I have a very large iPhoto library and a part of it is old and doesn't have to be modified. To distinguish this part from my whole iPhoto library I will name it "2000_archive". The version of iPhoto I'm using today is iPhoto ’11.

I would like to access and protect this 2000_archive. I want to avoid any modification I could made and wouldn't detect immediatly so as to undo it. This is the kind of event which happens regularly on huge documents which don't provide a clear modification status. iPhoto doesn't provide such a clear modification status.

My iPhoto library is already backed up by Time Machine and some folders of it are already exported on DVD.

The key function I'm looking after is a library I can select occasionally and open but on which any modification will be blocked. I want a read only separated iPhoto library. Hence the term of archive here.

  1. How may I make a separate iPhoto library of this 2000_archive (I'm here talking of a few hundreds folders)?
  2. How may I make a read only archive of this separate iPhoto library 2000_archive?
  • → George: thank you for your attempt to improve my OQ. For your information, my use of code formatting wasn't confused with emphasis. I use it to mark code or reserved words of a language. For example I would write photo or photo but iPhoto because this is a reserved word. This could be of the utmost importance with words like Pages which can't be a ®.
    – dan
    Aug 22, 2014 at 13:25

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately iPhoto refuses to open library files you have no write-access to. As soon as you put the file in a write-protected image/device or lock the file, iPhoto will display an error that it can't open the library.

Therefor it seems your only option is to keep one writeable, and if you're paranoid of accidental changes put a none-writeable copy somewhere else (be it any physical media or a locked file).

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