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Change the default iPhoto library location Apps
iPhoto has a default that can be used to change the location of the photo library in a fashion similar to the way iTunes can change the location of the music library.

For iPhoto, this is of critical importance in that any image added to iPhoto is copied into the library (unlike iTunes, which simply stores a pointer to the original file). Considering what can be done with an image in the library, this makes a lot of sense -- it will make more sense once Apple supports multiple libraries in a more traditional multi-document application approach.

To change the default file store location, go to terminal and type:
  defaults write RootDirectory /path/to/desired/location
To remove the change default:
  defaults remove RootDirectory
If anyone wants to implement custom exporters and formatters, it isn't hard....

[Editor's note: Congrats to bbum for the first iPhoto tip, a mere 12 hours after its introductiion!]
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iPhoto Installer Does Nothin
Authored by: porcupine on Jan 08, '02 02:11:18AM

I downloaded iPhoto this morning and try to install but when the installer runs nothing seems to happen. Is anybody experiencing the same thing ?

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iPhoto Installer Does Nothin
Authored by: bullcreek on Jan 08, '02 07:39:27AM

Haven't seen that, but I have seen other peculiar installer behavior. Did two installations yesterday afternoon, one on my 500MHz Sawtooth, one on a (fruit-flavored) iBook. The iBook installation went as expected. On the Sawtooth, everything appeared to install OK, but none of the nifty internet services appear in the "Share" pane (that is, no Print Service, no Book Service, no Home Page service). I've inspected the package, and it looks like everything from the "Net Services" package got installed in the right places. I'm puzzled.

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iPhoto Installer Does Nothin
Authored by: Cyberspacey on Jan 08, '02 07:48:16AM

Yes, I am.

I downloaded iPhoto, double-clickedon the .dmg file which did nothing, opened the file via the Disk Copy utility which mounted an iPhoto disk on my desktop.

I admit to being a new OS X user, but ... in hunting for an installer, I find none. I try to click on the readme.rtf file and all I get is something that looks like it's opening up, and a beep. No *readme*.

Any help would be appreciated.

Best Regards,


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iPhoto Installer Does Nothin
Authored by: balthisar on Jan 08, '02 03:54:56PM

There should be an iPhoto directory in the root of the disk image. Inside is something called iPhoto.mpkg. This is NOT an application; it's an installation package that will start the Apple Installer program. THIS is what you want to install.

(okay, the name may be a little different, but it's definitely something to the effect iPhoto.mpkg, and is definitely .mpkg)

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iPhoto Installer Does Nothin
Authored by: 128K Mac on Jan 08, '02 10:47:04PM

Strange. You have 10.1.2 installed?

I double clicked on .dmg file on both G4 DP 450 and TiBook 500 and it mounted image normally. Inside image was a Package installer. I double clicked on it and went through the standard screens agreeing to license, etc. and it installed without a hitch.

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Installation Issues
Authored by: Anonymous on Jan 08, '02 10:29:21AM

(1) make sure you are running 10.1.2

(2) Do you have the BSD tools installed?

(3) get a free account at and REPORT THOSE BUGS!!!

Seriously-- (3) is key. Apple really does look at the bugs that go through the system (I have reported close to 300 and everything have eventually transitioned to some resolved state-- critical bugs are dealt with surprisingly quickly).

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Bug reporting
Authored by: robg on Jan 08, '02 11:24:10AM
I don't even think you need a free account -- you can go to the OS X feedback page and submit bugs there as well. -rob.

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Installation Issues
Authored by: 128K Mac on Jan 08, '02 10:49:29PM

Am non geek.

What are BSD tools? I have the current Developer's Tools installed (for 10.1.2). Same thing?

Just curious. Why would they need to be installed to install iPhoto?


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Installation Issues
Authored by: Anonymous on Jan 08, '02 11:14:07PM

I'm not sure if they do need to be installed, but am just trying to gather evidence one way or another.

The 'bsd tools' are all of the command line stuff outside of what is already in the core... the Unix layer. Regardless of whether or not you are ever going to drop to the command line, I would suggest installing it simply because every developer has already installed it and, therefore, testing against systems that don't have it installed is likely to be sporadic, at best.

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and for iTunes?
Authored by: tlr on Jan 08, '02 01:20:53PM

The same trick doesn't work for iTunes. Does anyone know how to change the location of the 'iTunes Music Library (2)' file that it still creates in the Documents/iTunes folder? (I already know how to change the music folder.)

