iPhoto: Disable Copy Option?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by quantumbits, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. quantumbits macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2008
    Here's the deal:

    1) I have a dedicated home server on which I store all of my photos.
    2) I want to use iPhoto on my Macbook to organize these photos.
    3) I don't want to store any copies of these photos on my Macbook.

    Easy enough, right? Apparently not.

    I disabled the "copy files to iphoto library folder when adding to library" option under Preferences. I imported the file containing my photos. Lo and behold: there are 3 different copies of the same friggin' photo files under my iPhoto Library file (under Data, Originals and Modified). So, question: Why the heck are there ANY photos on my Macbook? Shouldn't disabling the option I referenced above prevent this kind of behavior? If not, what is the point of that option?

    Put simply, I won't use iPhoto if it requires my keeping copies of my photos on my (increasingly frustrating and obsolete) MacBook; much less, 3 copies of the same photos.
  2. richard.mac macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2007
    51.50024, -0.12662
    basically iPhoto will not store the original photos in your iPhoto library if "copy files to iphoto library folder when adding to library" is disabled. if you look in the originals folder there should be aliases. these will take up next to no space. leave these as they "point" to you photos on the server. if you move or delete the aliases iPhoto wont know where you photos are.

    inside the data folder are a smaller sized thumbnail of the original photos. im not sure what these are for but i think they are used to show a preview of the photo while in iPhoto.

    the modified folder houses any photo that you have edited. it will add the full sized edited photo. this allows you to go back to the original photo in the edit window.

    generally its wise to just leave the iPhoto library as looking around in it and deleting files in originals and data will cause havock to your library. if you feel comfortable only delete the photos in the modified folder if you dont need them anymore.

    youll also probably notice too that you cant use the photos from your iPhoto library in the Desktop & Screensaver preferences as it only works if you copy files to your iPhoto library when adding.
  3. quantumbits thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2008
    Cheers Rich. Thanks for hitting on every point.

    Coming from the IX world, I was thrown off by the aliases. Namely, that I didn't see them listed as links when I did an ls -l of the appropriate directory. I should have looked at the file sizes.

    Cool. I am now totally content with how iPhoto is handling my collection. Its inner-workings seem kind of strange (and dodgy) to me, but I'm happy that its not just creating unnecessary copies of my photos. It is back on my list of good apps.
  4. findpankaj macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2005
    Photos on hard drive and not in iPhoto library?

    Is it wise to assume that iPhoto will not wreck havoc on your photos, even if you are not importing anything to your library? . Remember those scary stories of photos vanishing from iPhoto library and iPhoto (Happened to me)? I am also exploring this option since my PC is almost outta steam (I still blv Picasa is still the best for organizing).

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