Migrating from iPhoto to... what?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Wingsley, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Wingsley macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2014
    I have an iPhoto library that contains about 65,000 images. I rely heavily on iPhoto's proprietary features, and have been since I started using the first version of iPhoto when Apple released it well over a decade ago. Apple's concept of a well-designed "digital shoebox" has proven itself invaluable, time and time again.

    My family has an interesting arrangement. I have iPhoto 9.6.1 installed on my iMac. My other family members use iPhoto 9.6.1 on a MacBook Pro. I upgraded both machines to MacOS 10.12 Sierra recently. Both machines use the same iPhoto library (library stored on an external portable hard drive), plugged into either computer (one at a time) via USB cable.

    Now on Sierra, and so far, iPhoto is still working.

    I am aware that iPhoto is EOL'd, meaning Apple no longer supports it. This is tremendously disappointing, as Apple's new official Photos app seems to be more like iPhoto Lite, or iPhoto 2004. I have a lot of time and effort invested in organizing Events with titles that I wrote like highly abbreviated summaries. I also have alot of newspaper-style prose captions stored as metadata in the Comments pane for quite a few photos. I store this information, and more, for family members, volunteering for local civic organizations, events planning, and work projects.

    I am deeply concerned that migrating from iPhoto to Photos will ruin all that metadata and organization permanently. I have roughly 65,000 images in my iPhoto library, dating back to before the beginning of the first version of iPhoto. (I bought my first digital camera in November 2001.)

    Will I be forced to migrate to Photos? If so, will all that valuable metadata (possibly thousands of photos) be lost? Is there any way to avoid this?

    If Photos is not the answer, what consumer-based digital photography solution is available for Mac, Android-based smartphone (running Android 6), and iPad Mini (running iOS 11) can be used to reliably organize and manage a library of this size?
  2. The Bad Guy macrumors 65816

    The Bad Guy

    Oct 2, 2007
    65, 000 images in iPhoto? You done ****ed up son.
  3. wwchris macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    I have a library that is over 100,000 pics and 1.1 Tb. I currently use photos and am having no problems. I probably upgraded too soon (back in the day) and lost some of my face data that I had to reconstruct, but those wer faces I had manually added or I think already had some problems. I can't tell you how many faces it was, but photos does such a better job of identifying faces, most of them were back in no time. As for the rest of it, keywords etc seemed to migrate over no problem. It is much faster than iphoto and since launch has brought become comparable to iphoto in terms of features and with 3rd party integrations actually surpassed it. I sync all photos in icloud and on my phone and my ipad and multiple AppleTV's and have no problems. My phone and iPad are iOS11 and I have had no problems there either (even though I have not upgraded my photos library to the High Sierra version yet.) I keep all of my photos on an external 2Tb SSD over usb3 for speed (too big for my macbook pro 1Tb internal SSD. Initially upgrading the library took a LOOONG time and syncing all those photos to iCloud when I changed the external to be my system library took days, but I have had no problems since.

    Now. What I will say is, I wouldn't upgrade to High Serra right now. It is new and I hear there are lots of migration bugs so I am holding off. Since you are on Sierra still I think you will be fine, I suggest you back up the photos library over time machine. I would also manually copy the library to a second external drive just for safe keeping. 1Tb drive are so cheap now, better safe than sorry to have an extra backup just in case.

    Then, if you upgrade and have problems, you can just copy the old iphoto database right back to your computer.

    The one complication you have is using the same library on two machines. I will post more on that shortly.
  4. wwchris, Oct 11, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017

    wwchris macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    Ok, so adding to this, you can use an external drive photo library as a "System" library but it would have to be dedicated to one of the two machines you were previously swapping between. Good news is, you can use iCloud to sync those libraries across computers and changes to photos made on one will show up on the other (and all your iOS devices) with no need to move a drive back and forth. The only caveat is that database info like people/faces is not migrated across devices in Sierra. Apple has said that will work across devices in High Sierra but I have not tested that myself since I have not upgraded. I actually keep a mac mini that is a second photo library synced across iCloud for myself as well.
  5. MrGIS macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2010
    Ontario Canada
    Photos is a natural progression for you and Photos will import your iPhoto library completely. All of your edits will be present in Photos. I beleieve you'll find that functionality offered by Photos is adequate for your needs, particularly the version released with High Sierra. You can also augmented functionality with extensions. I recommend having a look at Luminar and Raw Power.

