Photos directory structure?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by PhilthyM, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. PhilthyM macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2007
    Hi, please go easy on me with this one... people seem to get quite defensive about going behind the scenes with iPhoto/Photos!

    My wife has a 2014 MacBook Pro, this is her third or fourth Mac. Along the way she seems to have created several libraries in both iPhoto and now Photos, so there are probably two or three copies of many of the older pictures.

    I want to pull all the pictures off her drive, remove the duplicates and do a fresh import into a new Photos library. Is that the best approach or am I missing something? If it is, how do I find all the original pictures, as in what folders?

    Am I right in thinking it is all the pictures in: /Users/wife/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/Masters/ and the equivalents in the other libraries?

    Appreciate any advice on this.


  2. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Yes, you'll find the Masters in the Masters folders. You could do as you propose. The downside is that you'll lose all your edit data, captioning/keywords, all Albums that were created, anything that was done to organize the images... it'll be as if the images were just imported from the camera.

    There are several image duplicate-locating apps out there that will locate the duplicates within iPhoto and Photos libraries. You could first use that, to eliminate the duplicates. If the total size of all libraries is not too great, one way to combine them all is to add each library in succession to iCloud Photo Library:

    In Photos > Preferences > iCloud de-select iCloud Photo Library
    Quit Photos, hold the Option key while opening Photos again - select and open another library
    In Photo > Preferences > iCloud - select iCloud Photo Library
    After that library has been uploaded to the cloud, lather, rinse, repeat
  3. PhilthyM thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2007
    Thanks for the quick response!

    They are simply imported, there are no edits, captions or anything so in that sense nothing to lose. I hadn't thought about the image duplication finder, will definitely pursue that one, thanks.

    They are probably a bit much for iCloud, around 55GB, with a relatively slow upload speed. I'll try the deduplication and see how it goes.

    Thanks again!
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Rather than mess around in those folders and break things, I would just export from with iPhoto/Photos using the export command from the file menu. Just select all photos then export to a folder on the Desktop.

    Then make a new, empty Photos library and import every photo into that. Then run a dupe detector app like Duplicate Annihilator on the new library to get rid of dupes.
  5. PhilthyM thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2007
    Elegant and simple! Thanks mate, will give that a go.

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