Changing Photo Library Location Mac

  1. Mac How To Change Photo Library Location
  2. Change Apple Photos Library Location
  3. Mac Photos Folder Location

Jan 12, 2020  With either the desktop or a Finder window as the frontmost application, hold down the option key and select the Go menu. The Library folder will be listed as one of the items in the Go menu. Select Library and a Finder window will open showing the contents of the Library folder.

  1. Dec 07, 2017  if you copy and paste, or drag and drop from your Photos Library on the Mac, you not only lose the metadata, you will also reduce the quality of the photos. Use the on the Mac to organize your photos. You can create albums in Photos, and related albums can be grouped by folders.
  2. Apr 01, 2020  If you have multiple photo libraries on your Mac, you can choose one to be the System Photo Library. The System Photo Library is the only library that can be used with iCloud Photos, Shared Albums, and My Photo Stream. Photos in your System Photo Library are available in apps like iMovie, Pages, and Keynote.
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People love taking pictures. That's one of the reasons camera phones becomes standard feature. That is also why photo management feature is crucial for any personal computer. And if you are a Mac user, one of the most popular photo management apps is iPhoto.

But sometimes you need to move your iPhoto library. One of the reasons is because photos and videos can quickly fill out your hard drive. So it might be a good idea to store them on the dedicated external drive. Another possible reason is when you want to switch to a more recent Mac version.


How do you move your iPhoto library to another location?

Back Up Your iPhoto Library

Mac How To Change Photo Library Location

Before doing anything to your library, it's better to back it up. If anything happens, you won't lose any of your precious memory. Routine backups also protect you from image files become corrupted or are unintentionally erased from your hard disk.

Change Apple Photos Library Location

You can set up an external hard drive and use it with the Time Machine application to back up your photos. The app will automatically make regular backups of your computer, including your entire photo library. Just make sure that you quit iPhoto periodically before backing up or the Time Machine can't do a full backup of your library.

Create a New iPhoto Library Or Switch Between Libraries

One way that you can use to move your iPhoto library is to create multiple libraries. The advantages of taking this path are you can better organize your photos, albums, slideshows, projects (such as books, cards, and calendars), and then switch between the libraries.

For example, you could keep separate libraries for your personal photos and your work photos. Or, if you have a child who takes photos, you can keep his or her photos in a separate library.

The caveat is that you can only modify items (such as albums) or edit photos in one library at a time.

Here are the steps to create a new iPhoto library:

  • Quit iPhoto. Hold down the Option key as you open iPhoto.
  • In the window that appears, click Create New. Type a name and choose a location to store the new photo library. Click Save.

To switch between photo libraries:

  • Quit iPhoto. Hold down the Option key as you open iPhoto.
  • Select the library you want to switch to. Click Choose.

If you want to move photos from one library to another, use this steps:

  • Export the photos from the active library. This action doesn't delete the photos from the library.
  • Switch to the library you want to add them to.
  • Import the photos into the new library.

Move Your iPhoto Library to a New Location/Mac

Even though you can use the multiple libraries tricks to move your photos to a different location, you can also move it by using a simple drag and drop.

  • First, quit iPhoto. In the Finder, choose your home folder (it's usually named after you).
  • Open the Pictures folder (in the home folder) to locate the iPhoto Library file.

For moving iPhoto library to a new location:

  • Drag the iPhoto Library file to a new location on your computer.

  • But the process doesn't stop here. You have to tell iPhoto the new location of the library. Open iPhoto. When it can't find the library, it will ask you the location.
  • In the window that appears, select the library you want, and then click Choose.

For copying iPhoto library to a new Mac:

  • Connect your external hard drive. When it displays on Finder, drag the iPhoto Library folder or package to external hard drive.
  • Eject the hard drive from your old Mac and connect it to this new one.
  • Now open iPhoto on the new computer. Hold down the Option key on the keyboard, and keep the Option key held down until you are prompted to create or choose an iPhoto library.

That's for how to move iPhoto library to a new location or a new Mac. If you unfortunately lost some important photos during the transfer, you can use Any Data Recovery for Mac. This app is a complete Mac data recovery solutions to recover all types of files from Mac's hard drive, including recovering photo on Mac, and also from other portable devices like USB flash drive, external hard drive, SD card, iPhone.

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Change the default iPhoto library location 30 comments Create New Account
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I downloaded iPhoto this morning and try to install but when the installer runs nothing seems to happen. Is anybody experiencing the same thing ?

Haven't seen that, but I have seen other peculiar installer behavior. Did two installations yesterday afternoon, one on my 500MHz Sawtooth, one on a (fruit-flavored) iBook. The iBook installation went as expected. On the Sawtooth, everything appeared to install OK, but none of the nifty internet services appear in the 'Share' pane (that is, no Print Service, no Book Service, no Home Page service). I've inspected the package, and it looks like everything from the 'Net Services' package got installed in the right places. I'm puzzled.