    Good luck!
  6. Wingsley thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2014
    Does Photoshop Elements offer an extension to plug-into Apple Photos?
    --- Post Merged, Oct 12, 2017 ---
    My prime concern is iPhoto metadata: Events titles and prose narratives I input into the Comments section for each photo in iPhoto. I do not want to loose them.
  7. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Photos should handle the metadata you put into iPhotos' images, but there are some differences in organization. I dunno the current state of how it handles titles, which I seem to recall altered file names in iPhoto. And events are dealt with a bit differently. I think they still get dealt with by being converted to albums, which is really what they are anyway.

    I'd suggest you get a copy of iPhoto Library Manager, and create a test iPhoto library you can convert to Photos and see how it goes. Sharing with Photos is a bit different if you're gonna use iCloud Photo Library (and probably that many images will require spending some if you wanna use it).

    Frankly, with that many I'd move 'em all to Lightroom. Consider that it has a tool to import an iPhoto library, but it doesn't have a tool to import a Photos library.

    There are also some issues with Photos and backing up via TM in High Sierra, so be aware of that (if you store it externally), https://support.apple.com/guide/photos/back-up-the-photos-library-pht6d60d10f

    And Elements? https://helpx.adobe.com/elements-organizer/using/import-media-iphoto-library-mac.html
  8. Lahmy88 macrumors member


    May 14, 2011
    Shepparton, Victoria, Australia
  9. MrGIS, Oct 13, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017

    MrGIS macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2010
    Ontario Canada
    I expect this stuff will migrate as well. You can test yourself with out losing anything. Photos does NOT convert your existing iPhoto library to a Photos library. It imports your iPhoto library into a new Photo's library. This gives you the flexibility to test over an over again until you're satisfied you have everything you want/need. I was an Apeture user, and all of my edits and organization logic was transferred over to to Photos with the exception of Books.
  10. PPopMatt macrumors newbie


    Nov 13, 2015
    i basically upgraded to LightRoom when Apple decided to abandon iPhoto and offer Photos (for kids)

    Lightroom seemed the obvious choice as 1. I had been Adobe Photoshop user since 1.0, and 2. MOST if not ALL Professional Photographers were using LR, so I was excited to transition to LR and just did it.

    Basic conclusion after years of LR is that Adobe sucks. Great Genius Level "Ideas" for their programs, but incredibly frustrating lame UI and under logic interactions that will never be fixed, like needing to manually deselect an image, when you click on another, otherwise all of the effects like rotating, keywords etc will be applied to all, instead of the just clicked on single photo. (But then again Apple SUCKS hard in the need to have the iOS Keyboard "Up" to underline, or make a character bold, and the incredible difficulty inserting the curser, and a beyond horrible keyboard, spell checker, and other issues like Stalling everyones older devices when a new one comes out like right now... - but I digress...)

    In LightRoom there is the very serious annoying issue of having to extract my photos from my iPhones, then deleting them, using "Image Capture" into a folder on my desktop, then import into LR, as LR crashes on Importing Photos, due to a probably purpose-able Flaw not fixed by Apple...

    iPhoto was WAY more intuitive in how it organizes film rolls, and key words, and re-naminig titling images. LR is a major huge hassle that makes your life miserable as you have to proverbally fight a bear instead of enjoying the walk thru the forest... Keyword lists are massive and you have to scroll all the way to the bottom to rename photos... (Why isn't the title clickable on or over the image?)
    Also the import from iPhoto to LR was buggy and I'm still not sure I got everything... LAME
    But if you learn their cryptic assbackwards logic of how to do everything, Light Room is probably superior.

