Our Mac is broken and we are contemplating not replacing it. One need we can't see a solution is replacing an iPhoto library with many 10 G of photos. Obviously we'd need to go for the 64 GB iPad if we wanted lots of pictures.

Most of our pictures are in the 5 megapixel range (JPG between 2 and 4.5 MB each) and we expect to have between 5 and 10 thousand pictures to start.

Can I just move an entire iPhoto library to an iPad? I'm looking for experience people have had managing a non-trivial amount of photos entirely from iOS. Obviously, we may need to still get a compute, but I wondered how "PC free" we might be able to be at this point in iOS and with apps that are available in late 2012.

  • Was that edit where you wanted to take this question? You can revert it or make subsequent changes if not. Just click the edit button... – bmike Dec 1 '12 at 14:36

There are numerous hard drives that will work with the iPad. Some wireless, others via USB (with the camera connection kit). The lightening port is a whole other thing if you end up with the 4th gen iPad, though there might be a workaround.

Here's a 1TB wired solution from HyperDrive

Here's a 500gb wireless solution from Seagate


If you are seriously contemplating moving from a PC to an iPad just for photo management, I would recommend a 128GB or 256GB iPad Pro along with an iCloud Storage plan of 200GB for $2.99/month or 2TB for $9.99/month (USA Prices, other countries may differ) if you plan on adding tons of photos later, especially if you take tons of photos from your iPhones.

This will not only allow you to move over all of your photos successfully without having to worry about space and securing your photos. This also gives you plenty of storage for other PC and iPad related content such as files and documents along with apps, games, music, videos and books.

Even if you go for the 64GB version instead, always make sure that regardless of which size you pick, that you are backing up your iPad and that you have the photos saved on iCloud as well since anything could happen to the iPad.`


An iPad can hold photos and can "work on" (crop, touch up, etc) photos with the appropriate software installed. iPads come with storage capacities of 16, 32, or 64 GB, some of which is devoted to system software. If you wanted to devote your iPad entirely to photos, it still could not come close to holding a 100GB library.

  • One could imagine the the photos on an USB drive, or on the network – Olav Nov 30 '12 at 23:04
  • One could imagine that, but the question asked about moving the photos to an iPad. – Daniel Nov 30 '12 at 23:06
  • First the must be possible to move (perhaps convert) to the library without losing information (i do not know if a conversion is necessary, so move is the most appropriate question). If that is possible, I must think about the size. – Olav Nov 30 '12 at 23:23

No an iPhoto for Mac Library cannot be moved to an iPad. It requires OS X to run, not iOS.

  • I actually have migrated entire iPhoto libraries from Mac to iPhoto on iOS using iTunes. You are correct that you can't just drop it directly and need iTunes to do the placement - either into the Photos app or a purchased app. – bmike Nov 30 '12 at 23:31
  • Did that migration include the added metadata - faces, places, keywords, et al - as well as the edit history? And the ability to revert to original? – terrydev Dec 1 '12 at 9:12
  • The migration is good and specifically to your points - Yes, Yes, Yes, ? and partially. Edits made on iOS go to edited and have revert controls. I don't think a photo from iPhoto that was edited sends over the original but instead sends over the edited version. For most that stick with iPhoto on the Mac, iPhoto for iOS is fully capable as a total replacement. People that are sticklers for photo editing usually go for Aperture or Lightroom or another and might find it lacking for their only tool. – bmike Dec 1 '12 at 14:30

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