Yes, I am.
I downloaded iPhoto, double-clickedon the .dmg file which did nothing, opened the file via the Disk Copy utility which mounted an iPhoto disk on my desktop.
I admit to being a new OS X user, but .. in hunting for an installer, I find none. I try to click on the readme.rtf file and all I get is something that looks like it's opening up, and a beep. No *readme*.
Any help would be appreciated.
Best Regards,


There should be an iPhoto directory in the root of the disk image. Inside is something called iPhoto.mpkg. This is NOT an application; it's an installation package that will start the Apple Installer program. THIS is what you want to install.
(okay, the name may be a little different, but it's definitely something to the effect iPhoto.mpkg, and is definitely .mpkg)

Strange. You have 10.1.2 installed?
I double clicked on .dmg file on both G4 DP 450 and TiBook 500 and it mounted image normally. Inside image was a Package installer. I double clicked on it and went through the standard screens agreeing to license, etc. and it installed without a hitch.

(1) make sure you are running 10.1.2
(2) Do you have the BSD tools installed?
(3) get a free account at and REPORT THOSE BUGS!!!
Seriously-- (3) is key. Apple really does look at the bugs that go through the system (I have reported close to 300 and everything have eventually transitioned to some resolved state-- critical bugs are dealt with surprisingly quickly).

I don't even think you need a free account -- you can go to the OS X feedback page and submit bugs there as well. -rob.

Am non geek.
What are BSD tools? I have the current Developer's Tools installed (for 10.1.2). Same thing?
Just curious. Why would they need to be installed to install iPhoto?

I'm not sure if they do need to be installed, but am just trying to gather evidence one way or another.
The 'bsd tools' are all of the command line stuff outside of what is already in the core.. the Unix layer. Regardless of whether or not you are ever going to drop to the command line, I would suggest installing it simply because every developer has already installed it and, therefore, testing against systems that don't have it installed is likely to be sporadic, at best.

This is working as expected as the internet query connection is not supported by Excel for Mac.WORKAROUNDIf you have Excel for Windows, you can save the file as XLSX and then open it in Excel for Mac. You'll be able to see the data but you won't be able to refresh the data connection. Export plex library list mac os

The same trick doesn't work for iTunes. Does anyone know how to change the location of the 'iTunes Music Library (2)' file that it still creates in the Documents/iTunes folder? (I already know how to change the music folder.)

I simply moved the library folder where I wanted it (to another drive) and then put a symbolic link of the same name (iPhoto Library) in the ~/Pictures folder.
I first tried with an alias, but that did not work.
So far iPhoto seems to operate fine with the symbolic link (created via the terminal command 'ln -s', look to 'man ln' for more instructions in the terminal).

can't remember for the life of me how to make a symbolic link, can someone remind/tell me,

Just do:-rob.
An anonymous user submitted the following as a non-terminal method of changing iPhoto's path .. note that you'll need the Dev Tools installed to get PropertyList Editor.
It is possible to put your iPhoto Library into a different directory without opening the Terminal. In my case, I wanted the iPhoto Library in my Users/Shared folder so other users (family members) on my computer can access the same photos. You can do this by double clicking your ~/Library/Preferences/ file. This launches PropertyListEditor. Now click on the pointer to the left of the word Root to drop down all the Root options. Click any option to highlight it and click the 'New Sibling' button. Name the sibling RootDirectory. Make it Class String. Finally make the value your desired pathname. In my case, I entered /Users/Shared/iPhoto Library. You must finish your pathname with 'iPhoto Library' or iPhoto will be lost.
If you would rather stay away from the Terminal, this is a good alternative to the defaults command. -rob.

I thought about setting iPhoto's library to my existing (huge!) photos folder, but I decided against it.
I have a lot of raw and edited photos from my digital camera that are about 1.3 MB in size. If I let iPhoto manipulate them, then they would be re-saved with unknown compression quality. Since I want to use my photos for printing as well as web albums, I decided to let iPhoto make its 'disposable' copies in its own folder, then I won't worry about damage to my digital 'negatives' which are still in their original place. I'll likely continue to use Image Capture to download pictures from my camera to my regular photos folder, and only THEN let iPhoto import them.
Of course I'd love to see iPhoto upgraded so that it would only make a copy if necessary, but so far I've gotten my money's worth from the program!
Still a remarkable program, and free!

I just tried an experiment with our new camera. Using the highest resolution JPEG setting (minimal compression, 2048x1536) on the camera, a test photo downloaded into both Image Capture and iPhoto comes out at 1.3mb on the disk.
Where are you seeing additional compression?

