IPhoto, Duplicate File Names when Exporting?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by rinibean, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. rinibean macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2011
    I have had several cameras over the years, and thus have ended up with many different photos with the same file name. I realize that this is not a problem within iPhoto, as the program itself can tell the difference between file names even if they are the same.

    However, I'm getting ready to back up my photos to an external hard drive. I'm realizing that if I have two photos of the same name, one will overwrite the other when transferred to the external drive.

    Also, I have a non-Mac "cloud" back-up service that I pay monthly for. Right now I'm realizing that it has probably happened there as well, and I'm likely missing pictures there.

    I am aware of the method to change the photo titles in iPhoto, but since this does not change the file name it will not suit my needs.

    How do I get around this problem? I have thousands of pictures so I cannot deal individually with each picture. I was hoping to do a Batch rename of files (using the date/year as a prefix, maybe Oct2014-1, for example). Then I could do batch file name changes from this point forward as I upload pictures. But, if iPhoto does not allow me to change the filename, I don't know how to solve the problem.

    Any help is appreciated. Thank you!
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    As long as you use the Export option from the File menu in iPhoto you will be fine. It will append a 2 to the second photo if they gave the same file name and will not overwrite.

    I just did a test. I took a screenshot and named it test2. Then imported it to iPhoto and deleted the file from my desktop. Then took a second screenshot and named it test2 also then imported that into iPhoto. I looked in iPhoto and the two screenshots are there and both still named test2. Then I selected both files and went to File menu and Export and said to export the original and pointed to the desktop and the result was the second test2 file for a -2 appended to it.

  3. rinibean thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2011
    Ok, I think this will work with a few tweaks. Your solution works only if I export all 40,000 photos in the same file transfer. Plus, in the future if I take a photo which happens to have the same file name as a file already on the external drive, the file on the external will get overwritten.

    However, I played with the export option a bit and think I have a solution. In the File Export Menu, there is a drop-down menu for how you want to name each exported file. The drop-down offers an option for "Album Name with Number". I ran a few tests with this option, and it appears to assign the file a unique file number. For example, my two files "DSC_1246.jpg" were reassigned to be named "Photos - 04431.jpg" and "Photos - 11758.jpg".

    I guess the question I don't know right now is whether the file number it is assigned is a number that iPhoto has tied to that specific photo, or whether it is generating a random number. If it is a random number, than the possibility exists that down the road iPhoto could assign another photo that same number.

    There is also a "sequential" option if I want to use my month/year format rather than the "Album Name with Number." Perhaps this might be my best option to avoid any future problems with duplicates.
  4. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000


    Mar 20, 2009
    Near London, UK.
    Why not just backup the whole iPhoto library as one thing? If you use the right cloud provider they will do incremental changes ata block level so you won't end up copying everything all over again each time you back it up.
    And if you backup to a local hard disk it doesn't matter if you end up re copying all if it, though time machine would do it incrementally anyway.
    And if you DONT backup the iPhoto library then if (or when) you lose the library original you'll still have 40,000 photos backed but a massive and horrendous job from hell to reorganise and fit back into events and things like places, faces, keywords would all be lost.

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