Forum Question: Is It Possible To Split My iPhoto Library Into 2 Separate Libraries?

I have over 3000 photos in my iPhoto and it takes a very long time to open. Is there a way I can put the majority of them into a second iPhoto library and keep the most recent ones in the default library? If so, what would be the proper way?
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Younger Phelps

Comments: 5 Responses to “Is It Possible To Split My iPhoto Library Into 2 Separate Libraries?”

    6/20/13 @ 1:31 pm

    3000 isn’t actually that much. I have many times that. Perhaps rather than splitting your library you might want to try rebuilding it first to see if that helps. To rebuild, simply hold down Option+Command when launching iPhoto.
    If you really want to split it, there are a few ways to do it. Some third-party apps you buy can manage multiple libraries. But you can do it yourself by simply finding the library in your Pictures folder (where it usually is located) and duplicating the file. Name each one appropriately. Then open one (hold just just Option when starting iPhoto to select) and remove photos from it. Then restart iPhoto and open the other and remove the opposite photos. So you may remove all photos from 2012 and before in one library, and then remove all 2013 photos from the other.
    The problem is that once you have split your library like that, it is very hard to merge them. And you lose a lot of organization and searching ability. For instance, what to find the pictures with “Faces” that match someone? Or Location? Now you have to do the search twice, with two libraries. Things like that.

      Joe Allen
      6/20/13 @ 7:36 pm

      YP may have some high-resolution photos (5 MegaBytes or more ???), so the solution to his performance problem may involve REDUCING THE RESOLUTION on a number of YP’s 3000 photos. This photo resolution problem also impacts the performance email systems.

    Zdenka
    6/20/13 @ 8:51 pm

    I created a second library just by holding Option key when launching iPhoto and than “create new”. I like this possibility because I have one library uniquely for recipe / food photos and the other one for others.

    Matt
    6/21/13 @ 2:01 am

    What does rebuilding actually do?

      6/21/13 @ 7:54 am

      Let’s say you have a library of 3000 images. You add 100 more, and it adds 100 images to the end of that library. You edit image 2458 and it edits that image in the middle of the library. You delete 50 images and it removes them from the middle of the library. You work for years on the library, modifying, deleting and adding to it. All the time iPhoto tries to keep things nice and neat in the library, but it also wants to do things in a quick and efficient manner. So after a while the library is a mess. A digital mess.
      Rebuilding will essentially create a new copy of the library in perfect condition. The trade-off is time as you wait for the rebuild. But you have the luxury of being able to do this when you have the time, so there is no real downside.
      Think of it like having a messy desk. So you sweep everything into a big box. Then you take items out of the box one-by-one and put them in their proper place. The box ends up empty and your desk ends up organized and it is easier for you to find things and get work done.

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