I imported about 2gb of photos and the resulting .photolibrary file is over 8gb, is this normal?

It might be useful to know that it was over 7,000 photos.

Can someone explain why/how the .photolibrary is over 4 times the size of the original files.

Theoretically wouldn't it save a lot of space having them as "referenced" files rather than importing directly to photos.app

It might help to know that I do not have icloud storage turned on and I am using Big Sur


  • From where were the files imported?
    – Thinkr
    May 22, 2023 at 18:38
  • The "reference files" are copied into the .photolibrary and can be seen if you "Show Package Contents..." in Finder on the .photolibrary, they are in the originals folder. I think that should match the 2GB you originally had albeit with a name chnage. What does Finder show as the sizes of other directories there?
    – mmmmmm
    May 22, 2023 at 18:40

1 Answer 1


The question was answered the Apple Discussion ".photolibrary file many times larger than original file size".

Just for anyone's information, yes the originals folder is about the same size as the original photos (1.92GB)

Then go inside the database folder and search, there is a file named Photos.sqlite-wal that is 3.2 GB.

Finally, inside the resources folder there is a folder named derivatives which is a 3.37 GB.

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