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How can I share iPhoto libraries across more than one computer?

10464 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Apr 7, 2013 6:03 AM by Jerry Dammers RSS
Jerry Dammers Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Apr 5, 2013 2:36 AM

I am trying to find a solution for multiple users accessing a single iPhoto library.


I want to have just one "master" library for my family, which we can all access via different computers.


I also want to apply the same principle of a "master" library for iTunes and iMovie, plus all our files/documents - see the original question here:


Does anybody have any suggestions?


Thank you

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,375 points)

    iPhoto has never been designed as a shared network database. What you want to do is currently not supported, Jerry, sorry.


    Some things to consider - assuming you are using the most recent iPhoto version:

    • iPhoto '11 will not allow to have the library be opened by more than one user at a time. It will lock the iPhoto library, if it is already in use.
    • The iPhoto library needs to be on a disk, that is formatted MacOS X Extended (Journaled), otherwise iPhoto will not open it. Most network volumes have a different formatting.
    • Network access is considerably slower than the access to a locally connected drive. You will have a noticable decrease in performance when working over the network. Editing the images will be no joy, if each and every access to the databases inside the library needs a network access.
    • Since iPhoto is not specified as a network database, there is no built-in protection against network drop-outs and transmission errors when doing database transactions. You will be risking to corrupt your iPhoto library.


    Save sharing options would be:


    • Let the iPhoto library be managed by one user, but give read-access to your family members using the "Sharing" preferences. You can share all albums or selected albums on your local network for browsing.
    • Put your iPhoto library on a portable drive and let each family member use the drive in turn.
    • Use shared Photo Streams to share your photos.
    • This is Apple's recommendation on how to share a library:
      iPhoto: Sharing libraries among multiple users




  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (113,070 points)

    Another issue to consider is if the library is accessed wirelessly and a drop out occurs (which is not uncommon) while writing to the library's database or other files the library can be damaged.  If you must have a central library follow leonieDF's warnings and use a wired LAN for your connections.




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