Sorting Photos in Mac after Windows


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 29, 2012
NSW Australia
Hello Mac Posters,

I apologise in advance if I'm not on the right Forum.

I have recently purchased a MacBookPro. So far it has been a huge learning experience trying to adjust after Windows 7! To make a long story short - I am passionate about order in my life - this must of course include order on my computer. I had complete order on my PC previously but I now find I had to partition my computer to accommodate an embroidery program which will not run on Mac.

This was easily achieved, however, I now have a problem where I wish to put all my photos (about 15000) on my MacBook. These photos were all beautifully sorted into folders in Windows. The problem then arises because these photos in Windows were numbered and named i.e. '0002. Rebecca - May 2007'. I named these photos the way I wanted them listed, not necessarily in the order they were taken (especially when two or three cameras were used at any given time).

I then move to Mac and load the photos - heck! I suddenly have a huge problem! I have lost all control over my photos! iPhoto decides to put them into events! Hello! I suddenly lose all control over where my photos appear.
I suddenly find I cannot list my photos in alpha order. Absolutely no control - no options on how I can list them! Even having created several folders - say - 2007 - another Rebecca, the numbers and as such order that I had allocated in Windows folders - suddenly my no. 0002 can be listed way down the line in the 'Rebecca' folder because that photo is older than another. In effect I have lost all organisational powers!

HELP! Please, I hope someone can help me here as I do like Mac but this is really frustrating me no end!

Dave Braine

macrumors 68040
Mar 19, 2008
Warrington, UK
No doubt you manually created and organised your photos in Windows? You just have to do the same again.

iPhoto display pictures in Photos and Events in order of time and date taken(as per the time/date settings on the camera). You merge Events by dragging and dropping one on another, or you can split Events.

You can create Albums, Folders, Folders in Folders, Albums in Folders from the File menu and then drag in photos as required.

If you still have your pictures in their original location, I would delete your iPhoto Library and start again. Import each of your folders in turn, where the photos will appear in iPhoto under Last Import. Create a corresponding Folder or Album in iPhoto and then drag in those pictures just imported, and so on and so on. Probably quicker than sorting through 15000 pictures and trying to get back what you had.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 29, 2012
NSW Australia
Hi Dave,

Should I manually do the photos in iPhoto or in Pictures?

I have quite a number of photos I want listed in a certain order - so I name them 0001 or whatever, just not in chronological order within the albums or folders, e.g.,

I find when I have a photo in iPhoto, filename:
'0001. May 2007 - Rebecca' in an album/folder I have called 'May 2007'.
I also want to put that photo in another album/folder called 'Rebecca'.
The photo will copy to that new album/folder with the same filename. But because I already have a heap of photos in the 'Rebecca' album that 0001. is no good. As soon as I try to change the filename in the Rebecca folder it automatically changes the filename in 'May 2007' album and the original.

I want each album/folder to be unique within itself.


macrumors 68000
Mar 20, 2009
Near London, UK.
You should go into iPhoto and switch off "copy photos to library" under preferences > advanced. Then iPhoto would use your existing folder structures.

But you'll have to start again to achieve that, no easy way to get there from where you are now. Hopefully you still have all the originals?

However, for what you want to do with that level of detail of where they are stored and in what order they are displayed, iPhoto may not be right for you anyway. Instead look into Picasa (free) and PhotoShop Elements 11 (about $100)
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