Moving entire photos library to a new MacBook

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Skoal, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. Skoal macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2009
    #1
    I’ve tried to find an answer via search but keep getting peripheral answers to what I think is a simple question. I want to move or import my photos library to a brand new MacBook from an old one. What I’m not sure of is which folder to copy/transfer onto the new laptop and where to move it to so the new MacBook will have all the photos right there when I open the app.

    I’m assuming the folder in the home folder inside “pictures” titled photo library.photolibrary is the one but wanted to make sure. Also, would it just be simpler to find that folder in a time machine backup? Thanks so much for any help anyone can provide. I realize this isn’t a difficult task and although I have backups I get a bit paranoid I’ll end up with folders all over my new machine which would drive my OCD up the wall :)
     
  2. Unix_is-not_linux macrumors newbie

    Unix_is-not_linux

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2019
    #2
    Well it depends where all your files are stored. Do you know the location you saved them to ?

    also if you are moving to a new mac it might just be easier to use the mac os Migration Assistant
     
  3. ScreenSavers macrumors 6502a

    ScreenSavers

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2016
    Location:
    Bloomingdale, GA
    #3
    Another vote for migration assistant. Otherwise use iCloud photo library.
     
  4. techwarrior macrumors 65816

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #4
    If you used iCloud for your photos library in the past, just login with your iCloud ID launch Photos and turn on iCloud Photo sync. it will download everything from the cloud.

    You are correct, the .photoslibrary file is the database with all the photos and metadata assuming you had it set to copy imports to the library. if so, you can copy this to the new Mac and select it on first launch.
     
  5. NoBoMac Moderator

    NoBoMac

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    #5
    I will ditto Migration Assistant/Time Machine as well.

    OR

    Just to be safe, I'd copy the entire "Pictures" folder over, because...

    Do you also have a ".migratedphotolibrary" object under Pictures? If so, that contains photos that were imported via the old iPhotos program, which .photoslibrary points to for any old pictures Photos program has.
     
  6. Skoal thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2009
    #6
    Indeed I have photos that were migrated via iPhoto when the photos app became a thing. Good call and thank you. I wanted to use migration assistant like I have in the past but for some reason on my first attempt to use it it on this new laptop there were all kinds of issues when I booted the laptop up again after. I have a good time machine backup I can grab everything from I just need to make sure I put it in the right place.

    Do you recommend just replacing the current pictures folder (in new laptop) with the old I.e. delete the new one and plop the old in that home folder?
     
  7. Skoal thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2009
    #7
    Disregard my last post:

    All is well in the world lol! I ended up using my latest TM backup through finder to copy the iPhoto and photos folders into the new pictures folder and everything imported as if it were the original computer. Thanks for the tips folks. It helped ease my mind getting what I know is a simple task done. My main worry was I’d end up with folders everywhere and out of place.
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    NoBoMac writes:
    "Just to be safe, I'd copy the entire "Pictures" folder over, because..."

    You CANNOT DO THIS.

    The "pictures" folder is more than "just a folder". It's a symbolic link (or at least used to be), that is tied to the ownership of your home folder on the old Mac.

    But... you CAN COPY things that are INSIDE the "pictures" folder, such as individual photos, the Photos library, etc.

    That would involve:
    a. copy the pictures folder to an external drive
    b. mount the drive on another Mac
    c. click ONE time on the drive icon to select it, then type "command-i" (eye) to bring up get info. At the bottom of get info, click the lock icon and enter your password. Now put a checkmark into "ignore ownership on this volume", then close get info
    d. locate the old "pictures" folder and open it into a finder window on the desktop
    e. you can now copy items inside of it to the "pictures" folder of your NEW account (on the NEW Mac).

    As mentioned above, you can also migrate from a backup drive.
    I ALWAYS recommend backing up with either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.
    I suppose Time Machine might work, but I've never used it, ever.
     
  9. NoBoMac, Jul 19, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019

    NoBoMac Moderator

    NoBoMac

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    #9
    Pictures is a folder. And everything around Photos is self contained in that folder.

    Where links come into play is iPhotos library vs Photos. Photos has hard links to the pictures in iPhotos library. Both libraries will link to the same image file via a hard link.

    Depending on scenario, yes, things might get mucked up if ownerships are messed up (eg. create a new user account on new Mac and go from there vs. Migration Assistant to get same setup), but generally will work to simply copy.

    For example, I moved my Pictures folder off my Mac onto an external drive: no issues, and links preserved, no extra steps.

    Code:
    $ cd '/Volumes/External_SSD/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/Masters/2007/Event/'
    $ ls -li IMG_0412.JPG
    43463 -rw-r--rw-  2 myidhere staff  424359 Jan  1  2009 IMG_0412.JPG
    $ cd /Volumes/External_SSD/Pictures
    $ find . -inum 43463
    ./iPhoto Library.migratedphotolibrary/Masters/2007/Event/IMG_0412.JPG
    ./Photos Library.photoslibrary/Masters/2007/Event/IMG_0412.JPG
    One thing that might cause troubles is in Settings and the default photos library: might need to reset that.

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204414
     
  10. mpainesyd macrumors 6502a

    mpainesyd

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
  11. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #11
    NoBoMac wrote:
    "For example, I moved my Pictures folder off my Mac onto an external drive: no issues, and links preserved, no extra steps."

    Yes, of course that would work, because you're still accessing the folder with THE SAME ACCOUNT that you used when it was located "internally".

    Try doing that with a NEW Mac that has a different account on it!
     

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10 July 17, 2019