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iPhoto : my library is empty (crashed ?) how can I recover my picture (trash is empty)

336 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Apr 25, 2013 9:02 AM by Old Toad RSS
Romi75 Calculating status...
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Apr 24, 2013 2:47 PM

Help ! How can I recover my pictures, ? My library is empty !!

I opened i photo and there was just nothing.

I went to see "iLibrary", it's empty, and it says it was created a few hours ago ? (when I've had my mac for several years now)

Thank you so much for your help.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (113,315 points)

    What version of iPhoto are your running?  Is your profile correct?  Launch iPhoto with the Option key held down and see if more than one library is listed in the nextr window:



    If there is a second library listed open it and see if your photos show up.


    If not download and run  Find Any File to search for "Library6.iPhoto".  Each library will have such a file.  If you have more than one library on your hard drive FAF will find it as it an search areas that Spotlight can't.



  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (26,980 points)

    Could it be a virus ?


    No. Malware on the Mac is fairly rare, and there's no known Mac malware that just goes around deleting files. Because then people start asking whether they might have a virus!


    Any other suggestion ? Any way, apps, to try to recover pictures that were deleted ?


    First question is: do you have a backup? If the answer is yes, the simplest thing to do is to just restore your iPhoto library from an intact backup. If the answer is no, you may be about to learn the hard way why backups are important.


    One option would be to rebuild the iPhoto library:



    However, if the photos have truly been lost somehow, and you don't have backups, anything you do with the machine will reduce the chances of recovery. Even just reading this message. See Recovering deleted files for help with data recovery.


    So, it's a bit of a quandry. Do you attempt to rebuild, in hopes that it fixes the problem completely, but taking the risk that it also might cause some of your photos to become unrecoverable if it doesn't? Or do you jump straight to file recovery, which may waste a lot of your time without even helping, because the files are actually still there?


    One thing you can do to resolve this quandry, if you can, is shut down your Mac, then connect it to another Mac via Firewire target disk mode, which will mount your Mac's hard drive on the other Mac's desktop, like an external hard drive. Then, find your iPhoto library, control-click it and choose Show Package Contents. In the folder that opens, find the Originals folder. There should be a bunch of folders in there, and if you dig deeply enough, you should find your photos.


    If you see your photos in there, rebuilding the library would be worth trying, and trying to recover deleted files won't be helpful, since the files haven't actually been deleted. Worst case scenario, rebuilding will fail and you may have to gather all those files from inside the library by hand and re-create the library.


    If you don't see your photos anywhere, they've been lost somehow, and you'll need to try recovery.

  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (113,315 points)

    There are file recovery applictaions like   SubrosaSoft FileSalvagethat might be able to recover your image files if they haven't been overwritten.  FS can be run in demo mode to let you know what can be recovered before you have to purchase it. 


    There are other recovery apps available.  Go to and search for "file recovery".  


    If you don't have a backup strategy in place I'd seriously consider getting one.  An easy one to implement is to get an external HD and use Time Machine.  There are only two kinds of hard drives in use in computers:  those that have crashed and those that will. 


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