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My iphoto library has disappeared. How do I find it?

67829 Views 157 Replies Latest reply: Mar 14, 2014 5:58 AM by clodo9 RSS
  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (113,310 points)

    If the original image files are still in the library but just not accessable by the current library you can do the following:

     

    Starting over from scratch with new library

     

    Start over with a new library and import the Originals (iPhoto 09 and earlier) or the Masters (iPhoto 11) folder from your original library as follows:

     

    1. Open the library package like this.

     

     

     

    2. Launch iPhoto with the Option key held down and, when asked, select the option to create a new library.

     

    3. Drag the Originals (iPhoto 09 and earlier) or the Masters (iPhoto 11) folder from the open iPhoto Library package into the open iPhoto window.

     

    Click to view full size

     

    This will create a new library with the same Events (but not necessarily the same Event names) as the original library but will not keep the metadata, albums, books slideshows and other projects.

     

    Note:  your current library will be left untouched for further attempts at a fix if so desired.

  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (54,900 points)

    There is no "HUGE Hole" in iPhoto - in face we have no idea what caused your problem - the number of instances of this "HUGH Hole"  is miniscule when you see that millions and millions and millions of people use iphoto without this happening - the most common reason for this problem is simple user error - an "HUGE Hole" in the users abilities and knowldge

     

    Why should we miss our memories because of some software fault?

    See above - the reason that you no longer have your photos is that something happened that no one can identify because you do not have enough information (if you did then there is a good changce it could be resolved) - AND that you have choosen not to have a backup, a very poor choice  - without a good current backup you are 100% certainl to lose all of your files including your photos sooner or later - what is known for sure is that computers, hardware, software and expecially users fail and without a backup when that happens you lost things

     

     

    Did you try Doctor Random's suggestion?

     

     

     

    This worked for me, after an idea presented here:

     

    http://www.fatcatsoftware.com/iplm/Help/disappearing%20iphoto%20libraries%20on%2 0external%20drives.html

     

    if you do a

     

    Finder> Go> Go to Folder

     

    enter /Volumes in the search box

     

    Click Go

     

    You should get a list of Volumes the machine knows about.

     

    I deleted the Macintosh HD alias file listed, and magically iPhoto Library reappeared and iPhoto worked normally.

     

     

    YMMV

     

     


    LN

  • Stas Slobodyanik Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately it helped only with the duplicates (now there is one copy of each pic) but many and many of original photos are still in the thumbnail size.

  • Stas Slobodyanik Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Larry, I totally understand your point. And need to think about backup for sure. That is my next step to take.

     

    But "HUGE Hole" in the users abilities and knowldge" is ending at the point where I had only moved my one and only iPhoto lib to another folder (as a one file package), and then re-assigned it to new copy of iPhoto. The rest is on behalf of softwere abilities on handling the data IMHO.

     

    There were: no split copying, no rename, no power failure during library update. I can't thin of any srange behavour of mine or mac during the migration process.

     

    Is there any other way to get the original sized photos?

     

    I'd be thankful for any chance to restore them.

  • Sigivald Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    [...] without a good current backup you are 100% certainl to lose all of your files including your photos sooner or later

     

    This is the truest thing anyone has ever said on the Internet.

     

    If it's not backed up, it might as well already be deleted.

     

    And if you haven't tested the backup, it's not backed up.

  • DagnyTaggart6 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    This happened to me as well. The icon where my iPhoto library used to be appear now shows a question mark as an icon at the bottom of my screen. It has totally disappeared.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,745 points)

    That's not an icon for your Photo Library, that's the icon for your iPhoto application. Reinstall it.

  • DagnyTaggart6 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm reinstalling it now. Thank you.

  • droow007 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    There IS definitely something untoward goijng on here. I opened iphoto two days ago to email a picture, opened it today and it's asking me to locate or create a library.

     

    There is NO doubt that some process has deleted the library. It's not in the trash, there's nothing showing up in a search AND as a few people have said, there is also NO sign of the library on my time machine backup.

     

    tried larryhnHN's fix- nothing

     

    Anyone got to the bottom of this yet?

  • SamM410 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm having the same problem. Last night I saved a photo from an email into an event. My screensaver which is a photo in my library was on. I turned the computer off woke up this morning and went to look at the photo and the iPhoto library was gone. There was no screensaver either. I went through support with apple and found some of the original photos in the trash bin under iPhoto library. This was for some reason put in there 2 weeks ago when we werent even there. we were out of state with password protected computer locked and alarmed house and nobody having keys or access to the house. i have only had the computer 1 month. But All photos from 6 months ago are gone. Luckily I have a backup of all but last 2 weeks of photos.  I searched for the last 6 months of photos under their date and event name but they aren't there.

    Apple asked us to take the hard drive in to them which we have.

     

    Very unusual as if the whole library had been deleted it'd all be in the trash. Also unusual that there is a file called iPhoto dated 2 weeks ago in trash which has photos somehow from iPhone dated after the deleted date but missing photos from camera from before the deleted date.

