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Mike, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 2186
Experience:  Apple trained Technician, A+ Certified, 20+ years of Mac support, repairs, training, and consulting
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Im trying to move a large iPhoto library from and old laptop

Customer Question

I'm trying to move a large iPhoto library from and old laptop to a new one. Id like to retain my albums and ratings. There are approx 10,000 photos to move. When I follow Apple instrucitons, it says it needs 26 hours to copy over, and when it's atout 1.6 GB into the transfer, it encounters a photo that causes an error, and stops the transfer. Can I split up the library and move it in smaller chunks? What do you suggest?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.

I see what is wrong.

You don't want to import them over the Firewire or Network. Too many issues with that.

What you want to do is simply copy the Library over to the new Mac. Then Import it from the new Mac into iPhoto.

And even faster... before you do the copy, you can compress the Library and then un-compress it in the new Mac.

Here's how...
Click once on the old Library that you want to copy.
Go to the File Menu and choose Compress "xxx" (the library name will be there)
It will immediately start compressing the Library.

When it is finished, it will be smaller, so a shorter copy time.

When it finishes copying over to the new Mac, then double-click on it and it will uncompress. Now you can delete the Zip file or, keep it on an external drive as a backup snapshot of your Library.

Now, move that Library into the Pictures folder, replacing the one that iPhoto created.

Open iPhoto and it should tell you it needs to update the Library. Let it.

When done, no importing will be needed, all your stuff will be intact and iPhot should be OK.

I would try to still find that photo if there was ny indication from before what it was. No sense letting it damage a good set of photos.