How to access your old iPhoto library without iPhoto

Here’s how to access an individual photo from an old iPhoto library without having to upgrade the entire iPhoto library.

Recently I was trying to access some photo’s from my Mum’s iPhoto library. It was on her time machine backup. I didn’t have access to her computer.

My computer doesn’t have iPhoto, it has the newer Photos app. When I tried to open the iPhoto library with the newer Photos App, it wanted to upgrade the entire iPhoto library. Thankfully there’s a way to access the photos directly without using iPhoto. Watch the video or read on!

If you go to your computer’s home directory, there is a folder called ‘Pictures.’ This is where Apple stores all of your photos.

If you have ever used iPhoto, then in the ‘Pictures’ folder there will be a file called ‘iPhoto Library’.  It appears as one file. If you were to click it, it would try to open in iPhoto, or Photos.  

Instead of clicking, hold down the control key while you click, and you will see an option called ‘Show Package Contents.’

Click on this to bring up a menu of extra options.

Now you will see all kinds of files.

Find the one called ‘Originals’ and click on it.

Now you will see a new folder with a lot of folders named by year. In here are your photos.

Click on a year, then a month, and you will see all the pictures from your iPhoto library from that month. You can then open the photos one by one, copy them somewhere else, or do what you like with each picture.

The photos are arranged in folders under the years and months they were taken.

Can’t find the iPhoto files folder?

If you can’t find the right folder, open the Apple Photos app, go to ‘settings’, ‘general’, and under ‘Library Location’ it should show where your photos are stored.


80 responses to “How to access your old iPhoto library without iPhoto”

  1. Mich

    Thank you!!! EVERYONE needs to know this. I searched on and off for yours in fear that I had lost all my old photos. Amazing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Exit mobile version