iphoto files recovery

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by sinkrate, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. sinkrate macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2017
    Hi all,

    Worked for years with PC's but never with MAC.
    I have a corrupt hard disk that basically has a load of photos on it in iphoto.
    I have recovered the hard disk and managed to ge the files off (jpg format). User says there are 1000's of pictures on there and indeed the space left on the HDD reflects this, but I dont see loads of quality photographs in the backup some are 200kb etc

    I'm after some information of how the files are kept in iphoto. Not accessing through iphoto but through the file structure instead (I now this is not the way to do it, but i cant access the OS)

    So I suppose what I'm asking is :-
    Where are the files kept? only in the master folder ?

    All of the photos displayed in iphoto do they have a *.jpg stored somewhere on the computer. 1 per photo?

    more importantly, if iphoto is used by two seperate profiles, then does iphoto seperate the storage of the photos in each users profile or will it just dump all the photos into the profile of the user that originally used iphoto?

    Thanks for any help.
  2. ApfelKuchen, Mar 19, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017

    ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    A library is a "package" - a folder with several extra properties. Inside the library package you'll find a Masters folder - those will be the un-edited master images. There will also be Previews and Thumbnails folders that contain the latest versions of the images (if the master was never edited, then the preview and thumbnail will be the same as the master, if edits were made, then the preview and thumbnail reflects the edit). Previews and Thumbnails are mostly used for browsing in iPhoto (quick display of the current, edited version), but the Previews may be helpful to you if you need to recover the final results of a edit. The other folders inside the package contain data files.

    If the Master image was a medium-sized JPG, then it's possible that the Preview will be of equal resolution. However, the Previews of higher-resolution JPGs and RAWs will not match the resolution of the Master.

    Something to bear in mind is that iPhoto, Photos, and Aperture are non-destructive editors. The Master image is never modified, all edits are stored as data. If/when you need to export an image for use outside of the app, the Master is read, the current edit data is applied, and the exported image is rendered as a new file of the desired type/size/quality.

    If you were able to recover the entire iPhoto library package (and you intend to keep using either iPhoto or its successor, Photos, on a Mac), it's best to leave that library intact try to open it with the native app. If it works, all edits and organizing that had been done previously (Albums, Events, etc.) will be preserved. Some forms of damage to the library can be repaired by those apps.

    Each User (what you're referring to as "profiles") will have his/her own library inside their user folder. This is true not only for iPhoto/Photos/Aperture, but iTunes, iMovie, and other apps. The standard MacOS approach is: Apps and OS are stored in top-level folder available to all Users. Data is stored in the individual User folders, so that each User can have unique data.

    You're assuming that all photos are normally JPGs. That's not necessarily the case, of course. But regardless of what the original format is, the Preview will be a JPG. There is not necessarily a JPG Preview for every Master image, though there should be a Thumbnail. That's because Previews aren't generated until an image is individually viewed (for larger-size viewing or editing).
  3. sinkrate thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2017
    Thanks for the reply, very helpful.

    I've got some further problems with the drive in that a lot of the photos were stored under a different profile. Under this users profile though the file structure is there (desktop, pictures etc) but all of these folders are empty.
    Unfortunately I think the drive is corrupt or something has happened to delete all the data in the folder structure.

    I have booted the drive with Linux and also looked at it with some drive recovery software but nothing so far. All the folders have no data in them.

    This will be the first time that I've not been able to recover data for someone. Not giving up yet though few more things to try.

    I did read about an apple bug that involved the user account and switching between accounts on the mac unfortunately deleting all the data from user account folders. If this is the case then I don't hold much hope !

    Thanks again.
  4. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Consider the possibility that the other user account is empty because it was not used. A new User account is created when someone starts a new Mac for the first time. If they subsequently migrate their old User folder from a previous Mac, the newly-created User account may never be used. Also, standard Mac troubleshooting may include creating an empty "Test User" account, to see whether a performance issue is related to user data/configurations, or is universal to the OS installation. Further, a library (whether iPhoto/Photos/Aperture, iTunes, iMovie, etc.) is not created until a User opens the associated app for the first time. If iPhoto was never opened, the Pictures folder will not contain an iPhoto library.

    Overall, those circumstances are more likely explanations for what you're seeing than a relatively obscure bug.
  5. sinkrate thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2017
    Thanks again.

    The user account was definitely used, all of the users pictures were stored in iPhoto on this account (account 1)

    All I have been able to copy out are photos from the second account (account 2) who also used iPhoto. All the recovered photos so far wether it's from a straight search for *.jpg etc or whether it's from the data recovery software that has identified a large amount of corrupt folders with jpg in - are all from account 2.

    Baffles me why account 1 would show no data. Permissions issue? I don't think so as looking at the drive through a variety of different options shows nothing. No permission related errors.

  6. RCAFBrat, Mar 19, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017

    RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2013
    Montreal, QC
    Is it possible account 1 is password protected or encrypted whereas account 2 is a guest account without admin permissions or password for access? If this were to be the case would file extensions be recognizable for account 1?

    I have no clue myself but maybe others can chime in!

    Cheers and good luck

    Edit: perhaps account 1 is empty and account 3 is the one you're looking for; does file structure for account 1 match expectations (ie are there folders that have obviously been named by a person as opposed to a standard file structure created by an OS or app)?
  7. sinkrate thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2017
    Yeah the structure is spot on, just find it weird. I've checked the other accounts.
    I can't see how it's a permissions thing as I'm accessing it from a completely different OS, in fact 2 different ones.
    If the files were encrypted or pad protected I would still be able to see the size of the files in the folders. No files and size.

    The user did say that they changed their login name, but it worked for about a year after that before finally giving up.
    I presume that the folder structure just stays the same if the login name is changed as it's already been created for that profile.

    Thanks again all.

Share This Page

6 March 18, 2017