How do I migrate my .photos library?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Blackvibes, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. Blackvibes macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2014
    Hi guys!

    So I got the new Macbook 2016, moved from a 2012 model. And I simply copied the 40GB .photoslibrary file from Photos to my new Macbook.

    I thought I got it all figured out, but unexpected when I want to turn on iCloud library, it doesn't let me, because now my photos library exceeds my iCloud storage, which did fit all well before.

    What is currently happening is the fact that Photos count my photos library as a secondary library, instead of the same one. So 40+40GB = 80 (>50GB).

    Now.. how do I merge this library with all my files and older versions and whatsoever with the online Photos library right now? Don't think I should sit with an empty Photos library, turn on iCloud library and then get 40GB downloaded from iCloud..
  2. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    I think you have two choices:

    1. Wipe the machine. Migrate your old machine over to the new machine (as you should have done originally).
    2. Delete the second Photos library, and let it sync your photos from iCloud.

    I'd go with option 1, personally.
  3. Ma2k5 macrumors 68000


    Dec 21, 2012
    A quick work around might be to clear your iCloud library?
  4. Blackvibes thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2014
    Well, I'm already using the machine for a few days. Besides, I want to have a clean install. So I chose not to use the migration assistent. I'm assuming that makes option 1 not an option anymore?
  5. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    I agree with you. Off topic, but I personally think clean installs are overrated (and you can limit the migration to just your documents if you want to reinstall the apps). That said, I think you ought to just accept option 2 then. It's by far the simplest. There may be a way to trick your system into taking the new library directly, but I find things work out best when I don't have to trick them.
  6. TibookAktive macrumors member

    May 27, 2010
    I have this same issue every time I clean install my mac. The way I proceed (and has worked fine so far) is I upgrade my iCloud storage to the next tier (1TB in my case) & then let Photos sync. It appears to be re-uploading your entire photo library to iCloud, but trust me its not - it takes an hour or two but it basically attempts to upload them but for each photo realises that there is a copy in the cloud already and aborts. Given nothing uploads it does this fairly quickly.

    Once all synced up (and no actual increase in iCloud storage needed), I downgrade my iCloud storage and get a refund from Apple for the small extra cost charged for the upgrade.

    Bit of a workaround, but done it 4 or 5 times now and works fine. I prefer to have fresh clean install for a new laptop (or new major OS release), and this is the only way I've found to achieve this when Photos is involved.
  7. Blackvibes, Dec 20, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016

    Blackvibes thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2014
    Just wanted to reply on this, as I'm currently trying this method. My library is 50GB and contains +15.000 images. It's been on a wired connection for over 2 hours and did only a thousand images. I doubt there are 1000 new images, though. However, iStat menu's isn't showing any upload activity and neither does Activity manager show. So I'm unsure which path the app is following: uploading additionally or what you said.

    Small update to my post: My upload speed is 1 MB/s. If it compares the new library with the iCloud one and does that online, it'll take over 10 hours to compare the libraries. But in addition, to somewhat verify your method, it has done now 500 images and about 1GB of of the total sum and I didn't see any increase in the amount of images at So I guess you are right :)

    Another update: About 30GB and 8000 images ahead and no images have been added to the iCloud library. So you were right. Assuming this number wouldn't change drastically upon completing. I doubt that however. :)

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