How to Move Your Older iPhoto Libraries Into the macOS Photos App

  • MORE

If you've got old iPhoto Libraries lying around — archives of photos that haven't been merged with your Apple Photos collection — you don't need to leave them behind. All you need is enough iCloud storage to keep them all, and a little time.


I discovered this method after being dissatisfied with my photo collection missing years and years of snapshots. The process makes sense, as you're simply adding images to the overall library, because turning off sync on your laptop doesn't mean you're removing any photos.

MORE: How to Download Your Photos From iCloud

First off, check out your iCloud usage by opening Settings and looking at the meter at the bottom of the screen. If the free space exceeds the size of the iPhoto libraries you're adding, you should be in the clear.

1. Click on the Apple icon in the top left corner.step 1

2. Select System Preferences.step 2

3. Click iCloud.step 3

4. Uncheck Photos. When prompted, you can opt to delete the existing photos if you want to clear space.step 4

5. Hit Command + Q to quit Photos.

6. Hold Option while opening Photos.step 6 3205851512143238

7. Select an iPhoto Library and click Choose Library.step 7

Allow the Library to sync. This can take a while, so if you've got things to do away from your Mac, set your machine to not go to sleep (System Preferences > Display > Screen to Never).

9. Click Photos.step 9

10. Click Preferences.step 10

11. Click Use as System Photo Library.step 11

12. Click iCloud.step 12

13. Check the box next to iCloud Photo Library.step 13

Wait for the sync to finish updating. Again, this may take a while if your library is as large as mine were.

drop in

Congrats, you've merged your photo libraries!

Author Bio
Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey,
After graduating from Bard College a B.A. in Literature, Henry T. Casey worked in publishing and product development at Rizzoli and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, respectively. Henry joined Tom's Guide and LAPTOP having written for The Content Strategist, Tech Radar and Patek Philippe International Magazine. He divides his free time between going to live concerts, listening to too many podcasts, and mastering his cold brew coffee process. Content rules everything around him.
Henry T. Casey, on