I just bought my iPad and left it syncing overnight with a somewhat large iPhoto library (22,000+ photos). This morning I found that the sync worked just fine and the entire library is handled beautifully on the iPad. However, I just noticed that the size of the iPhoto library on my Mac has pretty much doubled.

The iPad user guide says that iTunes will make optimized copies of my photos where necessary. But is this much really necessary? Almost every photo is a jpeg from various digital cameras, no strange formats. Then there are a few dozen short videos from an iPhone or another digital camera. Everything should be viewable on the iPad just fine as it is, shouldn't it?

The new bulk of my iPhoto library is essentially filling the drive on my aging Mac. After doubling from 21GB to 43GB it has left me with less than 1GB of space. (And I'm pretty sure some of that original 21GB is also wasted in a similar manner.) Is there a way to get it to sync the library with other devices that doesn't involve doubling the library size?

  • Just to confirm a point, you still have 22,000 pictures and a larger database as opposed to 44,000 pictures and a larger database?
    – bg2011
    Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 18:09
  • @bg2011: 22,000 pictures and a larger database. Admittedly this has become less significant of an issue since I've replaced my Mac (due to other hardware failures) and now have a much larger primary hard drive. As an idle curiosity I'll look through the library's disk space when I get a chance. I've also since found a tool called DaisyDisk which will make this process a lot more productive.
    – David
    Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 18:27

1 Answer 1


You could probably do a database repair. Hold down command+alt+shift and click on iPhoto's icon to start it. You should be presented with a window and multiple commands. The rebuild database and rebuild thumbnails options should help.

I know that when you sync photos to an iOS device, photos are scaled downed then synced to the device, and these scaled down photos are stored within iPhoto's library. But it wouldn't explain the library doubling, though... strange.

Make sure you have a backup of the library before doing this operation, you never know...

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