With the new OS X Photos app released in OS X 10.10.3, is there a hard limit to the maximum number of files (either photos or videos) that the app will support? Or is there a limit to the maximum size of the library? Or are there recommended limits defined by Apple?

Basically, how well will Photos handle large libraries, and is there a certain point where it would be smart to split a library into multiple libraries?

  • This is a great question, but even if a limit was set, based on iPhoto, and what I suppose would be Apple's target audience (up to "prosumer"), I doubt that it would be capable of handling truly large libraries. A product like Lightroom would do that better. The question then comes down to at what point is the software no longer practical to use due to poor performance. That would also depend a lot on the specific computer. Just my 2¢. Commented May 2, 2015 at 20:39
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    There is no published limit or recommendations by Apple. Given that they are replacing Aperture with it, I wouldn't expect them to admit it couldn't handle large libraries like Aperture (if in fact it can't). @bassplayer7 Photos is the ground-up rewrite that has been rumored for years - I'd be surprised if it they didn't ensure it could handle large libraries.
    – tubedogg
    Commented May 3, 2015 at 20:22

2 Answers 2


My Photos library has about 60,000 photos and about 1,600 movies. The total size is about 560GB. About 30,000 photos are uploaded to iCloud and can be browsed by all my devices and desktop machines. So far no problems and interaction is fluid. With old iPhotos it was annoyingly slow to view the library in its entirety and had to split it into yearly libraries. New Photos does not seem to slow down with library size. It's face recognition is also quite a bit better.

  • Just adding a +1 here; I finally decided to drop Aperture and move to Photos, and I'm about 45,000 photos in on the migration. I've hit over 160GB of space used, and Photos still flies on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 1:30

There is no confirmed limit, according to Apple. You can add large libraries, and the only limit is your hard disk free space.

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