11 Replies Latest reply: Aug 5, 2014 4:06 PM by keatss2014
mxa77 Level 1 (0 points)

How do I repair / rebuild my iPhoto library?  I was having problem importing any picture into my original iphoto library, so I built a new library and was able to import new pictures into it.  Now I'm trying to find out how to switch back to the old library and repair it so that I can import pictures into it.  I was also having problems in the original library when I was viewing or editting any picute.  The pictures would appear as blank black picture frames.  I could see the photo when in preview mode (while looking at all photos), but when I double clicked into one then it would show as a black background (no picture).  Any help is greatly needed and appreciated.



iPhoto '11, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • Peter Joshua Level 3 (815 points)

    Hold down the "option" & "command" keys when launching iPhoto.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,900 points)

    To choose betwee libraries:


    Hold down the option (or alt) key key and launch iPhoto. From the resulting menu select 'Choose Library'


    To rebuild:



    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 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.


    Black Screen issue:



    There are several possible causes for the Black Screen issue


    1. Permissions in the Library: 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. Include the option to check and repair permissions.


    2. Minor Database corruption: 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.


    3. A Damaged Photo: Select one of the affected photos in the iPhoto Window and right click on it. From the resulting menu select 'Show File (or 'Show Original File' if that's available). (On iPhoto 11 this option is under the File -> Reveal in Finder.) Will the file open in Preview? If not then the file is damaged. Time to restore from your back up.


    4. A corrupted iPhoto Cache: Trash the com.apple.iPhoto folder from HD/Users/Your Name/Library/ Caches...


    5. A corrupted preference file: Trash the com.apple.iPhoto.plist file from the HD/Users/ Your Name / library / preferences folder. (Remember you'll need to reset your User options afterwards. These include minor settings like the window colour and so on. Note: If you've moved your library you'll need to point iPhoto at it again.)


    If none of these help:


    As a Test:


    Hold down the option (or alt) key key and launch iPhoto. From the resulting menu select 'Create Library'


    Import a few pics into this new, blank library. Is the Problem repeated there?





  • mxa77 Level 1 (0 points)

    This was very informative and helpful, but I am still having the problem.  After following all those steps (except the iPhoto Library Manager) I now get blank thumbnails (instead of black background) or duplicates when I scroll through them, but if I click in one I see the actual picture.  The actual pictures seem fine and  open in preview ok when use the "reveal in preview" option.


    I haven't tried the iPhoto Library Manager yet, because it looks like I need to read up a little and see how to use it.


    When I created a new library in iPhoto, then everything behaved normal.  I can quit iPhoto ok with the new library, but with the old one I always have to force it quit.


    Also, trying to rebuild all the photo tumbnails, the system got to a point in the process and just sat there for hours. So, I had to force quit out of it again.


    If I figure out the best way to create a new library and bring all the photos into it then my question is:


    1- where do I retrieve all my pictures from and how do I get rid of the old library that causes the problem?

    2- Will creating new library also get rid of any photo that I have editted in it? Are the editted pictures stored somewhere else?


    Thanks for taking the time to help me.  This is really a great way to help the rookies with Mac.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,900 points)

    Rebuilding with Library Manager will make those questions moot if it works.






  • mxa77 Level 1 (0 points)

    I used the library manager and created a new library (lost my albums).  I didn't see any option to rebuild existing one. 


    Now, everything works, but I have many duplicate photos and I still have the old library.


    How do I removed the old library and clean up the files to remove duplicates?  Does this require another application?



  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,900 points)

    The Rebuild command is under the File menu.







  • mxa77 Level 1 (0 points)

    After rebuilding the library with this the problem got resolved.

    Thanks very much!!!

  • elaine72 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm having the same issues..will try this one out. 

  • Z1Customer Level 1 (0 points)

    Terrence Devlin--you are a godsend!!! Thank you so much for your advice. I had an issue with my iPhoto 11 Library being corrupt (installed iLife '11 to get iDVD) and the CD forced me to reinstall iPhoto 11 which came on my mid-2011 iMac (I trashed the previous version also iPhoto 11 before reinstalling). Well, after re-installing iPhoto 11 my iPhoto library ballooned from less than 2 GB to 362 GB! Even though it only had 500 pix in it. It was no surprise iPhoto would not launch right nor recognize the library. I didn't have a backup of the iPhoto library though I did have all the pix saved elsewhere, my biggest risk was losing my "Faces" data (learned my lesson on that one). Through your recommendation using iPhoto Library Manager (free trial version) I was able to easily rebuild my library and got it back to its less than 2 GB size and everything is working great. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • munrhe Level 1 (0 points)

    Dear Terence


    Apologies for contacting you directly but you seem to be able to resolve most issues.


    I had to replace my harddrive on my imac and restored all docs via time machine back-up. However, iphoto (iPhoto 8) is completely empty.  i tried apple rebuild option and using alt key but nothing seems to work.  Please help.


    Many thanks!

    iMac, Mac OS X (10.7.5)

  • keatss2014 Level 1 (0 points)

    That was life saving. In fact it was amazing and my iPhoto is working as normal.

    Thanks mate.