I'm new to iPhoto. Before importing any photos I unchecked the option "Copy items to the iPhoto library".

When I rotate and edit photos in iPhoto (e.g. Enhance, Straighten etc), the original photo is unchanged and iPhoto creates its own copy of the photo which it stores somewhere else.

Can I force iPhoto not to do this, and to modify the original photo?

  • Don't think so. This also happens when you select the "copy items..." option so it's probably a feature to avoid bad surprises if you want to go back to the original picture later. – nohillside Sep 4 '11 at 20:49
  • Hrm think I'll forget about using iPhoto then. Since Preview can rotate and adjust colors that's probably all I need – Matt Frear Sep 4 '11 at 22:31
  • iPhoto also stores and organizes them. It can also apply geolocation data, and identify faces. It does quite a bit actually. And non-destructive photo editing is just the way things are done nowadays. I know in Aperture, you can delete your Masters and just keep the Versions if you like, maybe this is also possible in iPhoto? – user10355 Sep 5 '11 at 5:32


iPhoto is designed to make non-destructive edits, preserving the original photo file. Overriding this feature is rather contrary to the basic nature of the program, which attempts to be careful to preserve, and never to modify the original photo files.

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