I have both iPhoto and Photos installed on my Mac and use both independently of each other. However, whenever I launch the Photos app I get the following prompt:

enter image description here

Is there a way for me to permanently tell Photos that I never want to use iCloud with Photos? I only want to use iCloud with iPhoto and worry that one day I will accidentally pick the wrong option when the above message appears.


Yes, I know that iPhoto is old software replaced with Photos.

I have a particular library I use with iPhoto because of a number of shared albums via iCloud and because one of my Macs cannot use Photos.

I do use Photos, but only with another library I never ever ever want to use iCloud with.

I am happy to only have one library connected with iCloud and that is my iPhoto library.

I am not familiar with Terminal (quite frankly it scares me) but if I can do this with terminal, please provide very clear instructions. That’s what my bounty is for. Any answer that can achieve what I want.

Thank you!

  • Why do you insist on using deprecated software?
    – Rob
    Aug 17, 2017 at 5:21
  • @Rob Please see my updated question. It now has a bounty. Can you help?
    – user221458
    Aug 19, 2017 at 23:22
  • Not an answer, but a possible path forward - after both watching people and personally pulling hair out over the continual changes of the Photos/iPhotos/Aperture apps, I went over to Adobe Lightroom. Consequently, I am still running Lightroom 4 (technically obsolete) on an iMac and it's catalog is fully compatible with LR6. It will take some time to migrate, but it pays dividends in the long term.
    – Allan
    Aug 20, 2017 at 15:51
  • Try Option-Clicking Not Now. Sometime this can set a default.
    – sansSpoon
    Aug 24, 2017 at 1:14
  • @Allan Interesting. I will give this some thought for future.
    – user221458
    Aug 26, 2017 at 22:27

2 Answers 2


I'm going to take a step back and redefine the problem:

  1. You have an iPhoto library with active shared albums.
  2. You have a Photos library that you don't want to use iCloud with.

This is not difficult, but you need to work with the system, not go against the grain, which is what you're asking. Even if you found a command-line "solution", it would not be guaranteed to work in the future and would likely be undone with the next Photos update.

Here's what you do:

On the Mac that doesn't support Photos, you leave iPhoto. You leave your iPhoto Library intact and use as normal.

On all other Macs, use only Photos. Create a new Photos library (hold Option as you launch Photos and click "Create New") and designate that library to be the Photos System Library. This means that all Shared Albums, PhotoStream, etc. will be synced to this library, and this library only. See https://support.apple.com/kb/PH21363?locale=en_US for more information.

Other Photos libraries, which are not the Photos System Library, will show you the following when you look at Photos > Preferences > iCloud:

Photos Preferences:iCloud Tab

Now you can update your Shared Albums from any of your Macs, the one with only iPhoto or the one with Photos.

On the Mac with Photos, the only change is holding Option when you launch Photos to choose which library to use each session.

This will accomplish what you want without needing to 'hack' the system.

==== earlier answer mostly trying to understand the problem better ===

iPhoto and Photos are iCloud enabled, but only one library can be the primary iCloud-connected library. As iPhoto is deprecated, Apple is trying to nudge you along to only use Photos and get rid of iPhoto.

Photos is the replacement for iPhoto. They were never intended to both be used. In fact, in some cases, Apple would invalidate the iPhoto application to force users to only use Photos.

Since both iPhoto and Photos use things like PhotoStream and other services through iCloud, I imagine that the two programs are getting confused and they can't behave properly. Frankly, I'm surprised you're not experiencing sync'ing or other problems since you are using both.

The first time Photos appeared, it went through the process of migrating your old iPhoto library to a new Photos library, but it left the old one intact. This allows the user to double-check that the migration was successful before deleting the iPhoto library, to free up space if not for minimizing risk of confusion ("why are my photos appearing there and not here?")

So, if I may ask, are the photos in both your iPhoto Library and your Photos library more or less the same, or do you have two distinct libraries?

If the former, then I think you should move to Photos and ditch iPhoto completely, as it's no longer supported and will likely only cause further problems/confusion.

If the latter, then I suggest that you upgrade that new, distinct iPhoto Library to a Photos library for the same reason as above and use the Option-key modifier while starting Photos to choose which library you want to use each time you launch Photos. And ditch iPhoto.

The short version is that as iPhoto is deprecated, unsupported software, the longer you continue to use it, the more likely you will have problems.

  • Please see my updated question. It now has a bounty. Can you help?
    – user221458
    Aug 19, 2017 at 23:23

I only can give you this "work around": Make a second useraccount to work with Photo's or iPhoto. This way they'll never get mixed up.

  • Would be my first thought as well. But this way you will need more harddrive space for 2 libraries (In my experience, on same user account the iPhoto library and the Photos library will hardlink to the same file on the drive) Aug 24, 2017 at 8:54
  • You can set up a sim-link to the same library if you know how to. You have to start granting rights from the one user to the other to start that process.
    – Rob
    Aug 24, 2017 at 11:41
  • it might works, but it smells like desaster Aug 24, 2017 at 11:43
  • @CousinCocaine It only smells like disaster if you're unsure what you're doing or opening the same library without logging out. However, if you back-up regularly there's hardly anything to lose.
    – Rob
    Aug 24, 2017 at 12:02

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