Hi. Moving a library is simple; no exporting or importing needed at all. Close iPhoto. Use the Finder to locate your iPhoto Library folder, probably inside your Pictures folder. Drag and drop the iPhoto Library folder (intact, do not open or disassemble) to your external hard drive. When it finished copying, hold down the Option key as you launch iPhoto. Click Choose Library, then navigate to the iPhoto Library folder on your external drive. iPhoto will use the library from this location by default until you point it elsewhere. Or, if you launch iPhoto with the drive not mounted, iPhoto will ask you if you wish to create a library or choose one. This is your reminder to turn on the external drive.
Of course, you can allow iPhoto to create a new library on your laptop. You'll be able to access that one when you travel. To access your old library you'll simply have to mount the drive, Option-Launch iPhoto, and choose that library.
Why can't you open or disassemble the iPhoto Library when you drag and drop it onto your external hard drive? Also, do you know how to ensure that you've copied your ENTIRE library onto your external drive? Obviously I want to be 110% sure it has all the pictures before I erase them from my computer.
Thanks in advance!
Powerbook Mac OS X (10.0.x)
If you try to take apart the iPhoto Library folder you may miss the key files that hold everything together. If the library is separated from its database, it will no longer function as a library; iPhoto will not be able to recognize it or its files. If all you want to do is copy your photos, without the iPhoto library metadata or structure, then simply copy your Originals folder. To save your edited photos, copy your Modified folder. By removing them from the library you also lose the link between an original and its edited version. You would then need to import these photos to your library in the event you needed to restore from your backup.
You can check that the library functions on the external drive by opening it from that location. Hold down the Option key while launching iPhoto. Click "Choose Library" then navigate to the iPhoto Library folder on the external hard drive. iPhoto will open the library from there, and you can check your photos, albums, etc. to see that all is intact. You can continue to use iPhoto from the external drive, or Option-launch again and navigate back to your boot drive. If you plan to delete photos from your library, be sure to do this from within iPhoto, using the iPhoto Trash, and not from the Finder.
Thank you so much for your reply.
I tried opening up iphoto on the external drive, and it worked. I seem to have the exact same # of photos that I do on my computer.
I guess what worries me a bit is that I know for a fact that I copied some of the photos onto my Lacie drive twice. Not only do I have an iphoto library folder on my Lacie which contains folders called 2002, 2003, 2004, etc. but I also (wrongly) copied those individual folders onto my Lacie as well. The reason I did that is b/c when I copied my iphoto library originally I got a pop up that said that it couldn't copy one/some of my pictures and that lead me to believe that there were missing items after the copy.
Would having these doubled up folders hurt anything? Also, is there anyway to organize these folders. I don't know about you, but I find the folders so confusing and difficult to use.
Any of your expertise would be much appreciated.
Thanks so much again.
Hi. Thank you for your kind words.
The concept with iPhoto is that you import your photos into its database, and let it handle the file management. There is no need to try to understand or organize its folder structure. To organize your library, do it from within iPhoto (the application, not the Finder folder). To handle your files individually, export them out of iPhoto and then do what you wish in the Finder.
Are you running iPhoto 6? It stores your photos in folders based on your Film Rolls. Changes you make to the rolls will be reflected in the folders you see in the Finder. The Year folder is based on the date of the film roll, not the individual photos. If you have photos that are in the wrong year roll, then correct the film roll date in iPhoto, and they will be moved. You can use the Info Pane in the lower left corner of the iPhoto window to edit the rolls' titles, dates, and comments. You can also move photos among rolls, consolidate rolls, and create new ones.
In iPhoto 6 image files are stored in 3 main folders:
Originals - contains your full-sized files, exactly as you import them.
Modified - contains any rotated or edited versions of your files. Also a jpeg version of every RAW file imported and a jpeg of the first frame of every video clip. The database link between the original and modified files is what allows you to revert to original at any time if you wish to discard your edits.
Data - contains a thumbnail version of each file in your library. If the photo has a modified version, the thumbnail is updated to reflect it. These thumbnails allow iPhoto to display your library efficiently.
Within each of these 3 folders are the Year folders, within which are the roll-based folders. The structure of the Data and Originals folders should match exactly; the Modified folder will only contain files, rolls, and years that have a modified version. If this is where you see the apparent duplication, please know that all of these items are necessary for iPhoto to function correctly. You can't delete any of them and have your library function.
