iPhoto and System Migration Assistant

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by mitasol, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. mitasol macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2013

    When I setup my MBP I used the System Migration Assistant to copy data from my Windows laptop including about 40 GB of photos which ended up in the Pictures folder. When I started iPhoto there were no photos shown so I imported the Pictures folder. My next Time Machine backup increased by 40 GB so I am assuming that iPhoto took a copy of the photos in Pictures and stored them somewhere, not sure where yet.

    So my question is, given that I don't want to have 2 copies of my photos on the MBP would it be better to copy all the photos from my Windows laptop to an external drive, delete the photos in iPhoto and then import from the external drive - that way I only have one copy on the MBP.

    Does that make sense or have I confused myself?


  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Make sure your Time Machine backup is current before doing this.

    First open iPhoto then command-comma to bring up iPhoto preferences. Look at the advanced tab like in my screenshot and make sure "copy items to the iPhoto library" is checked (I believe it is by default). Having this checked will cause imported photos to go into the iPhoto library for storage. The fact your next backup was 40GB suggests you have this checked, but I just want to make sure.


    With this box checked any photos you drag and drop or import to iPhoto get put in the iPhoto library file in your Pictures folder and the original photos stay where they were. Go to your Pictures folder and select the iPhoto library and do a command-i to see the info on the file. It should show at least the 40GB if your photos are there.

    Okay, so assuming here you are seeing all your photos in iPhoto and you had that box checked and your iPhoto library file is at least 40GB, it is safe to say all your photos got imported to iPhoto and you can delete the originals.

    Tell me what folder do you now see in the Pictures folder? There should be a folder there containing all the photos that Migration Assistant pulled in from Windows. ID that photo and delete it. Then open iPhoto again to make sure the iPhoto library is still intact and all your photos are still there. If so, go ahead and empty the trash and you should be all set and you will have only one copy of all the photos in the iPhoto library file.

    Just a tip... don't mess around in the iPhoto library file. Do all your photo manipulation within iPhoto. If you try to do things manually in that library file it can break things.
  3. mitasol thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2013
    Thanks for your reply - I experimented a bit last night (Aust time) and deleted the photos within iPhoto, then deleted all the files in the Pictures folder, started iPhoto again, it created a new library and I imported all from the external drive.

    I checked the settings as you suggested and yes it was set to copy, which is a good thing really - I like to keep at least 2 copies of photos, sometimes more, but not on the same drive :)

    All is happy now - oh and I'm learning lots of keyboard shortcuts from your reply too - that Cmd comma is quite useful.

    thanks again.

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