How Can I Merge Several Different iPhoto Libraries Together? [Ask MacRx]

Merge iPhoto Libraries

Longtime Mac users often have pictures scattered across several different machines in multiple iPhoto libraries. Sometimes it’s nice to merge everything together when upgrading to a new machine:

I saw your MacRx article on Consolidating Your iPhoto Library and Removing Duplicates. How would you recommend I consolidate several different libraries? I have my first iPhoto library on my vintage Mac Mini. I have a 2nd iPhoto library on a laptop. My third library is on my new iMac. I want everything on the new iMac. What is the best way to attack this? – Deb

Hi Deb,

I recommend iPhoto Library Manager. That will let you merge photos from the different libraries into one, either all items or selected rolls/events/albums. You can copy all files to the new iMac first, or access them directly from the individual machines.

You may have some duplicates depending on how the different libraries were originally created, so do as much pruning ahead of time as you can. You can then merge events and de-duplicate as noted in the article.

Thanks! I’ll try iPhoto Library Manager. Any tips on how to best move the files (iPhoto data plus other files) from the other Macs to my new iMac?

Several ways. You can either (1) boot the old Macs in FireWire Target Disk Mode, (2) copy the old libraries to an external hard drive and import from there, or (3) enable filesharing on the old Macs and access each from the new Mac over your network.

Related
  • Mrcjones

    Is there something like this for iTunes. I have duplicate libraries and countless dupes of song all on thymes same iMac. It’s killing my hard drive.

  • Dustin Driese

    @21084c4cb7b7c8ce17befc0148c06380:disqus, I haven’t used it personally, but I have heard good things about TuneUp:  http://www.tuneupmedia.com/.

  • Funkygmacman

    The same company that make iPhoto Library manager also makes a program called PowerTunes that I believe will do what you need.

About the author

Adam RosenAdam Rosen is an Apple certified IT consultant specializing in Macintosh systems new and old. He lives in Boston with two cats and too many possessions. In addition to membership in the Cult of Mac, Adam has written for Low End Mac and is curator of the Vintage Mac Museum. He also enjoys a good libation.

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