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Paul Causey1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

iPhoto 11 (9.5.1)

Mac OS X: 10.7.1


Situation: A couple months ago my wife imported the entire hard drive into iPhoto on her machine by accident. There are now 72,000+ photos, many of them duplicates and a lot of them thumbnails, cache images and random pictures and movies. I am guessing the original number was around 5,000. There is no backup of the original database.


Goal: Get database back to original (as close as possible) and remove all duplicate photos.


What I've tried: I first tried removing a lot of the images which were not by creating a smart albums based on specific information (e.g., filenames = ".gif" to remove Internet images, No EXIF data to remove thumbnails and other files, etc.) This was a great start as I was able to remove around 50,000 photos.


But then this caused a major problem when I selected "Empty iPhoto Trash". I let it tun for 24 hours but it never finished and had to force quit. This corrupted the database (I do have a backup of the 72,000+ photo database) and have basically now started from scratch again.


So now I have three questions:


1) Is there a way to create a smart album which is based on the size of the photo? (e.g., I only want photos which are greater than 800x800)


2) What is the best way to remove a large number of photos?


3) And then, once that is complete, how do I remove the duplicate photos?

iPhoto '11, Mac OS X (10.7.1)
  • Paul Causey1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Okay, I think I have a fairly easy solution, but have a follow-up question/confirmation. When there is an import, are all photots stored in the "date" folder?


    For example, I just started exploring the contents of iPhoto Library and it appears that the "Masters -> 2011 -> 08 -> 16" path is where all the photos are located from this accidental import.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (135,595 points)

    1. Here's the real problem. Attempting to delete large numbers of files will cause iPhoto to hang, and possibly corrupt the database.


    2. 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,, deleting them or otherwise making changes will prevent iPhoto from working and could even cause you to damage or lose your photos.


    3. Yes, the original imports are stored in the Masters folder, in folders based on date and time of Import. But given the above, you can't delete them via the Finder.


    4. No there is no way to search on dimensions


    5. To remove large numbers of files the only way is to do it batches of about 100 or so


    6. For dealing with duplicates in iPhoto check out Duplicate Annihilator


    Given all of that, your best option might be to recover your actual photos from this library, trash it. Make a new one and start over.


    Note that if you go for that option you will lose any edits, keywords, faces, places, slideshows, books, calendars etc. It will be as though you never used iPhoto.


    If you want info on that, post back.

  • Paul Causey1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am actually trying a different option. I am using the iPhoto Library Manager and rebuilding a library where I removed the "16" folder from the "Masters -> 2011 -> 08" folder. (Working on a backup, of course)


    This appears to be working and it's about 1/3 the way through (30 minutes). The only issue so far is that I have to be at the computer pressing the Don't Import Duplicates dialog in iPhoto occasionally.


    I will report back once the entire process is complete and I can verify that the edits and faces are intact (Doesn't look like we used any of the other features)

  • Paul Causey1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks Terence for your reply.


    Here are the steps I took to fix the problem identified above:


    1. Create a copy of the iPhoto Library (which contained 72,000+ photos and movies. This file was 135 GB)
    2. Find the folder in the iPhoto Library which has the accidental import. Right-click or control-click the file and choose "Show Package Contents". Once there, my folder was "Masters -> 2011 -> 08"
    3. Delete the folder.
    4. Download ($20) iPhoto Library Manager and launch the app.
    5. Select the library in step #1 and choose "Rebuild Library" from the File menu. Here is a link which identifies what can and can't be copied when rebuilding the library.


    This process took about 2 hours to complete with a lot of the time rebuilding thumbnails and faces. The finished file was 22GB and a little less than 10,000 photos.

  • Harmon8 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I reckon i've found the easiest way to delete duplicates in iPhoto,, still trying as we speak so fingers crossed,, but if you

    Right click on your library, click "show package contents" , as previously stated,

    ( FIRST BACK UP YOUR LIBRARY, just in case)

      then grab the masters folder and move it from the iPhoto library straight into your Pictures folder, leaving open the window that opened after clicking "Show package contents".

    Then run MACKEEPER, duplicates finder on the "MASTERS" folder,,

    delete duplicates and then put back the Masters folder into the iPhoto library.

    From there you can "rebuild your library or just the thumnails etc either via iPhoto Library manager or directly in iPhoto there is an option for sorting thumbnails etc if you close it, then open it via clicking on the iPhoto icon in the dock whilst holding down "option" and "command".

    I found if you just rebuild the library with iPhoto library manager it does a great job sorting and deleting some duplicates for sure, but NOT ALL. If they are labelled different names tho they are exactly the same photo it doesn't delete them. However MACKEEPER finds duplicates even if they are labelled differently.

    I DON'T WORK FOR MAC, MACKEEPER, NOR FATCAT, and i don't pretend to know all the technicalities, i'm just sorting 3TB of my life and pretty annoyed the whole process isn't easier by now. Even if you spend the money. Surely there must be a developer out there up to the challenge of all this.




    ps ,, please feel free to let me know a simpler way that works or any steps i may be ruining my system etc, but so far, so good.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (135,595 points)



    You've just ruined your iPhoto Library.


    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,, deleting them or otherwise making changes will prevent iPhoto from working and could even cause you to damage or lose your photos.


    Mackeeper is borderline malware. Get it off your machine. It will do more damage than good.

  • Harmon8 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    That's a little worrying. I've been using mackeeper for a while and found it to work well but i can't be certain. Before i just go deleting it off my computer, can you tell me what the main problems it has and may cause to my mac please Terence?

  • arvindelacruz Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Found this while looking for alternatives to Duplicate Annihilator :-)



    dupeGuru Picture Edition (PE for short) is a tool to find duplicate pictures on your computer. dupeGuru PE is a big brother of dupeGuru. It works like dupeGuru, but is specialized for duplicate pictures matching. dupeGuru PE runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.


    Your iPhoto and Aperture libraries are supported.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (135,595 points)

    Here's a problem with DupeGuru for me:



    • Mac OS X: 10.6 and up (Snow Leopard, Lion or Mountain Lion).
    • Windows: XP/Vista/Win7.
    • Linux: Ubuntu 12.04


    Now, if these guys don't know that the OS is not important with iPhoto, but the version of iPhoto is, if they don't specify which versions of iPhoto are supported - and remember the Library on every version of iPhoto from v1 to the current one is radically different - if these folks don't even know that, would you really be prepared to risk using this app?

  • arvindelacruz Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hello Terence


    Tested DupeGuru PE with iPhoto 11 (v9.4.1) and it worked fine.


    I was able to delete 15,000 duplicate photos in my 65,000+ photo library.


    Downside was it took 2 days to complete, maybe because my library was in a mobile drive and not on my 2011 MacBook Air.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (135,595 points)

    Like I say, given that these guys demonstrate so little knowlede of iPhoto, I simply would not risk it on any Library of mine.

  • arvindelacruz Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Me too. So I made a duplicate of my iPhoto library first before running the freeware.

    Looks like I save a few $ too.



  • jfiguerohunk Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Terence, Paul,


    Ive got a similiar problem. I imported accidentally ALL pics from several HD's. Ive got 120k pics in a 500gb iPhoto Library? a lot of them thumbnails and duplicates. found out about iPhoto Library Manager too late in the game to do better importing. Tried Duplicate Annihilator and Duplicate Cleaner but theyve been hanging on me. thought about rebuilding the library through manager but i dont have the disc space for it. any tips? even better, any tips on how i can do it internally in iphoto? is there some way i can find duplicates or thumbnails using smart folders?





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