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Where did my Photos Library go??


macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 27, 2011
Hi all,

So I recently swapped out my old hard drive for an SSD. I discovered that I no longer had a recovery partition. So in order to get that back, I made a bootable USB of High Sierra and did a clean install, thus swiping my hard drive. From there, I ran Time Machine to get back all my data.

All seemed to work fine until I opened Photos and got the message '"Photos cannot find the System Photo Library named “Photos Library.photoslibrary”. Trying to run the repair tool only gives me the same message as it can't find Photos Library.

Photos Library should be located in the Pictures folder right? The crazy thing is that in all my Time Machine backups, which goes back several months, there is NO PHOTOS LIBRARY IN ANY OF THE PICUTRES FOLDERS. Huh??

Photos was running fine up until this point. Now I directed Photos to use my my iPhotos library as that's the only one in Pictures folder, but I'm guessing this will be too old.

Things to know: I'm not using iCloud to store my photos but am using My Photo Stream. I'm using a mid-2010 MacBook Pro.

Can anyone help me figure out where my Photos Library went?? Would this have anything to do with swiping my hard drive and running Time Machine? I've reinstalled from Time Machine before and when I've opened Photos in the past it was always able to find the library.

Sorry if this isn't detailed enough. It's late and I'm pulling my hair out.

Thanks for you help!
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Reactions: splash68


macrumors newbie
Oct 10, 2020
I am seemingly going through the same issue ... have you received any resolution by chance? Thanks!
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