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How Do I Merge Photo Libraries?

Over time I seem to have generated a few photo libraries, with much duplication, I think. Is there a simple way of merging them so that there is only one library that both iPhoto and Apple Photos can use?
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Barbara Hooper

Comments: 6 Responses to “How Do I Merge Photo Libraries?”

    12 months ago

    That’s a complicated question with a lot of variations. iPhoto and Photos are two different apps. Are you talking about one that is old iPhoto and another that if modern Photos? Is your current library in Photos and you simply want to bring in old photos from old iPhoto or Photos libraries? Are you now using iCloud Photo Library?

    A general solution is to open the old libraries and export all of the photos out from them, using the “Original Photos” option. Put them into a folder as files. Then import them into your current photo library in Photos. Simple and done. But you’ll probably need to spend some time with them afterwards, depending on how organized you wish to be. You may also lose things like tags/keywords and albums. Not sure how much you used those before.

    But getting them all into one library and putting the effort in to re-organizing, removing any duplicates you find, and creating albums (or using keyword tags) can be rewarding when you are done.

    Mike
    12 months ago

    I have a similar situation, as I had my iMac repaired and need to start fresh with photos. Currently a blank library. I have my Time Machine backup to use. My query has to do with meta data. At least I think so. Some of my photos in the library are older with no associated meta data, at least from the device that created them (camera). Will this result in these photos, when placed into a folder, all being given the new date of the import? For example, a photo from year 2000 now 2018.

    12 months ago

    Mike: What do you mean by “start fresh with Photos?” Do you have an old Photos library or an iPhoto library in your backup? You can just open that with Photos and continue from there. But if have no old library, if you are using Photos for the first time, then yes, you import your photos and get going. It would be odd to have photos with no metadata, though. That can happen if you scan photos in (they weren’t taken with a digital camera). In that case they would have the import date but you can then set the dates (if you even know them). Otherwise, the metadata is part of the photo file unless you went to great effort to strip it out.

    Mike
    12 months ago

    Thanks. I had a MBP with iPhoto as my original library. To build this library, I added photos from iOS devices and other sources such as modern cameras. However, I had many older photos taken as far back as 2000 which were basically jpg files (might have been some other formats as well). Many of these were from older digital cameras (used a floppy disc to record). As these got imported, it appears they got dated according to the import date. I converted this all to Photos which is my library

    12 months ago

    Mike: Sounds like you have it sorted out then?

    Mike
    12 months ago

    I think so. Just a lot of editing to do, but it’s worth it to get Photos features to work to my favor. I am at 30,000 photos now, and growth continues as family grows.

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