Previous 1 2 Next 28 Replies Latest reply: May 22, 2011 12:59 PM by PDXTine
Tim Baker Level 2 Level 2 (280 points)

Ever since running the iPhoto upgrade today, I've found many of my photos are missing and instead replaced by just white dotted-line boxes. How can I restore these missing pictures?

  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (130,035 points)

    Make a temporary, duplicate copy of the library and try the three fixes below in order as needed:


      Fix #1


    1. delete the iPhoto preference file,, that resides in your Home/Library/Preferences folder. 
    2. delete iPhoto's cache files that are located in your Home/Library/Caches/ folder.
    3. reboot, launch iPhoto and try again.


    NOTE: If you're moved your library from its default location in your Home/Pictures folder you will have to point iPhoto to its new location when you next open iPhoto by holding the the Option key.  You'll also have to reset the iPhoto's various preferences.


    Fix #2


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



    Select options #1, #2 and #6



    Fix #3


    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 Home/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 left untouched for further attempts at fixing the problem or in case the rebuilt library is not satisfactory.


  • D. Ryder Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I had the same problem; an upgrade from iPhoto 6.0.6 to 7.1.5 (over 6 weeks ago) resulted in all of the photos prior to the upgrade going "missing" (present and identified but with exclamation points in boxes). I have been searching for solutions while adding new photos over the last 6 weeks. The new photos were coming into the Library just fine.


    I followed Fix #1 above, and all of the "missing" photos came back, so thanks for that.


    However, all the photos that I have added in the 6 weeks since the upgrade are not there any more. They are not "missing" (exclamation points in boxes); they are simply not there (that I can see). As per instructions, I made a copy of the library before I started, and they are not in the copy, either.


    Some of the new photos are very important. Now that I have the old ones back, how can I get the new ones back?

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (134,915 points)

    You just been following instrutions for iPhoto 11 when you're on iPhoto 08. There are significant differences between the versions and you really need to be sure that the tips you are folllowing are right for your version.


    You trashed the plist file. In that scenario, iPhoto will revert to default. It sounds to me like you have two iPhoto Libraries.


    Hold down the option (or alt) key key and launch iPhoto. From the resulting menu select 'Choose Library' How many Libraries are listed in the window?








  • D. Ryder Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Apologies; I saw nothing in the question or answer above about iPhoto versions. I found the discussion through searching about missing photos resulting from version upgrades.


    I have the original library, which resides on an external drive. I have the copy that I made in Fix #1. There's a library that resides on the hard drive that gets used only when I restart iPhoto and forget that I have to redirect iPhoto to the library on the external drive. It's the library on the external drive that I actually use.

  • D. Ryder Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    And, BTW, pursuant to instructions in Fix #1, I deleted the plist and cache files, but have not yet emptied the trash, so still have them if needed.

  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (130,035 points)

    Continue with Fix 2 and 3 to get those recent photos back.

  • Seagolliday Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey, I am having the same issue with my photos not showing up after being imported with a dotted line around them too. Some of them are like that and others aren’t even there. There’s many events missing that I know I put in there. I tried to attempt fix #1, but the iphoto preference file isn’t even there. And there’s nothing in the cache folder either.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (134,915 points)

    If you can't find the plist and cache files you're looking in the wrong Library. You want the Library in your Home folder.






  • D. Ryder Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Fix 2: I did not have the exact same options, and they were in a different order, but it had no effect anyway.


    Fix 3: Library rebuild took 6 hours and lots of personal intervention on duplicate photos, and didn't bring the photos back.


    Now what? Still missing about 1,000 photos from the last 6 weeks, and they are truly not there that I can tell and not just "missing" (box with exclamation point).

  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (130,035 points)

    If you know any of the file names of those missing files then download and use Find Any File  to search the HD for them.  If they are in the iPhoto Library but can't be recovered by any of the methods we've suggested you can create a new library and import just the Originals folder from your problem library into the new library. This will give you the same Events as the old library.


    If those missing photos are not on your hard drive then they are history.  The only recourse now would be to try a file recovery application like SubrosaSoft FileSalvage which you can download and run in demo mode to see if and what it can find before you have to purchase it.

  • D. Ryder Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Downloaded FindAnyFile and searched by created date (because I have no idea of the naming convention of my camera and I don't re-name photos). Found nothing. Would love to search for the rolls (which I actually do name and organize). But I'm REALLY struggling with understanding why these photos would be gone. I have not emptied trash in iPhoto or on my MacBook. I did nothing to delete 2 GB of photos.


    All that I did to make these disappear was delete the plist and cache files (combined file size 250 kB) and 1,000 photos are physically erased? There's should be one heck of a big WARNING sign put up that THIS ACTION WILL DELETE PHOTOS AND YOU WILL NOT KNOW IT. There should be warning signs on the software upgrades that UPGRADING iPHOTO WILL RESULT IN SCREWING UP YOUR LIBRARY AND ATTEMPTING TO FIX IT WILL RESULT ON THE LOSS OF PHOTOS.


    I appreciate very much the help on this but have now joined the ranks of "will stop using iPhoto as soon as humanly possible" unless someone can tell me why I shouldn't.


    I will also note that with the "upgrade" to the Discussion forums, I could not figure out how to restrict the discussion to an upgrade from iPhoto 6 to iPhoto 7, and respect wholeheartedly that this is my fault. I gather from the above that "Fix #1" above isn't applicable to these versions (or obviously the problem never would have occurred, since it was Fix #1 above that caused the software on it's own to delete 1,000 photos). Wish that was made obvious in the advice provided.


    Once again, thanks, but I wish I had my 1,000 irreplaceable photos back. I have a back up pre upgrade, and a copy of the un-rebuilt library made before I did Fix #1. Shame neither backup can help.

  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (130,035 points)

    Deleting the cache and preference files does not delete photos from a healthy library. I'm guessing that those photos were missing their original files and what you were viewing were the cached versions which would not be at the  full pixel dimension nor retrievable as image files.

  • D. Ryder Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Strongly doubt it. Over the last 6 weeks, I posted many of those photos to a bog at full Rez, e-mailed numerous photos to folks (of a new house I bought), and edited a lot of the photos (because they were winter shots any my crappy camera doesn't manage snow images well). So I looked at and worked with most of the images in full Rez. They were there, visible and editable -- until deleting the plist and cache files. So the evidence is that yes, something deleted the photos.

  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (130,035 points)

    Try this:  download and run Find Any File to search for "Library6.iPhoto".  That 's a file that's in every library.  See if there's a another library hidden on your drive.  It wouldn't be the first time if there were. 

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