I am planning on backing up my pictures

When I got to ~/Pictures it shows 168.57GB Size and then two libraries iPhoto and photos as shown below.

Pictures Folder Size Individual Library Size

I thought these were just links so total of all my pictures should be just around approx 90GB but not 168.57.

So now if I backup ~/Pictures to an external Drive is it going to consume 168.57GB and have duplicates?

Please suggest if I am thinking incorrectly.

  • 1
    Yes, it is a hard link, which means they aren't physically taking up the same space, but copying it, and viewing the folder size appears to show them separately. You can delete the old migrated iPhoto library. Commented May 11, 2016 at 3:49
  • i am worried that my iPhoto might have some pics that never got into my photos so still want to keep that to be on safe side. I just moved them to my google drive which is synching both iPhoto and photos. Now when they do sync on my windows machine, Would it show as two folders with 168GB Size or it will not have duplicates at all
    – SeanClt
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 3:53
  • 1
    If you sync them to windows, the hard links will probably be lost & the data size will then be actual. On the Mac the real used data size is not what Finder claims, as it doesn't follow the hard links when estimating sizes, so it will always appear to be larger than it really is. I think Time Machine would get it right.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 6:36

1 Answer 1


The image files (the jpgs) exist only once but are hard linked into both libraries. As the Finder doesn't have an (easy) way to identify the hard linking, calculating folder size on ~/Pictures counts these files twice.

Hard links work within one disk volume only, so if you copy data to a Cloud drive or to Windows, you will end up having two seperate files (and really use 168 GB in your case).

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