    I mostly use Photoshop to work on choosen Photos, but if your using Photos or Lightroom to edit the photos I would probably give LR and huge edge here, as the editing capabilities of Photos is probably pretty limited consumer level at best, while LR and or PS is at very high professional level...

    If I had to do it again, I probably would still choose Lightroom, but I do wish it was a better program... Don't forget that The $600 a year for LR/CS subscription is obnoxious... but I also use InDesign and Illustrator. You could get just the LR/PS bundle for a lot less..
  11. sladey macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2008
    Sydney, Australia
    Question PPopMatt: how have you managed to make LR workable?

    I've got 100,000 photos in Aperture - been putting off moving. I thought I'd try LR so I did a test import of 5000 photos from two iPhones, and found LR to be a freaking nightmare. Imports looked finished but never actually completed by themselves. Videos all played upside down. Even browsing photos was slow and clunky on a medium spec 2017 iMac 27" with Fusion drive. Haven't even got to editing yet.

    No joy on any forums or with Adobe support in getting basic functionality working. Wasted days on reinstalls, different versions, workarounds, re-imports, deleting preferences,... the list goes on.

    I really can't see why LR is the go-to software for enthusiasts. It's a piece of crap. Am I missing something?
    --- Post Merged, Jun 13, 2018 ---
    Hi there Wingsley... what did you go with and how is it working for you?
  12. PPopMatt macrumors newbie


    Nov 13, 2015
    Lightroom is .... ok. It does the "job" but it is annoying, clunky, doesn't import from the iPhone correctly and crashes, Displays videos Upside Down... UNINTUITIVE, and yes is a slow annoying (did I already say annoying) program.

    But it does its job... I wouldn't use another program, but I Wish it was better!!

    You don't have to eff with the settings, or reinstall it. It is what it is... It's only 80% finished probably on purpose (what else do their engineers do?), but it sells and is professional, and it is used worldwide..

    If you use it as it is, it will do its job, but again it is annoying..

    I had to use Google to look up how to just apply a keyword to only one photo that you select on the photo itself, like in the apple finder, but lo and behold, you have to "click on the area outside the photo in the box, to just select the one, otherwise it will apply the action to all photos previously selected... <- Annoying

    Again it is a work horse to organize your photos, tag and do stuff with your photos. LR is good enough for that, but it takes eons of time to use... Nothing is easy, nor are there NO intuitive, easy tools to make your life easier...

    I preferred the old way of using Photoshop, and saving and storing the done work in appropriate folders, but nowadays EVERYTHING has to be done in an artificial ecosystem...

    My current "issue" with Lightroom is that it illogically keeps jumping its location from my primary to my second monitor, with zero rhyme or reason, and is impossible to just keep it in the primary monitor and the second display of the working photo in the 2nd monitor.. !#@^%&$. I had to google it, and they said to go into "mission control" and fart with some settings, but it didn't solve it...

    There is also no way to save the last used view as far as I can figure out. You have to go in and select "Last Import" or look at photos with a keyword to find what the ^%^% you were doing yesterday...

    Ultumately, The problem with Adobe, is that they have a great product but it is still very mush like 1988 in its programming, very structured and unintuitive. Note, I have been using Photoshop since 1.0 around 1989, as well as Pagemaker, etc, but it took QuarkXpress around 1991 to truly revolutionize the Desktop publishing world, to introduce a revolutionary product, which Adobe ultimately **** upon by introducing InDesign... and introducing it as part of the Creative Suite. Adobe also being King of the Hill isn't interested in making a more elegant product user wise, just hooking you into their ecosystem, with unimportant new annoying changes and features, so that you pay them $19.95 or $49.99+ a month for their subscription... So they make Money and keep Wall Street Happy...

    "The Future is Stupid"

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11 October 10, 2017