I have two Macbooks, one is running High Sierra, and one is running Sierra. My problem is, that I cannot open my Photos library with Sierra since I've opened it with High Sierra, it says that I need to update my Photos app.

Is there a way to update this app without changing the OS?


No - you'll need to restore the photo library and associated files back to a time before the migration / upgrade happened. The database schema and many other items like face recognition databases are one way forward upgrades.

If you don't have a backup, you would need to install High Sierra on an external drive - open the Photos library and then try syncing it back to iCloud (unlikely to work, but maybe try on a small library first) or export all of the photos to the filesystem and then walk away from the library.

When you go back to Sierra you'd need to make a new library and then import the photos from the filesystem. This would be a lot of work and you might have more problems with things like memories / albums / edits than the reversion to Sierra cures.

  • Thanks for your reply. I'm wondering why Photos app is not independent from the OS - each time Apple comes out with a new version, it's a nightmare to convert my ~100GB library then I don't have access for it from my older OS. – maestro Dec 19 '17 at 3:51
  • It is more and more tightly integrated with the iCloud / background daemons as time marches on. Check out camera bits photo mechanic if you want to totally divorce your photo library from the os upgrade yearly cycle. – bmike Dec 19 '17 at 4:22
  • High Sierra introduced a new file format for photos which is incompatible with previous OS's. I would guess that is the main issue. – StephenCollins Dec 19 '17 at 16:06
  • But there was an incompatibility issue between Sierra and El Capitan too, that's why I'm confused. I mean, I can accept that sometimes there are breaking changes and backward compatibility is not an option, but not in all cases :) Anyway, thanks guys for your reply! – maestro Dec 19 '17 at 16:59

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