Forum member Lori_diloreto kindly posted this diagram of the iPhoto 6 Library structure. You can compare it to the structure of your library. Just remember not to make any changes to your library folder from the Finder. If you see any major differences with your library (ex: year folders in the same level with the Originals folder), post back with a description and I will help you deal with them.
If you are running iPhoto 5 or earlier, the library folder structure is radically different. The structure is purely based on year-month-date of the photos. There is nothing you can do to reorganize it. Look at Lori's iPhoto 5 Library diagram to see where the Originals and Thumbnails are stored.
Would having these doubled up folders hurt anything?
If your library worked properly, then iPhoto simply doesn't know they are there. They probably won't hurt anything, just take up extra space. If you want to start experimenting, first copy and rename your iPhoto Library folder (iPhoto Library Folder Back-up). Then if you remove a vital piece of the library you can trash the whole library folder and use the backup library. Since you want your back-up to match the library you use on your boot drive, you could try copying your main library over to the external again and see what happens. (First rename the existing one on the external if you want to avoid overwriting it.)
If you'd like further assistance, feel free to post back. I'm happy to help when I can.
Thank you SO much, can't tell you how much I appreciate your help.
I'm not sure what version of iPhoto I'm on. Is there a way to find that out? Also, if I am on iPhoto 5 or something earlier (which I presume I am)can I upgrade to iPhoto 6 without screwing up the iPhoto library that i've already copied to the external drive?
can you upgrade iPhoto for free off the apple site? or do I need to buy iLife '06 to get iPhoto '06?
You're very welcome.
You can click on iPhoto in the Applications folder in Finder. In column view you will be shown the version number. Or, from inside iPhoto, choose "About iPhoto" from the iPhoto menu.
To upgrade from version 2, 4, or 5 to version 6, you have to buy the iLife '06 install DVD. After installing the upgrade, iPhoto will update the library the first time it is opened.
It usually goes without a hitch, but Old Toad has written a tip for updating to v6 that can help you avoid the most common pitfalls. If you were planning to upgrade, it might make more sense to upgrade your main library (if you are still keeping that on your internal drive) and then back up that upgraded library to your external.
Hi and thanks for the info on how to move the iPhoto 6 over to an external hard drive.
However, I think that I moved my iPhoto library over with 16K pictures improperly and now it does not recognize the entire library but just the new pics that I have imported since importing the full library . How do I correct this on my external drive so that I have the full library as before?
thanks in advance for your assistance,
Do you still have the working library in its original location? The easiest solution would be to move it again, correctly. Then use iPhoto Library Manager to move the new pics from the bad library into the new one. You could just import the full-sized photos in, but iPLM is the only way to do it if you need to preserve albums, titles, keywords, and other organizational efforts.
If you don't have the functional library, chances are that the database is broken and you'll have to create and populate a new library. You will lose your albums, keywords, books, etc. You will have your pictures and the same film rolls as before.
To create the new library:
Rename the iPhoto Library Folder (iPhoto Library broken).
Hold down the Option key while you launch iPhoto. Click "Create Library." Navigate to your desired location on the external hard drive and click Save. You should see iPhoto open a new, empty library.
Go into the iPhoto Library broken folder and find the Originals folder. From the Originals folder drag the individual rolls to the iPhoto Window and it will recreate them in the new library.
When you're sure all is well you can delete the iPhoto Library broken folder.
Thank you so much for this information. I have been able to recover my entire library with your assistance. However, I have about 500 photos that I have just taken from London and Switzerland that I have not been able to find. They were the ones on the other library. How would I locate them and combine them with the existing library?
Again, thank you so much for your assistance.
Do you now have 2 iPhoto Library folders? The one with the new photos that you renamed (I had suggested "iPhoto Library broken"), plus the library you just created (which would be "iPhoto Library" by default, unless you typed in a different name before saving it)? Look in the Finder for these 2 folders. Your newest photos should be in iPhoto Library broken/ Originals/ 2007/ (film roll folders).
You should be able to launch iPhoto, see it open the library you just built, do File> Import to Library, and navigate to the photos in the broken library folder. If you select the roll-based folders (instead of the individual photo files) then your film rolls will be preserved. That is, if they were in more than one film roll.
Thanks again for your help. I do have two folders and I can see in the one folder that the photos in the albums do not match but I have not been able to locate my last 500+ photos taken. Is there a way to compare these folders, files, albums so that I may be able more easily locate these 500 photos out of almost 17K? Again thanks for your assistance in walking me through this? If I cannot locate them all, I have two friends that also took photos during this trip that I can ask for duplication of their photos if worse comes to worse.