3 Replies Latest reply: Jan 30, 2009 3:13 AM by bristlybadger
bristlybadger Level 1 (5 points)
Hi all,

I've got a new Mac Pro (woo hoo) and am sorting out stuff on my old one which is changing hands. My iPhoto pictures are all, I presume, in the Pictures folder, in a single file called iPhoto Library. I assume it's a file, because when I click on it all I get is the iPhoto icon, no other folders and Preview telling me the file is 29.85GB in size. Sitting alongside that file are seven AVIs which are also on iPhoto, although these seven are by no means all the AVIs.

Can anyone confirm that this folder structure for iPhoto and Pictures is correct? I don't want to lose anything.

What worries me is that my Username > Library folder, I've noticed another folder called iPhoto Library containing a few thumbnails from 2002. An identical folder also resides in my Documents folder.

The identical folders both contain the following folders:

iPhoto Library

Also in the folders are the following files:


Is it safe for me to delete this stuff? I'm in a tidy mood and want to get rid of any detritus sitting around.

The thumbnails from 2002 don't show up in iPhoto. I think the original photos are in an OS9 archive. (I upgraded to OSX in 2004 and can't remember whether I used iPhoto before then on OS9 or if it even existed for OS9.)

But I'm not sure about the significance of the file called AlbumData.xml - there is no similarly named file in my Pictures folder and I'm concerned that it might control the library for iPhoto's real contents.

I'd be really grateful if anyone can shed any light on this for me.

Best wishes,


Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 GHz Dual Core Intel Xeon, Mac OS X (10.4.10), 5 GB Ram
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (136,590 points)
    Given that you’ve just got a new Mac my guess is that you’re using iPhoto 08 (you’re posting in the v6 forum).

    This is confirmed by the following:

    in the Pictures folder, in a single file called iPhoto Library.

    It’s not really a File btw. With iPhoto 7 (iLife 08) the old iPhoto Library Folder is now a Unix Style Package File. The change was made to the format of the iPhoto library because many users were inadvertently corrupting their library by browsing through it with other software or making changes in it themselves.

    Want to look inside? Right click on it and select ‘Show Package Contents’ from the resulting menu. A Finder window will open with then Library exposed.

    Standard Warning: Don't change anything in the iPhoto Library Folder via the Finder or any other application. iPhoto depends on the structure as well as the contents of this folder. Moving things, renaming things or otherwise making changes will prevent iPhoto from working and could even cause you to damage or lose your photos.

    From your description of the other Folders in User/Library and User/Documents, they look like leftovers from an even earlier upgrade of iPhoto. If there are no full sized photos in them then yes, you can trash them that you want, then yes you can trash them. If there are some full-sized pics in there you want, drag them to the iPhoto Window and they’ll be imported. Then trash the flotsam and jetsam.

    You never used iPhoto in OS 9.

    The AlbumData.xml file is the file other apps read when they integrate with iPhoto. If that one you’ve found is outside the iPhoto Library package, then you can trash it as well.


  • LarryHN Level 9 (74,400 points)
    1 - iPhoto libraries are SQL databases and iPhoto depends on both their content and structure - you can not safely delete anything within the iPhoto library using the finder - you can only safely modify the iPhoto library using iPhoto

    2 - what version do you have? You have posted in the iPhoto 6 forum but the iPhoto library format you are describing (in a single file called iPhoto Library. I assume it's a file, because when I click on it all I get is the iPhoto icon) sounds like an iPhoto '08 library - they are different and it is important to know which version you have in order to give correct answers

    3 - the first thing to do is to launch iPhoto with the option (alt) key depressed and use the select library function and see if iPhoto can see this old library. If it can select it and let iPhoto convert it and show you its contents - if it works ad you want the photos you can export them to the desktop and then go back to your main library and import the photos and them delete the old library - if it does not then you need to look at the originals folder within the library and drag it to the desktop and import any photos you want - then you can delete all of the old stuff

  • bristlybadger Level 1 (5 points)
    Thanks for the advice. I'm in iPhoto 8 BTW - apologies if I'm in the wrong place. I checked out these old libraries as suggested. Nothing doing so they've been deleted with no ill-effects in iPhoto. Many thanks one and all.