Getting your pictures out of iPhoto

iPhoto, like most Apple products, is great…as long as you only use other Apple products. But once you want to upload a photo using your web browser or copy your library to a non-Mac computer, things get difficult. Apple puts unnecessary roadblocks in your way. This quick post is simply intended to cover two things I learned trying to get my photos off my Mac.

Backup your iPhoto library on a non-Mac

HFS+ stores metadata in the file system in a way that isn’t transferable to a non-Apple FS like FAT32 or Ext. In order to backup your iPhoto library (~/Pictures/iPhoto Library):

  1. Create a disk image using Disk Utility
    • Make it the same size (or just a little larger) as your library.
  2. Mount the image
  3. Copy your library into the image
  4. Unmount
  5. Copy the .dmg file to your backup computer

Export your photos without losing event data

This method will unfortunately lose other meta data like people tagged by iPhoto face recognition. However, you will at least be able to get your photos out in their original form organized by date and event.

  1. Browse to ~/Pictures
  2. Right-click (Ctrl-click) on your iPhoto Library and choose “Show Package Contents”
  3. Look in the “originals” folder
  4. Copy your photos

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