I'm doing a bit of a disk cleanup, and was surprised to find that my iPhoto library was a whopping 83gig. From what I understand iPhoto keeps a jpeg copy of each RAW photo in your library (but I could be wrong).

A lot of this space is because the images are in RAW format.

Is there a way to either:

  • easily convert the raw photos to jpeg and remove the raw image file
  • remove the raw files and keep iPhoto's Jpeg version.

It would be awesome if this was a built in iPhoto feature, or a free app which does a little clean up for you. I have no need for the RAW files, but I don't want to lose the jpeg version.

  • 1
    I don't know a direct answer to your question, I'm pretty sure iPhoto can do it, but I'm not 100% sure. That said, keep your RAWs. If you ever need to make any adjustments (contrast, exposure, color balance etc) the result will be much better using RAW images. You lose data when you convert to jpeg, the RAW has all of the data that the camera captured.
    – skarface
    Mar 31, 2011 at 15:26

3 Answers 3


No there isn't. Pretty much the point of iPhoto is that it treats the original file as a "digital negative" and the non-destructive editing feature is based on that. So, iPhoto (and Aperture) never perform any operations on the Original, only on a copy.

It doesn't make multiple versions, tho. There's only one edited version.

What you can do: Export the Edited Versions. Delete the photos from iPhoto. Re-import the edited versions. You'll lose a lot - not least the ability to edit non-destructively - but if that's what you want.

A better solution is to use an app that does what you want - that is, edit the pics directly.

You know that you can store an entire iPhoto Library on a disk formatted Mac OS Extended (Journaled)?


Make a smart album that shows only RAW images, select the ones you want to delete, and make a new Event from the selection. This will move them to the new event. You can now delete the event, and your RAW images are gone.

If you want to make sure you actually have made JPG's of the images, then do the above, but flag them instead of making a new event. Go back to your library and compare the flagged ones to the ones you want to keep. Use some method to mark ones to keep, removing the flags, star them, tag them, whatever works. Update your RAW smart album to ignore the RAW files that have whatever you used to mark ones to keep.

Before doing all this.. Make a backup ;-)

  • This does not selected the JPEG+RAW images. Aug 13, 2018 at 19:49

I ended up doing this by issuing the command find . -name '*.NEF*' -exec mv {} /Volumes/Data/raw-backups/ \; in my iPhoto library "folder". It seems to work for me.

NOTE: My iPhoto Library was moved in a nonstandard location (Google Drive) - so that might affect things. With the default location, you might break your iPhoto Library

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