10 Replies Latest reply: Mar 30, 2010 12:00 AM by Terence Devlin
RuiBorges Level 1 (0 points)

Recently i have imported some photos to iphoto. The pictures displays normally but, when i double click for zoom or edit, it only appear a big exclamation point!

This appends with the majority of the photos.

How do i solve this?


MacBook Pro 13´, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • Old Toad Level 10 (135,423 points)
    Welcome to the Apple Discussions. That's an indication of a damaged database. Try the three fixes below in order as needed:

    Fix #1

    Launch iPhoto with the Command+Option keys depressed and follow the instructions to rebuild the library. Select all options.

    Fix #2

    Rebuild the library using iPhoto Library Manager as follows:

    Using iPhoto Library Manager to Rebuild Your iPhoto Library

    1 -Download iPhoto Library Manager and launch.

    2 -Click on the Add Library button, navigate to your User/Pictures folder and select your iPhoto Library folder.

    3 - Now that the library is listed in the left hand pane of iPLM, click on your library and go to the File->Rebuild Library menu option

    4 - In the next window name the new library and select the location you want it to be placed.

    5 - Click on the Create button.

    Note: This creates a new library based on the LIbraryData.xml file in the library and will recover Events, Albums, keywords, titles and comments but not books, calendars or slideshows. The original library will be untouched for further attempts at fixing or in case the rebuilt library is not satisfactory.

    Fix #3

    Start over with a new library and import the Originals folder from your original library as follows:

    Creating a new library while preserving the Events from the original library.

    1. Move the existing library folder to the desktop.
    2. Open the library package like this.
    3. Launch iPhoto and, when asked, select the option to create a new library.
    4. Drag the Originals folder from the iPhoto Library on the desktop into the open iPhoto window.

    This will create a new library with the same Events as the original library if you have the Finder checkbox unchecked in the Events preference pane.

  • tdrehm Level 1 (0 points)
    First. Thanks for the terrific explanation. That did the trick. I tried solution 1 with no luck then tried #2 and it worked.
    My question is this:
    I suppose I'm an idiot, but after all was said and done and my rebuilt library was to my liking (and having a backup of my original iphoto library library on TM) I deleted my original library and...here's the idiot part...renamed my "rebuilt library" to "iPhoto library".
    When I launch iphoto, it still recognizes the library fine and works fine, but now I have a folder in my pictures called "REBUILT LIBRARY" with albumdata.xml, albumdata2.xml, com.apple.iphoto.plist, iphoto.ispot, and a folder METADATA BACKUP. The folder wasn't there before I renamed the library.
    Hummmm? The library works fine with the renamed - name but for whatever reason the rebuilt library Name wants to stick around.

    Can you help please.

    Again, thank you for the excellent explanations.

  • Old Toad Level 10 (135,423 points)
    Haven't run into that before. Move the folder with the rebuilt name to the Trash but don't delete. Launch iPhoto with the Option key depressed and select Other Library in the next window. Navigate to your Pictures folder and select the library there. Run that library a bit, closing and launching normally to see if all is well. If so empty the Trash.
  • tdrehm Level 1 (0 points)
    Well...there you go.
    That seems to have worked. Not sure why it "created" that folder but it didn't create it again once I moved it to the trash. One interesting thing (well...I think it's interesting!). After I sent the first post, within the REBUILT LIBRARY folder, was created another folder called iPHOTO LIBRARY with all the same individual files I mentioned in the previous post, PLUS another METADATA BACKUP folder. The library itself was not in that folder, but all the associated files I mentioned.
    Anyway...It seems to have worked. I did exactly as you said and it's working like a charm.
    Thank you.
  • gmags Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi Old Toad, thanks for this info. I just ran into these problems and found this thread.

    I tried this as well --#1 didn't work, so I downloaded iphoto Library Manager and for some reason when I try fix #2, I can't get past adding the library -- it doesn't show up here: -" Now that the library is listed in the left hand pane of iPLM"

    Can you tell me what I'm doing wrong?

  • Auntly H Level 1 (0 points)
    Will try these tips to repair some photos, but Fix #3 references the problem I was searching for help on. When running Tiger and iPhoto-something less than 8 or 9, I could see the Originals and Modified folders in Finder.
    I upgraded to Snow Leopard and iLife '09 and now I only see an iPhoto Library file, no folders with individual image files in them. Without that, Fix #3 won't work. Worse, for me, I can't open individual files in anything other than iPhoto and can no longer easily use my photos on my blog or anywhere else.

    Can you help me?
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,945 points)
    When running Tiger and iPhoto-something less than 8 or 9, I could see the Originals and Modified folders in Finder.

