Forum Question: Sharing iPhoto Library between 2 Macs using a NAS

I use dropbox to share my iTunes database (located on a Western Digital Sharespace NAS) between my Mac Mini and my wife’s MacBook. I tried it with iPhoto, but the performance was terrible. A colleague said that I could simply put the iPhoto library file on the NAS and run both as referenced libraries (where the files are not copied to the iPhoto folder when imported), since putting the file on the NAS was the same as putting it in the dropbox folder. I just couldn’t run iPhoto at the same time on each machine. I did that, opened iPhoto up separately on my Mac Mini, then on her macbook, and everything seemed fine. Now, I have a folder on my Mac Mini desktop labeled “1”, and it has 3006 .jpg files in it. Where did this folder come from? I don’t remember seeing it there before I removed my iPhoto library from the dropbox folder and put it onto the NAS.

— Ian Cooke

Comments: 4 Responses to “Sharing iPhoto Library between 2 Macs using a NAS”

    2/24/10 @ 7:17 am

    I would imagine that performance for iPhoto would be bad with the library “in the cloud” — it has to access a ton of large files as you browse through your photos. A local NAS is much better.
    The way I do it, BTW, is to have the iPhoto library on one Mac as normal. In your case it would be the mini. Then allow sharing and set up iPhoto on the MacBook to see the shared iPhoto library on the mini. I think I need to have iPhoto running, but it hasn’t gotten in the way too much. I can’t remember.
    As for that folder, I don’t know what it could be. I would try to zip it up (right+click and compress it) to essentially delete it. See if both iPhotos work OK. Then set it aside and delete it later once you are sure it doesn’t have anything you need.

      Ian Cooke
      2/24/10 @ 8:22 am

      I found out what the folder was. DUH! Fixed that. The iPhoto library file is on the NAS, as well as the actual photos, so they are not in the cloud (internet, I assume you mean). They were in the cloud, using dropbox, but, as you said, the performance was way too slow. I don’t want to use sharing, as you can’t make changes, etc., from the MacBook. I want to have full access and capability from the MacBook, just like the Mac Mini. I think that I get that when I put the Library file on the NAS and have both units look to it for their database. Thoughts? By the way, I listen to your show daily, and I like the idea of daily tips, as they are short and I can listen to them on my drive to work.

      Suggestion: how about 1 show a week about up and coming product, or rumors, or dispelling rumors, etc. That would be cool.

        2/24/10 @ 8:26 am

        I think the idea of using an NAS sounds good to me. Just make sure you also back it up to some other place — it is easy to forget to backup something on the NAS as opposed to your local drive. And our photos tend to be the most valuable pieces of data we own, especially if they are family photos, you know?

          2/24/10 @ 8:28 am

          BTW, I’ve been thinking about doing a longer format podcast. Do you remember MacMost Review? The problem is that I would want to collaborate like I did with that show.

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