iPhoto 11 - Lost photos please help :-(

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by swanseaboy, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. swanseaboy macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2012
    Swansea, Wales

    Yesterday I discovered that a bunch of photos from a recent trip to India had 'vanished'. The thumbnails still showed but when double-clicked I got the grey error, saying the originals couldn't be found.

    Quick background: my import method is as follows: copy photos from iphone to desktop, then import into iPhoto. Somehow, on my last import I'm guessing, this must have 'reset' the setting in preferences that ask between using managed and referenced libraries, and switched to 'referenced'. No idea how this has happened, I have always used a managed library (a lesson learnt from using itunes).

    My urge is to rant at the heavens at whatever made this happen, but this is not the right time! lol.

    I also keep backups, however since TM deletes the oldest backups as it runs lower on space, unfortunately my desktop import folder used is no longer available. My iphoto backup is no help as it never had the originals.

    My only option now is to somehow extract or recover the thumbnails.

    So here's the question, just where does iphoto 11 keep the thumbnails? I've had a thorough look through the library, searched google until I went nuts looking for ideas, but I still can't find the thumbnails of the photos I need back.

    I've tried using iphoto library manager, but it has no way of converting thumbnails to photos, or similar so not really helped. there's nothing wrong with the database (thankfully), just that these photos got imported referenced.

    Please, if you have any ideas?

    Thank you so much in advance

  2. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Mar 19, 2008
    Warrington, UK
    Unfortunately, you need the originals. I take it that they are no longer on your iPhone?

    Just curious, but why copy from the iPhone to the Desktop? Why not import into iPhoto direct from your iPhone?
  3. iMacBooked macrumors 6502a


    Jul 19, 2013
    4 8 15 16 23 42 ✈ Country: Belgium
    I copy to the desktop too, rather than using iPhoto. I believe it's just a personal preference linked to an old Windows habit.
  4. swanseaboy thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2012
    Swansea, Wales
    Hello folks,

    I copy from the iphone to the desktop so I can separate the photos and videos. I then resize (reduce) all of them, using Preview for the photos, and Handbrakebatch for the videos (which retains creation dates).

    Then, finally, I import them all into iphoto and tag them, etc.

    Well, I've managed to locate the thumbnails and they're a reasonable size!

    Basically I copied the entire Thumbnails folder (inside the iphoto package) to the desktop, and then used search to locate one of the photos (by using the filename). Since my mac drive is an SSD, but the iphoto is HDD this took practically no time at all.

    The photo had the same filename but had "_1024" tagged on the end. This provided me with a location for them and I was then able to filter & locate the photos through and copied them to a different folder. I found all the photos!

    Sadly the videos are gone forever but they weren't that great anyway, and I am so happy I've been able to save this much, the photos included a party for my mother who turned 60 (and due to illness may well be her last birthday).

    Now all that's left is editing the metatags (well the creation dates, I won't bother with the rest!) and I should be done.

    Thanks for replying guys, hopefully someone else in future will be able to pick up some pointers and not have a total breakdown! lol.

  5. MCAsan, Jun 7, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014

    MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    The few photos I take with my IPhone are imported directly into iPhoto. I don't understand any need for the step of using using the desktop. For my serious photos I use only a referenced library that both Aperture and Lightroom can access. In Aperture I always do a Vault backup. The same goes for LR's catalog.

    I recommend the move to Aperture using a referenced library. In Aperture do Vault backups and always have Time Machine backups.

    BTW, you will likely get more feedback on photography apps in the Digital Photography forum. http://forums.macrumors.com/forumdisplay.php?f=83

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