     

    Other interesting thing was that an automatic update was done yesterday on the computer.

  • Kmtavares Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    We are having a very similar problem.  Ironically, my friend was worried about losing her pictures.  We bought an external drive, and she brought her macbook over to setup time machine.

     

    We needed her "password", which she didn't have, so we reset it using a boot disk and the password recovery utility.

     

    The system did a software update overnight.

    We added time machine, and backed everything up.

    Updated itunes to support her new ipad, and sync'd it.

    None of her pictures were there (except 2000+ photobooth pictures), no iphoto pictures

     

    the iphoto library icon in the Dock has a "?" in it.

     

    Can't find the library...

     

    We didn't delete any files or folders...has anybody been able to find a missing iphoto library?

  • DagnyTaggart6 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    When I reinstalled iPhoto, all my missing photos suddenly reappeared. I don't understand what happened but I'm just happy that they all magically reappeared somehow.

  • steve626 Level 4 Level 4 (1,395 points)

    DagnyTaggart6 wrote:

     

    When I reinstalled iPhoto, all my missing photos suddenly reappeared. I don't understand what happened but I'm just happy that they all magically reappeared somehow.

    For people reading these threads, wondering how files or programs could somehow "disappear" consider some of the following possibilities:

     

    * People having access to your computer doing something by accident (or intentionally). And it doesn't have to be people even, we have seen posts about cats running across keyboard and deleting files.

     

    * Searching for files, say in Spotlight or File => Find, and then deleting some of the entries in that found file list by selecting it and hitting command D or other similar keystrokes. This can actually delete the file in question.

     

    * Dragging a file across the screen or directories and unintentionally (and unknowingly) depositing it into a package, thus changing that package (iPhoto Library and the iPhoto program itself are actually packages). Or accidentally moving files.

     

    * Running low on disk space, at which point some files can be damaged or even overwritten.

     

    * File catalog errors that may make it impossible to find or access a file (iPhoto library) or one of the folders inside it. You can check your disk for these errors by running Disk Utility.

     

    * Other user activities, such as the following that was posted above:

     

    "We needed her 'password', which she didn't have, so we reset it using a boot disk and the password recovery utility."  I am wondering what might have actually been reset here in this instance. Was the correct boot disk used even?

     

    "The system did a software update overnight."   How could that be? The Mac requires an administrator to enter a password before installing programs or doing system updates. Who entered the password to enable the software update?

     

    * This one is my favorite: when one installs a Window partition on the Mac, some installations (such as with Parallels) enable the user who is using Windows to access, move, change, and even DELETE files that are on the Mac side of the disk. This can result in files "disappearing" literally without a trace on the Mac side.

     

    * Anyone using terminal can, with a few keystrokes, remove files without a trace, intentionally or unintentionally. although usually an administrator password is required.

     

    * Computers being shut down by unplugging or holding the power button. Can damage file catalogs and result in files being "lost."

     

    * Users trying to change their user name (short name). This can result in files being lost and question marks appearing on the dock where programs like iPhoto used to be.

     

    * Question marks appearing on the dock where iPhoto used to be. This can be a symptom of someone moving iPhoto out of the Applications folder, or deleting things from that folder, or disk corruption, or a damaged installation of the program in question.

     

    * Hard drives that may be failing or damaged will be uable to access or even see files in some areas of the disk.

     

    There are many more examples of things like those I've listed above, and it is virtually impossible to diagnose some of these remotely over the internet in these discussion venues (but some can be diagnosed and fixed in these discussions).

     

    I think the best guard against these sorts of problems is having at least one backup of everything, preferably two. The two types of backups that I use are (1) Time Machine, and (2) SuperDuper "clones". [As for item (2), there are other programs like SuperDuper that do this quite well, I use SuperDuper.] And after doing these backups, one should check manually to verify that the most irreplaceable items have in fact been properly backed up. Typically those irreplaceable items are photos; music can usually be re-downloaded from Apple or re-copied from CDs or from ipods, so that might not be as important. Personal Documents that are important should also be checked (tax returns, PhD thesis, etc.). The folders should be there with the same size as on the original disk, and even doing a dry run of restoring these files (in a scratch area) and checking that they are properly restored is a good practice. Hard drives usually have moving parts and they all eventually fail, 100% do fail, it's when, not if. And the newer ones without moving parts are basically large banks of memory chips, which can also fail. None of the users posting here who say they "lost all my photos" apparently had a viable backup, and everyone using computers with anything of value in them should have viable backups. That is really the best insurance against these disasters.

  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (113,310 points)

    Excellent analysis and summary of the pitfalls. Thanks.

  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (54,900 points)

    @steve626

     

    Great list of things to watchout for and consider as well as good backup instructions (I do TM hourly and Carbon Copy Cloner daily plus an occasional off site backup and I use three 32 GB SD cards in rotation for my camera always keeping my photos when importing to iPhoto so I only reformat my original card about one a year giving me about a year's original photos on SD cards

     

    I suggest you add your list as a iPhoto user tip - it is great reference material

     

    LN

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