I have two Macs: an iMac (20-inch Early 2008) with Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5 and a MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) with OS X Yosemite 10.10.3.
Both computers back up to a 2TB Time Capsule.
I need to copy all of my photos from the iMac to the MacBook Pro.
I tried this by copying the iPhoto library file located in the Pictures Folder on the iMac to the Pictures Folder on the MacBook Pro. It doesn't copy over entirely: photos and thumbnails are missing among other things.

I believe the that having different versions of OS X may be the cause of this. What can I do to correctly migrate my pictures?

  • Compare the iPhoto library on your iMac to the one on the MacBook to be sure that they are the same. If they are not, the issue may be data corruption or a problem on the file transfer; this is a whole other situation Jul 7, 2015 at 17:24

1 Answer 1


OS X 10.10.3 introduced the Photos app, which replaces iPhoto. You have to copy your old iPhoto library and migrate it to the new Photos app, not just move it to the Pictures folder.

Check your iPhoto version on the iMac, if it is older than 8.0 (<=7.0) you have to use the iPhoto Library Upgrader

If not, or after upgrading it, you can follow Apple's instructions:

To migrate another photo library manually:

  1. Quit Photos.
  2. Hold down the Option key and open Photos.
  3. Select the library you want to open.
  4. If the library you want isn’t listed, click Other Library. Navigate to the library you want and click Open.

You can also drag the library you’d like to open to the Photos icon in the Dock. Or you can click Create New to create an all-new, empty library. Photos can use libraries from iPhoto 8.0 or later and any version of Aperture.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .