iPhoto Library Manager > Help > What can and can't be copied

What can and can't be copied

Due to technical limitations with iPhoto, not every type of item in an iPhoto library can be copied to another library. The table below summarized what can and can't be copied in each version of iPhoto, with more details explanations of each item below. This applies to copying albums and events between libraries via drag and drop, merging libraries, and rebuilding a library.


iPhoto Library Manager requires iPhoto 8.1.2 or later to be installed in order to copy photos. Photos can be copied from libraries that come from iPhoto 7 or earlier, but those older libraries are effectively "read-only", so you cannot copy any new photos into an older library.



iPhoto 7 or earlier

iPhoto 8

iPhoto 9

Photos with basic metadata (rating, keywords, date, description, title, hidden, flagged)

Yes (read-only)

Yes

Yes

Modified versions of photos paired with originals

Yes (read-only)

Yes

Yes

Individual photo edits (e.g. cropping, filters, color adjustments, etc.)

Yes (read-only)

Yes

Yes

Places data

n/a

Yes

Yes

Faces data

n/a

Yes

Yes

Regular albums

Yes (read-only)

Yes

Yes

Folder albums

Yes (read-only)

Yes

Yes

Smart albums

Yes (read-only)

Yes

Yes

Events

Yes (read-only)

Yes

Yes

Keepsake items (books, slideshows, etc.)

No

No

No

Facebook/Flickr galleries

No

No

iPhoto auto-syncs


Photos with basic metadata: Photos can obviously be copied from one library to another. In addition, iPhoto Library Manager will also copy each photo's keywords, rating, description, title, and date over to the new library. This includes all photos formats, including RAW photos and movie files.

Modified versions of photos paired with originals: When you edit a photo, iPhoto keeps a copy of the original photo around, allowing you to revert your changes and go back to the original version of the photo. iPhoto Library Manager will copy both the modified and original versions of each photo, so that you can use the "Revert to Original" command in the destination library just like you could in the original library.

Individual photo edits: When you edit a photo using only iPhoto, it keeps track of the series of edits you have done and allows you to go back and change the individual edits later. For example, if you perform a saturation adjustment, iPhoto remembers the saturation level and lets you readjust it independently later on, even if you've performed other edits. If you are running iPhoto 8.0 or later, iPhoto Library Manager will transfer this list of edits along with the photo, so you can change individual edits in the destination library just like in the original library

Places data: In Photo 8.0 and later, you can assign geographic locations to your photos within iPhoto. iPhoto Library Manager will transfer all place information along with the photos when performing a copy between libraries. Exception: if you are copying photos from an iPhoto 9 library to an iPhoto 8 library, then custom places created in the "Manage My Places" window in iPhoto will not be transferred (latitude/longitude information for each photos will still be copied though).

Faces data: iPhoto 8.0 and later will automatically detect people's faces in your photos and allow you to assign names to them. iPhoto Library Manager will copy this information between libraries along with your photos.

Regular albums: When copying albums between libraries, a new album with the same name will be created in the destination library, and all the same photos that were in the album in the original library will be added into the newly created album.

Folder albums: In supported versions, if you have albums organized into folders in the iPhoto album list, those folder albums and their hierarchy will be recreated in the destination library. In iPhoto versions where this isn't supported, any regular albums contained in folders will be created in a flat list in iPhoto.

Smart albums: Smart albums will be recreated in the destination library with the same set of rules as in the original library. Exception: if you are copying between an iPhoto 9 library and a library of an earlier version of iPhoto, smart albums cannot be recreated when doing so.

Events: When copying photos between libraries, events will be recreated in the destination library with the same photos as they contained in the original library. Each event's name, date, description, and key photo will also be preserved.

Keepsake items: These items cannot be copied between iPhoto libraries.

MobileMe galleries: These cannot be directly copied between libraries, but iPhoto will automatically sync galleries from the MobileMe server back to your iPhoto library. You can read about this in more detail on this help page.

Facebook/Flickr galleries: These cannot be directly copied between libraries. In iPhoto 9 (but not iPhoto 8), iPhoto will automatically sync these galleries similarly to what is done with MobileMe galleries.


Aperture libraries

Starting with iPhoto 9.3, Apple added support for iPhoto opening libraries created by Aperture, and vice versa. iPhoto Library Manager does support performing copying/merging/rebuilding operations with Aperture libraries, as well as finding and eliminating duplicate photos. However, only those types of items which are directly supported in iPhoto itself can be copied between libraries, and any Aperture-only items are not supported. Unsupported items include:


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