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Combining Several Photos Libraries

27″ iMac 5K i5, Catalina is installed all software up to date.
I currently have 7 Photos libraries. I would like to combine my system Photos library with 2 of my older libraries. To do so would create one library of about 216GB.

1) Is this too large a library to use as a daily accessed resource?

2) If I combine, will I lose any info from the old libraries i.e. edits, face names, albums, etc?

Any suggestions/cautions?

Thank you.


Comments: 3 Responses to “Combining Several Photos Libraries”

    2 years ago

    If you have the resources – drive space, iCloud space – then 216GB shouldn’t be too big. Mine is about 100GB.

    If you combine then yes, you will lose some data. But you will get some of it back eventually. For instance, face names will come back as they re-match after being imported into your System library. Albums will be lost though, so you’ll need to recreate those if you want them back.

    My only suggestion is maybe to think about not having videos in your library. Is that why the library is so big? For me, I like to keep my photos in my Photos library and I put my videos just as normal files in a folder with subfolders on my Mac. I only have a relatively small collection of videos and it is easy to deal with them as files. But I save a lot of GB in my library (and on iCloud) by keeping them out of the Photos library.

    Also, maybe try it with a small selection of photos at a time. Like export photos from a single year, month or event from one library. Import them into your System library, and then get those all settled before doing the next selection. Just take it slowly so any mistake you make is easy to correct, rather than importuning thousands of photos at a time.

    Ash Shah
    2 years ago

    Hi Gary,
    I have two photo libraries on two separate hard drives. How do I combine both?

    2 years ago

    Ash: You’ll need to export the photos from the lesser-used smaller one and then import those photos into the other library.

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