Is it possible to change a package directory into an ordinary directory, and how?


I was copying an old iPhoto library to my "~/Pictures" folder from an external drive, but I somehow made a mistake as only the subdirectories of the iPhoto library were copied over.

I tried making a new ".photolibrary" directory and moving the subdirectories into that, but the system still thinks that my Pictures folder is a ".photolibrary" directory. It comes up as a "package" rather than as a folder now, meaning I can only access it throught the command line or by choosing "show package contents" in Finder.

Also, when I tried renaming the new photolibrary to be the same as the old one, I get an error message saying that there already exists a directory with that name, even though there doesn't. I'm guessing the Pictures folder/package somehow comes up as having the name of my old photolibrary after I copied it over.


I am using OSX version 10.9, so I don't think SIP applies.

ls -dle@ ~/Pictures 
drwxrwxrwx@ 131 User  staff  4454 19 Jun 01:37 /Users/User/Pictures
com.apple.FinderInfo      32
com.apple.quarantine      21
0: group:everyone deny delete

This is what comes up when I do "get info" on my Pictures folder:

enter image description here

  • I see two thing wrong with the Pictures Info sheet, one its shown as a package and Open with: Terminal, neither of which should even be there. What's the output of the following command in Terminal: ls -dle@ ~/Pictures – user3439894 Jun 19 '16 at 13:21

Using answer space to provide pictures...

Get Info on both your Pictures & Photos Library directories, make sure they are named as below, Pictures & Photos Library.photoslibrary
Also check whether the extension is hidden for only the Library & whether something managed to rename it with a double extension .photoslibrary.photoslibrary - which has been known to happen.

enter image description here

The Pictures directory ought to be protected by SIP & not allow you to change it. Post a comment below if the Pictures naming is wrong & you need to change it.
Photos Library can be renamed at will [though Photos.app may lose it until you tell it where to look]

To look inside the package, you can just right click it & Show Package Contents, however, the .photoslibrary structure can be toggled between a regular folder & package by adding/removing the .photoslibrary extension then rebooting.

Post a comment if I missed anything & I'll tweak my answer.

  • This looks a good answer. :-) – Danijel-James W Jun 19 '16 at 5:46
  • You said, "The Pictures directory ought to be protected by SIP" and while you answered before the OP edit showing OS X 10.9, which of course doesn't use SIP, nonetheless even in SIP enabled version of OS X SIP has nothing to do with the User's Picture Folder. See About System Integrity Protection on your Mac to see what's covered by SIP. That said, the Picture Folder does have an ACL applied: 0: group:everyone deny delete – user3439894 Jun 19 '16 at 12:47
  • @user3439894 - sure - it was never really meant to be a fully-qualified answer, I just wanted to be able to see the difference between what ought to be & what actually was. Thanks for the heads-up on how the Pics folder is actually protected, by ACL, I wasn't aware of that - my nix knowledge is still a little rudimentary, but I'm learning... :) – Tetsujin Jun 19 '16 at 15:40

Here's an apple discussions page where another user has the same problem: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2586142?tstart=0

This problem is due to the fact that OS X has what's called a "bundle bit" that determines whether a folder is a bundle or not.


The ~/Pictures folder is showing two extended attributes it shouldn't have, com.apple.FinderInfo which is probably holding the bundle bit and com.apple.quarantine. In a Terminal use the following commands to remove both extended attributes that shouldn't be there.

xattr -d com.apple.FinderInfo ~/Pictures
xattr -d com.apple.quarantine ~/Pictures

No need to deal with Developer Tools at this point as removing the extended attributes with xattr, which is already a part of OS X, will do the job.

Note that the reason I said "which is probably holding the bundle bit" because without seeing the output of xattr -l ~/Pictures to compare, then under the circumstances I'm logically assuming that's the info being held.

In any case the ~/Pictures folder should not have any extended attributes set and, aside from the normally expected output, only the ACL of 0: group:everyone deny delete is appropriate output of ls -dle@ ~/Pictures I asked for.

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