fixed : put Photos database on external drive to save space

Question :

My internal HD is too full, so I want to make room for macOS to run smoothly again. As my Photos.app database is huge, would it be possible to move that database onto an external HD that is continuously connected to my Mac.

Is there any option to do so ?

 

Answer :

Yes, it is possible to move your entire Photos.app database to an external HD. Apple does explicitly recommend to use an external HD that is connected to your Mac directly with USB, ThunderBolt or FireWire. (and Apple explicitly recommends against putting your active Photos.app database on a wireless drive or network drive)

To do this, do this :

  • get yourself an external HD, preferably one that is using a fast cable connection to connect to your Mac ; Samsung currently has some small and very good external HDs using USB-C for this : Samsung T5 Portable SSD
  • plug the external HD into your Mac
  • goto Applications –> Utilities –> Disk Utility
  • open Disk Utility
  • reformat the external HD as “Mac OS Extended”
  • now, in the Finder, create a new folder on the external HD named Pictures
  • then, in the Finder, goto Users –> [your name]  –> Pictures
  • then drag&drop the Photos Library file to the external HD you have just created
  • …this may take a while
  • when done, open the Photos.app while pressing the [ALT]-key
  • in the Choose Library window that opens, click on the “Other Library”-button
  • from the pulldown Finder window, choose your new external drive –> Pictures –> Photos Library
  • then click the Open-button
  • now Photos.app will start up using the Photos Library on the external HD (and it will keep using the Photos Library on the external HD as its default library from now on)
  • check inside Photos.app to see if all your photos are now available (there’s no reason why they wouldn’t but just to make sure…)
  • now start using this setup as your new Photos.app setup, and if you don’t run into any problems in a few weeks (or even months if you need to) you can delete the Photos Library that was in the Pictures folder in your Home folder on your Mac’s internal drive to clear up some space

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : get very old iPhoto Library to open in macOS Mojave Photos.app

Question :

On my old PowerPC G4 (or G5) Mac I found some old photos in iPhoto.

Is it possible to copy the database and open it in the Photos.app on my new Mac that runs macOS 10.14 Mojave ?

Or do I have to import the photos as just photos and lose all additional info and edit that was done in iPhoto long ago ?

 

Answer :

Of course, the easiest and quickest way to get the original photos into your new Photos.app would be to just import all the old photos into Photo.app. But… as you already mentioned, you will loose all additional info and edits that you added in iPhoto back in the days.

The best way to get as much info and edits into Photos.app as possible is to do the following :

  • connect an external HD, external SSD or USB-stick with plenty of GBs to your old PowerPC G4 or G5 Mac
  • go to Users –> [your account name] –> Pictures –> iPhoto Library
  • copy the iPhoto Library (or even the entire Pictures folder) onto your external HD/SSD or USB-stick
  • when done, eject the external HD/SSD or USB-stick (by dragging it’s icon to the trash or clicking the eject-icon besides it’s name in the Finder) and disconnect it from your old Mac
  • then connect the external HD/SSD or USB-stick to your new Mac
  • download the iPhoto Library Upgrader software from Apple :

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202358

  • install the iPhoto Library Upgrader Tool
  • go to Applications –> Utilities –> iPhoto Library Upgrader Tool
  • run the iPhoto Library Upgrader Tool
  • in the window that opens, click on the Choose Library button
  • then select the iPhoto Library that is now on your external HD/SSD or USB-stick
  • then click Continue
  • when done, exit the iPhoto Library Upgrader Tool
  • then go to Apple-menu (Apple-icon top-left in the Finder) –> System Preferences –> iCloud
  • make sure you are Signed In into iCloud
  • then, in the list on the right at “Photos” click on the Options button
  • then make sure that there is a check mark at “iCloud Photos”
  • then exit System Preferences
  • now, double-click the Photos.app while holding down the [ALT]-key on your keyboard
  • now, while starting up Photos.app will ask you which Photos/ iPhoto Library to open
  • then choose the iPhoto Library that’s on your external HD/SSD or USB-stick
  • now, Photos.app will start converting the iPhoto Library to an up-to-date Photos Library
  • when done, Photos.app will display your old iPhoto photos
  • then, in Photos.app, goto Preferences, then General-tab and at Library Location click the ‘Use as System Photo Library’-button, to (temporarily) make the old iPhoto/Photos Library the one that syncs with iCloud
  • then Photo.app will start uploading the old photos to iCloud
  • now, in iCloud, these photos will be merged with the ones that were already in iCloud and they will be sent out to your iCloud (or rather iCloud Photos) connected devices
  • when the uploading is complete, you can quit Photos.app
  • now, double-click the Photos.app while holding down the [ALT]-key on your keyboard
  • now, while starting up Photos.app will ask you which Photos/ iPhoto Library to open
  • then choose the iPhoto Library that used to be your main Photos Library previously (usually the one that is in your current user’s Pictures folder)
  • then, in Photos.app, goto Preferences, then General-tab and at Library Location click the ‘Use as System Photo Library’-button, to make make your main Photos Library the one that syncs with iCloud again and be the one that opens when you startup Photos.app
  • then wait for the ‘new’ (additional old) photos to sync from iCloud and you will have an integrated Photos Library of old and new Photos and iPhoto’s databases

that’s it !

enjoy 😉