    Since iPhoto 7 (iLife 08) the old iPhoto Library Folder is now a Package File. This is simply a folder that looks like a file in the Finder. 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.

    Worse, for me, I can't open individual files in anything other than iPhoto and can no longer easily use my photos on my blog or anywhere else.

    Accessing the files in the old Library Folder has never been a supported method of working with your photos.

    There are many, many ways to access your files in iPhoto:

    *For Users of 10.5 and later*

    You can use any Open / Attach / Browse dialogue. On the left there's a Media heading, your pics can be accessed there. Command-Click for selecting multiple pics.

    Open dialogue
    Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

    (Note the above illustration is not a Finder Window. It's the dialogue you get when you go File -> Open)

    You can access the Library from the New Message Window in Mail:

    New Message Window
    Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

    *For users of 10.4 and later* ...

    Many internet sites such as Flickr and SmugMug have plug-ins for accessing the iPhoto Library. If the site you want to use doesn’t then some, one or any of these will also work:

    To upload to a site that does not have an iPhoto Export Plug-in the recommended way is to Select the Pic in the iPhoto Window and go File -> Export and export the pic to the desktop, then upload from there. After the upload you can trash the pic on the desktop. It's only a copy and your original is safe in iPhoto.

    This is also true for emailing with Web-based services. However, if you're using Gmail you can use iPhoto2GMail

    If you use Apple's Mail, Entourage, AOL or Eudora you can email from within iPhoto.

    If you use a Cocoa-based Browser such as Safari, you can drag the pics from the iPhoto Window to the Attach window in the browser.

    *If you want to access the files with iPhoto not running*:

    For users of 10.6 and later:
    You can download a free Services component from MacOSXAutomation which will give you access to the iPhoto Library from your Services Menu. Using the Services Preference Pane you can even create a keyboard shortcut for it.

    For Users of 10.4 and later:
    Create a Media Browser using Automator (takes about 10 seconds) or use this free utility Karelia iMedia Browser

    Other options include:

    1. *Drag and Drop*: Drag a photo from the iPhoto Window to the desktop, there iPhoto will make a full-sized copy of the pic.

    2. *File -> Export*: Select the files in the iPhoto Window and go File -> Export. The dialogue will give you various options, including altering the format, naming the files and changing the size. Again, producing a copy.

    3. *Show File*: Right- (or Control-) Click on a pic and in the resulting dialogue choose 'Show File'. A Finder window will pop open with the file already selected.

    You can set Photoshop (or any image editor) as an external editor in iPhoto. (Preferences -> General -> Edit Photo: Choose from the Drop Down Menu.) This way, when you double click a pic to edit in iPhoto it will open automatically in Photoshop or your Image Editor, and when you save it it's sent back to iPhoto automatically. This is the only way that edits made in another application will be displayed in iPhoto.

    Note that iPhoto sends a copy+ of the file to Photoshop, so when you save be sure to use the Save command, not Save As... If you use Save As then you're creating a new file and iPhoto has no way of knowing about this new file. iPhoto is preserving your original anyway.

    All of the above are a: faster and b: safer than rooting around in the old Library folder.


  • TChern Level 1 (0 points)

    I tried Fix #1, but it didn't work. Fix #2, only some of the pictures were transferred to the new library. What can I do to make sure that all the pictures get transferred to the new library?

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • mednerd Level 1 (0 points)
    I'm having more or less the same issue as the person above; NONE of my pictures are being opened. After merging events and renaming the event the pictures no longer open, and I went into the package folders and found the pictures under their original event names (a date). How can I get iPhoto to merge and change names in the "original" folder?? and even better, how can I reclaim my library?? None of my pictures are being opened, even those with zero alterations to name or mergings. I haven't moved any folders in my computer around and it doesn't make any sense.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,945 points)
    and I went into the package folders and found the pictures under their original event names (a date). How can I get iPhoto to merge and change names in the "original" folder??

    You can't.

    Apart from disaster recovery there is never aneed for you to go into the Library package. There are no user serviceable parts there.

    A to the pics not showing up:

    Option 1
    Back Up and try rebuild the library: hold down the command and option (or alt) keys while launching iPhoto. Use the resulting dialogue to rebuild. Choose to Rebuild iPhoto Library Database from automatic backup.

    If that fails:

    Option 2
    Download iPhoto Library Manager and use its rebuild function. This will create a new library based on data in the albumdata.xml file. Not everything will be brought over - no slideshows, books or calendars, for instance - but it should get all your albums and keywords, faces and places back.

    Because this process creates an entirely new library and leaves your old one untouched, it is non-destructive, and if you're not happy with the results you can simply return to your old one.