Delete iPhoto Library, but Why You Probably Don’t Need to

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Now that most Mac users have migrated their photos from iPhoto to the Photos app in Mac OS X, if you are absolutely sure that all the photos came through successfully, you can decide to use the old iPhoto library file on the Mac. remove.

This is usually not necessary because of the way photo importing works with iPhoto library files, but some users with unique situations decide to do it anyway, usually if they manage photo files themselves outside of the original library containers, or if they want to keep everything tidy and throw away any leftovers from iPhoto.

Removing the iPhoto library package can help get it free up disk space in some situations (but not always, more on that later), but before doing this, make absolutely 100% sure that your photos, photos and videos have been successfully migrated to the Photos app and saved in the new photo library, that you have a newup from your photos and that you need to delete the original iPhoto library package.

Wait, iPhoto Library really takes up space? Should I Delete iPhoto Library?

It depends, but the answer is, you probably don’t need to delete the iPhoto library and you probably don’t. An important consideration is that the iPhoto library doesn’t necessarily take into account up disk space if you have successfully imported it into the Photos app, and in these situations the iPhoto library does not need to be deleted if it is shared with the newer Photos app. Apple explains this from its support page on the topic as follows:

“When you migrate a photo library from iPhoto or Aperture, the Photos app creates a new library structure but does not duplicate your images. Instead, Photos saves disk space by linking to the original and preview versions of your images.

When Finder reports the file size of your photo library, it contains all of your originals and samples. It may seem like your remaining iPhoto or Aperture library is taking up up twice the space on your hard drive, but it’s not – your images are in one location, even though you may have more than one photo library.

After you migrate your iPhoto or Aperture library to Photos, you may be tempted to delete your original iPhoto or Aperture library. Because the migrated library takes up little additional space, you do not need to delete the original library.

That last part is critical, in these kinds of migrations you don’t have to delete iPhoto Library because it doesn’t take up any significant disk space. If this is clear as mud then an easy way to think about it is that everything is simply hard linked, it is not a duplicate so when you use a disk space analyzer app and point it to the library up space, it may not use additional storage space.

If this sounds confusing, it’s probably because it doesn’t apply to you, which is why you shouldn’t delete the iPhoto files.

Nevertheless, there are some other situations with manual photo and photo management that can benefit from deleting the original iPhoto library. Maybe you made a duplicate of the library before importing it, maybe you have the libraries on external drives instead of the internal drive, maybe you manually manage images in Finder after extracting them from the original library package files, there are still much more complex circumstances where this applies. However, this doesn’t apply to most users, and if you’re migrating an existing iPhoto library instead of a folder of image files, there’s no point in deleting anything.

Back up before deleting iPhoto library – don’t skip this

You have to go back up the iPhoto library package before attempting to remove it. If you don’t have a backupup of the file and deletes it and then finds out that your photos and photos have been deleted, you cannot get them back. Do this with Time Machine, or by manually copying it to an external hard drive yourself.

Don’t skip support up before deleting photo libraries or files. You can set up Time Machine backups if you haven’t already, and manually create a backup.up start and let it complete before proceeding.

Delete the iPhoto library file

If you are sure this is what you want to do, you will find that deleting the iPhoto library is basically the same as deleting any other file on a Mac.

Please note that you will probably have at least two files in the Pictures folder “iPhoto Library.library” and “Photos Library.photosLibrary” – the former is from the iPhoto app, the latter is for the Photos app.

  1. Do you have a back-up made? Good
  2. Close the iPhoto and Photos app if either app is open
  3. Open Finder on the Mac and go to your user home folder and then to “Pictures”
  4. Select the “iPhoto Library.library” file and move it to the trash
  5. The iPhoto library file if you are going to delete it

  6. BE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU HAVE A BACKUP MADE FROM THIS FILE and all resulting photos. If you back-up skips and blows it away, you delete your photos. Nobody wants that, so skip the backup not about
  7. Empty the trash as usual

You’ll want to visit the new photo library after this to make sure all your photos are intact, or if you’re using manual file manager, make sure the image files have retained themselves now that you’ve deleted the iPhoto library package file. If you are missing something, you will want to recover the iPhoto library file you just deleted to get the images back.

As you can see, this is a simple task, but with potentially dangerous consequences. Images are some of the most important digital assets that users can keep on a Mac (or elsewhere), so it’s imperative that you back up and understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

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The time to complete the How to Delete iPhoto Library, but Why You Probably Don’t Need to tutorial is 10+ minutes.

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mac OS


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