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symbolic links seem to work
Authored by: j-beda on Jan 09, '02 11:39:01AM

I simply moved the library folder where I wanted it (to another drive) and then put a symbolic link of the same name (iPhoto Library) in the ~/Pictures folder.

I first tried with an alias, but that did not work.

So far iPhoto seems to operate fine with the symbolic link (created via the terminal command "ln -s", look to "man ln" for more instructions in the terminal).

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symbolic links hmm
Authored by: brodie on Jan 09, '02 07:19:09PM

can't remember for the life of me how to make a symbolic link, can someone remind/tell me,

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ln -s
Authored by: robg on Jan 10, '02 11:29:28AM
Just do:
  ln -s sourcefile targetfile

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An alternative method...
Authored by: robg on Jan 10, '02 11:37:02AM
An anonymous user submitted the following as a non-terminal method of changing iPhoto's path ... note that you'll need the Dev Tools installed to get PropertyList Editor.
It is possible to put your iPhoto Library into a different directory without opening the Terminal. In my case, I wanted the iPhoto Library in my Users/Shared folder so other users (family members) on my computer can access the same photos. You can do this by double clicking your ~/Library/Preferences/ file. This launches PropertyListEditor. Now click on the pointer to the left of the word Root to drop down all the Root options. Click any option to highlight it and click the "New Sibling" button. Name the sibling RootDirectory. Make it Class String. Finally make the value your desired pathname. In my case, I entered /Users/Shared/iPhoto Library. You must finish your pathname with "iPhoto Library" or iPhoto will be lost.
If you would rather stay away from the Terminal, this is a good alternative to the defaults command. -rob.

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iPhoto resaves photo jpeg files
Authored by: dzurn on Jan 11, '02 04:44:58AM

I thought about setting iPhoto's library to my existing (huge!) photos folder, but I decided against it.

I have a lot of raw and edited photos from my digital camera that are about 1.3 MB in size. If I let iPhoto manipulate them, then they would be re-saved with unknown compression quality. Since I want to use my photos for printing as well as web albums, I decided to let iPhoto make its "disposable" copies in its own folder, then I won't worry about damage to my digital "negatives" which are still in their original place. I'll likely continue to use Image Capture to download pictures from my camera to my regular photos folder, and only THEN let iPhoto import them.

Of course I'd love to see iPhoto upgraded so that it would only make a copy if necessary, but so far I've gotten my money's worth from the program!

Still a remarkable program, and free!

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I'm not seeing this...
Authored by: robg on Jan 13, '02 11:15:43AM

I just tried an experiment with our new camera. Using the highest resolution JPEG setting (minimal compression, 2048x1536) on the camera, a test photo downloaded into both Image Capture and iPhoto comes out at 1.3mb on the disk.

Where are you seeing additional compression?


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This command, among others
Authored by: GraphicFoxx on Jan 12, '02 12:45:48PM

Hey all, I've tried this, and I get an error. This is what I get...

OK? default write RootDirectory /Volumes/VM_Disk/iPhoto Library? yes
default: Too many arguments

I've tried another method, which says to do...

In -s/Volumes/VM_Disk/Pictures Pictures

This is the error I get with this one...

OK? ln -s/Volumes/VM_Disk/Pictures Pictures? yes
ln: illegal option -- /
Usage: ln [-fhns] file1 file2
ln [-fhns] file ... directory

So how the heck do I get this to work?

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This command, among others
Authored by: autohag on Jan 13, '02 12:00:09AM

Use defaults, not default. And make sure that your destination directory already exists (eg. iPhoto Library).

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This command, among others
Authored by: GraphicFoxx on Jan 13, '02 12:03:51PM

I do type defaults, but ends up in the error just saying default. But I'll try these new suggestions.

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This command, among others
Authored by: nagani on Jan 13, '02 10:37:59AM
The problem may be the space in your destination path. Here are a few solutions:
  • use quotes for the path string
  • type a backslash in front of the space
  • drag the destination folder from the Finder to the terminal window
    Good luck!

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  • This command, among others
    Authored by: GraphicFoxx on Jan 13, '02 12:13:40PM

    Ok, tried a combo of both your suggestions. I also changed the name of my target drive to remove a space, just calling it Data. So here's what I typed (up to RootDirectory, then dragged [drug?] my destination folder), and the resulting error, which is the same as what I got before.

    [localhost:~] graphic% defaults write RootDirectory /Volumes/Data/iPhoto Library

    OK? default write RootDirectory /Volumes/Data/iPhoto Library ? yes
    default: Too many arguments.

