View Full Version : corrupt iPhoto library on external drive

Jurgen S.
08-16-2009, 02:19 PM

I accidentally unplugged the external drive containing my iPhoto library while iPhoto was open. I plugged the drive back in, but the library did not reload. I re-launched iPhoto and it reverted to a blank library. It did not ask me to point to an existing library, nor did it create a new one. It simply wrote over the old one. All my photos are still within the package contents of the original library, but iPhoto treats it as empty. It appears as 7.5 mb in Finder, despite the fact that over 50 gb of photos survive within the package.

Can I get iphoto to recognize the library as it was before it became overwritten?



Jurgen S.
08-16-2009, 03:16 PM
Okay, here's an answer to my own question:

Step One: Copy the corrupted iPhoto package to another location. I copied it to a separate hard drive, and when the copy was complete Finder correctly read it as 50 gb instead of 7.5 mb.

Step Two: delete the original library.

Step Three: Open iPhoto, and it will ask to point to an existing library, or to create a new one. Because my original file became corrupted when I pointed to it the last time, this time I chose the "create new library" option, and saved it to a location different from where the newly copied library resides.

Step Four: Close iPhoto, and the delete this new (empty) library.

Step Five: Re-open iPhoto, and will again ask for a new library. This time I pointed it to the new copy of the corrupt library, and it loaded perfectly according to the way it was before the corruption.

So, I don't know if all these steps are necessary, but it seems that in copying the corrupt library to another drive the system went back to recognizing it as a 50 gb package instead of a small 7.5 mb package, suggesting that somehow the copying process fixed the corruption problem.

It's a bit of a mystery, but I'm glad to have my library back. Although the photos were safe in the corrupted library, I would have lost all my albums which have taken years to create and organize. Thank goodness for small miracles.

Hope this helps anyone experiencing a similar problem...


09-28-2010, 03:40 PM
Steps 3 and 4 are unnecessary though. No reason to bother creating a new file you're not going to use. Just do 1, 2, 5, and you'll be ok.

09-29-2010, 04:35 PM
IF you browse to the default location 'home\pictures\*' and there isn't a tiny iphoto package, that means iphoto is opening a new package from somewhere else and you need to locate it and delete it.
The easiest way I've found to locate the new package that iphoto is opening is to open iphoto, import an image, click on 'photos' on the top left, right-click (or ctrl-click) on that photo and choose 'show file'.
This will show you the location of the iphoto package that that file is within.
Close iphoto, delete the package you just located (the small new one with just the one photo).
Restart iphoto, and then you can point it to wherever you saved your big old iphoto package.