I spent a lot of time organizing my iPhoto Library with Events. Now, my events have been converted to "Folders" in the new Apple Photos system. I moved them up a level (making them Albums), and I've been using this kind of structure to keep my photos stored in different sets for several months. Now, I'd like to convert my Photo Library to a file-and-folder structure, so that I can move to a different program, such as ShotWell for Ubuntu. Unfortunately, it seems that they have been "converted" to a new Apple proprietary format (.photolibrary). Is there any way I can automate the creation of a folder structure like this:

Photos Library/Example_Album/IMG_0001.jpeg

Without losing any quality?

Here is what I tried:

  • Right-clicking onto Library and selecting "Show Package Contents": files seem to be in a wrong structure
  • Dropping all Albums from Photos to Desktop: does not export files with correct "Albums" folders
  • Downloading PhotosToDisk from here: requires a $12.95 purchase, which is not acceptable.

Help will be much appreciated!

  • 2
    .photolibrary isn't a "proprietary format," it is rather a bundle or package as you've discovered. It contains the original unaltered photos and metadata. The masters folder would have your photos, organized by date. – samh Apr 10 '16 at 17:09
  • And how would I export my files with the structure I created within the program? That information is stored in a proprietary format – Manchineel Apr 10 '16 at 17:12
  • Have you added new photos to Photos since converting? – samh Apr 10 '16 at 17:25
  • Yes. I also changed something in the albums. I can't go back to iPhoto Library. If there's no way at all, I will have to buy that program, delete the Photo Library and never use Apple software again. I'm very disappointed. – Manchineel Apr 10 '16 at 17:42
  • 2
    Nothing about Photos advertises a "folder and file" hierarchy. An album is an abstraction in Photos…a single photo can appear in multiple albums. Think about this: how much is your time worth, and how much time are you willing to spend researching this, and how good is that $13 looking? If you want to let Apple's failure to consider how you wished their software would work reason to swear off the company altogether, godspeed--it's really no difference to us. We're here for you if have any other questions. – samh Apr 11 '16 at 0:19

At the end, the only solution to this was to download Photos-to-Disk Software I mentioned above. It worked perfectly, creating the Folder Structure I needed. I recommend to do the same guys, if for some reason you have this issue.


It's already there in that form. It's just a question of finding it, and then copying it.

  1. Go to your Pictures folder

  2. In that find the Photos Library probably called "Photos 3 Library"

  3. Right click, or control click, on Photos 3 Library and pick Show Package Contents. Do not alter, move or delete anything in here.

  4. Your photo masters are all in the directory Masters in a hierarchical date structure.

  5. Right/control click on Masters to find out how big it is. You're going to need that much space.

  6. Copy the whole folder (press alt and then drag it) to somewhere outside of the library, anywhere you want.

Et voila.

  • 3
    But it's not organized in albums – Manchineel Jan 13 '17 at 20:08

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