Even more Photos for OS X questions, answered

Christopher Breen
12 February, 2015
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Photos-os-x-macworld-australiaIt seems that even after you offer a first look at Photos, suggestions for ways to prepare your iPhoto library for Photos and field a number of Photos questions, people have more on their minds. Let’s get to it.

Combining libraries

A number of us probably have multiple libraries to minimise the iPhoto slow-downs. If what I read about Photos is correct, it will alleviate much of that sluggishness and allow working with much larger libraries. What is (are) the best way(s) of combining the individual libraries in order to have one consolidated library for use with the new app?

Chris Guild

You can certainly copy images out of one library and into another, but that’s not the same thing as combining multiple libraries as you lose album associations and so on. In a case like this I would turn to a tool designed for such a task – Fat Cat Software’s US$30 iPhoto Library Manager. Among its many talents is the ability to merge iPhoto libraries.

iphoto merged

You can use iPhoto Library Manager to merge multiple iPhoto libraries.


Photos and time

I have used iPhoto’s Events to construct many (hundreds) of scanned/restored photos (plus digital photos) by date and year, dating back to the 1800s. Will Photos respect this organisation with its version of events? Will there still be the ability to batch change the dates so that scanned photos flow in date order? 

Bob Reed

As I’ve explained elsewhere, Photos doesn’t have events. Rather, imported events appear as albums. Despite the new name, Photos will indeed support the previous organisational scheme. When you double-click on the iPhone Events album you’ll see collections of images, gathered together by date.

And yes, you can batch change dates. Just select the images you want to edit and choose Image > Adjust Date and Time. In the resulting sheet you can change the date, time and time zone. When you export those images to other apps, those time changes will be respected.

time adjust

Yes, batch changing date and time is supported in Photos.


Photos and plug-ins

I believe at the keynote Apple said that Photos would allow third party plugins, have we seen anything of this yet?

Trevor Sims

We have not, though you’re correct that Apple has said that Photos would be open to third-party extensions. Should this come to pass, some people’s complaints about the lack of truly professional features may be addressed.

Facing Faces

Can faces be moved over from Aperture and continued in Photos? We have years of grandkids’ faces we view as precious time lapse.


They can. When you import an Aperture library face identification information comes along for the ride. When you select Faces either in the toolbar or sidebar, you’ll see any faces you’ve tagged.

faces in photos

You won't lose face(s) when importing an Aperture library.

Deleting your iPhoto library

Once all my photos have been copied over to the new app Photos can I then delete the iPhoto library and not lose any photos?


I tested this by importing an iPhoto library, which created a Photos library. I then deleted the iPhoto library and, sure enough, the images remained.

No iCloud required

I’ve read a couple of your columns about the beta version but it’s not clear to me whether or not one has to store their photos in iCloud. I do not want to do this and want to keep them stored locally on my Mac. Is this going to be possible?

John Karr

Yes. As I spelled out in my first look, you needn’t use iCloud at all. You can store all your images locally. Or you can choose to continue using Photo Stream, which shares your images with other devices linked to your Apple ID, but not also use iCloud Photo Library.

photos icloud options

If you disable the iCloud Photo Library option, your images will not be stored on the cloud.




2 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Peter says:

    Faces was a great addition to iPhoto but unfortunately it never worked for all of our family members; Harry our Golden Retriever and Chelsea our Burmese cat. Is “face” recognition technology today good enough to dicern whiskers?

  2. Belinda says:

    So….I scanned thousands of family photos on a PC and put if folders and subfolders. Then PC crashed. Thankfully all backed up. So we decided to purchase macbook pro, and when we transferred over to Mac, the photos went all out of whack.All folders, Subfolders lost combined into one big blah.
    So deleted and just moved photos over as pictures folders where they remain on desktop in folders and subfolders.
    Have just one event in iphotos which was a holiday I wanted to geotag, which I have done.
    Questions are:
    1- should I duplicate this, rename and put back out of iphotos to normal pictures folders on desktop where photos are from PC still in folders and sub folders? Will it keep keep geotag.

    2- leave in IPhoto and continue to put photos in IPhoto in events that I want to geotag, then edit later when Photos is out?

    3 – when moving folders and sub folders made on PC will the Album (now Event) keep subfolder structure from old PC and as is now on desktop, or will it do what old Events did and just disregard subfolders putting all in date order and all in one album, meaning I then have to go through arduous task of sub foldering again.

    So frustrating. Have illness, and need to get this organised for family. One of my biggest wishes as don’t know how long I will be around.


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