For about a year now I've been using the Photos app my MacBook Pro (OS X El Capitan 10.11.5). Before Photos, I used iPhoto for a couple of years. I only started using Photos once it shipped with newer OS X installations.

I'm out of space and, looking at my disk usage, I see that iPhoto is consuming almost 80 while Photos is consuming 15 gigs. The Optimize Mac Storage setting is enabled in Photos. That could mean it is only downloading 15 gigs worth of media, and that would explain the usage difference between iPhoto and Photos. It could also be that not all photos from iPhoto have made it to the cloud. Is that likely? I think all media should be imported entirely once I installed Photos, but I don't want to risk it.

Can I safely remove iPhoto from my computer or its library at least?

Disk usage

  • I would suggest reviewing the contents before deleting to make sure that you don't lose any important information. Even if the setting is on Optimise Mac Storage such a compression is unlikely to be achieved without visible quality loss. The iPhoto Library is just your personal media so it would do no harm to delete it provided that you are certain that all the photos you want to keep are available in the Photos Library.
    – Krasimir
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 15:26

1 Answer 1


I was just on the phone with Apple tier-two support, and I asked the same question.

The agent's response was yes, both the iPhoto app and the iPhoto library can be safely deleted, if you're confident you've migrated all media to the newer Photos app.

I've done so, and I've seen no trouble on my Mac nor iPhone.

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