on your settings, your file may be saved to a different location. You may also be prompted to open the file with the archive utility or save it to your drive. I recommend saving the file directly to the drive. If you download the file and forget where it was saved, you can locate it by opening the "Downloads" window in your web browser or clicking on the Downloads icon in your OS X Dock.

Mac 101 How to backup your Google Reader files

7. Locate the downloaded zip file on your Mac using Finder and double-click on it to extract the files to their own folder. The Reader folder will contain a handful of .json files and a subscriptions.xml file. You can ignore (but not delete) the .json files.

8. Open your new RSS client and use it to import the subscriptions.xml file that you just downloaded and extracted. Please note that this backup contains your RSS feeds and folders (subscriptions.xml) as well as your starred articles (liked.json), shared articles (shared.json) and more. Though stored in the backup, these starred and shared articles are not always transferred into other apps.

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