    Notice how I typed defaults, but when it asks for confirmation, it gets changed to default. Is that my problem? and if so, how do I change it?

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    I get the _exact_ same problem
    Authored by: LairBob on Apr 27, '02 09:09:38AM

    When I try to issue the command line using "defaults" (with an 's'), the confirmation prompt comes back using "default" (with no 's'), and then I'm told I have too many parameters.

    GraphicFoxx, it's been a couple of months since you posted this--did you ever find out a solution?

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    This command, among others
    Authored by: dittrich on Jan 14, '02 04:25:24PM

    When using

    ln -s

    you need a space after the -s. It doesn't look like you have one there....


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    Default iPhoto Library privileges
    Authored by: cinolas on Jan 13, '02 03:18:17PM

    I used the terminal to change the default location of the iPhoto Library to /Users/Shared so that my girlfriend and I share the same photo library, it worked just fine.

    My problem is that by default, when iPhoto creates a folder to put the imported pictures in, the privileges are Owner: Read and Write, Group: Read only. So if my girlfriend logs in and imports pictures, and iPhoto creates a new folder to put them in (first time of the day), I cannot import pictures in that same folder (same day) without first changing the privileges to Group: Read and Write.

    If I try to do so, iPhoto says "Cannot create User/Shared/iPhoto Library/2002/01/11/159.jpg". I then click "Stop" and iPhoto unexpectedly quits.

    I imagine that all users wanting to share an iPhoto library between users are going to experience the same problem.

    Is there a way to change the default privileges for iPhoto created folders to Owner: Read and Write and Group: Read and Write ?

    I looked into the iPhoto plist and there is no entry specifying the privileges. Maybe it is possible to add one ?


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    Who can modify shared photos?
    Authored by: markhooper on Jun 27, '02 04:35:53AM

    Apart from the problem with importing photos on the same day as your girlfriend, do you have any other problems? For instance, can you modify any photos your girlfriend imported? I have not altered my default library settings but am thinking about doing so.

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    CHANGING Default iPhoto Library privileges
    Authored by: mweymar on Dec 20, '04 01:04:51AM
    Look at Adam L. Wetzel's post here. He recommends Len Laughridge's "global umask script 'Global Umask Modification for OS X 10.2' to change these permissions to whatever you want." Good luck!

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    Easier way to Change the default iPhoto library location
    Authored by: osxdude on Dec 05, '04 01:01:17AM

    I ran out of space on my hard drive (HD), so to free up (and backup) data, I now use an external firewire hard drive to back up my pictures folder (along with the rest of th home directory). I found I still needed to free up space on the main HD so I decided to change the default location of the iPhoto Library. Apple Knowledge base does not tell you how to change it (Thanks Apple).

    1) Copy your "pictures" folder or your iPhoto folder (whatever your choice is for backing up that folder) to the external HD or another folder with a different name- this is your option. Since I was out of HD space, I copied to my external HD.
    2) **NOTE: DON'T delete until you have backed up your files & completed all these steps & verify this worked. I'm not responsible for you losing your data)** Drag the iPhoto pictures folder to the trash for now, but DO NOT empty it yet. You can always pull the folder back out.
    3) Start iPhoto.
    4) iPhoto will tell you that it is unable to locate the iPhoto Library. Select the option to locate the iPhoto Library folder then locate your duplicated iPhoto Library.
    5) That's it! No messing with the terminal and....
    6) No need to install the dev tools.

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    Easier way to Change the default iPhoto library location
    Authored by: KingShovelbum on Nov 22, '05 11:24:46AM

    Awesome easy solution! It worked great for me.

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    Change the default iPhoto library location
    Authored by: d3laws on Sep 26, '06 01:34:50AM

    Actually, holding Option when launching from Dock will allow you to set or choose any library location you want. I copied my library to the new location, held down option and opened iPhoto and chose the new location. Easy. Then I safely deleted the old folder from my hard disk.

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    Did the suggested and ...
    Authored by: helpme on Dec 06, '10 08:38:27AM

    I typed in the suggested change into Terminal:

    defaults write RootDirectory /Users/my name/Pictures

    and a new file appeared in my user file. However, I got scared when I opened iPhoto and nothing was there. I then typed the second change into Terminal, which maybe I wasn't supposed to do:

    defaults remove RootDirectory

    Now I can't figure out where all of my pictures went because when I open iPhoto, nothing is there, and I can't find the files in the new file I created which was supposed to change the location of my iPhoto Library. I fear the worst - did I just lose all of my photos in iPhoto?

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