Hey all, I've tried this, and I get an error. This is what I get..
OK? default write RootDirectory /Volumes/VM_Disk/iPhoto Library? yes
default: Too many arguments
I've tried another method, which says to do..
In -s/Volumes/VM_Disk/Pictures Pictures
This is the error I get with this one..
OK? ln -s/Volumes/VM_Disk/Pictures Pictures? yes
ln: illegal option -- /
Usage: ln [-fhns] file1 file2
ln [-fhns] file .. directory
So how the heck do I get this to work?

Use defaults, not default. And make sure that your destination directory already exists (eg. iPhoto Library).

I do type defaults, but ends up in the error just saying default. But I'll try these new suggestions.

The problem may be the space in your destination path. Here are a few solutions:
  • use quotes for the path string
  • type a backslash in front of the space
  • drag the destination folder from the Finder to the terminal window
    Good luck!
  • Ok, tried a combo of both your suggestions. I also changed the name of my target drive to remove a space, just calling it Data. So here's what I typed (up to RootDirectory, then dragged [drug?] my destination folder), and the resulting error, which is the same as what I got before.
    [localhost:~] graphic% defaults write RootDirectory /Volumes/Data/iPhoto Library
    OK? default write RootDirectory /Volumes/Data/iPhoto Library ? yes
    default: Too many arguments.
    Notice how I typed defaults, but when it asks for confirmation, it gets changed to default. Is that my problem? and if so, how do I change it?

    When I try to issue the command line using 'defaults' (with an 's'), the confirmation prompt comes back using 'default' (with no 's'), and then I'm told I have too many parameters.
    GraphicFoxx, it's been a couple of months since you posted this--did you ever find out a solution?

    When using
    ln -s
    you need a space after the -s. It doesn't look like you have one there..

    I used the terminal to change the default location of the iPhoto Library to /Users/Shared so that my girlfriend and I share the same photo library, it worked just fine.
    My problem is that by default, when iPhoto creates a folder to put the imported pictures in, the privileges are Owner: Read and Write, Group: Read only. So if my girlfriend logs in and imports pictures, and iPhoto creates a new folder to put them in (first time of the day), I cannot import pictures in that same folder (same day) without first changing the privileges to Group: Read and Write.
    If I try to do so, iPhoto says 'Cannot create User/Shared/iPhoto Library/2002/01/11/159.jpg'. I then click 'Stop' and iPhoto unexpectedly quits.
    I imagine that all users wanting to share an iPhoto library between users are going to experience the same problem.
    Is there a way to change the default privileges for iPhoto created folders to Owner: Read and Write and Group: Read and Write ?
    I looked into the iPhoto plist and there is no entry specifying the privileges. Maybe it is possible to add one ?

    In the Finder, go to the external drive where you want to store your library. Change photos library location mac. Quit Photos.

    Apart from the problem with importing photos on the same day as your girlfriend, do you have any other problems? For instance, can you modify any photos your girlfriend imported? I have not altered my default library settings but am thinking about doing so.

    Look at Adam L. Wetzel's post here. He recommends Len Laughridge's 'global umask script 'Global Umask Modification for OS X 10.2' to change these permissions to whatever you want.' Good luck!
    Easier way to Change the default iPhoto library location

    Mac Photos Folder Location

    I ran out of space on my hard drive (HD), so to free up (and backup) data, I now use an external firewire hard drive to back up my pictures folder (along with the rest of th home directory). I found I still needed to free up space on the main HD so I decided to change the default location of the iPhoto Library. Apple Knowledge base does not tell you how to change it (Thanks Apple).
    1) Copy your 'pictures' folder or your iPhoto folder (whatever your choice is for backing up that folder) to the external HD or another folder with a different name- this is your option. Since I was out of HD space, I copied to my external HD.
    2) **NOTE: DON'T delete until you have backed up your files & completed all these steps & verify this worked. I'm not responsible for you losing your data)** Drag the iPhoto pictures folder to the trash for now, but DO NOT empty it yet. You can always pull the folder back out.
    3) Start iPhoto.
    4) iPhoto will tell you that it is unable to locate the iPhoto Library. Select the option to locate the iPhoto Library folder then locate your duplicated iPhoto Library.
    5) That's it! No messing with the terminal and..
    6) No need to install the dev tools.

    Easier way to Change the default iPhoto library location

    Actually, holding Option when launching from Dock will allow you to set or choose any library location you want. I copied my library to the new location, held down option and opened iPhoto and chose the new location. Easy. Then I safely deleted the old folder from my hard disk.

    I typed in the suggested change into Terminal:
    defaults write RootDirectory /Users/my name/Pictures
    and a new file appeared in my user file. However, I got scared when I opened iPhoto and nothing was there. I then typed the second change into Terminal, which maybe I wasn't supposed to do:
    defaults remove RootDirectory
    Now I can't figure out where all of my pictures went because when I open iPhoto, nothing is there, and I can't find the files in the new file I created which was supposed to change the location of my iPhoto Library. I fear the worst - did I just lose all of my photos in iPhoto?