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  • http://www.facebook.com/martin.j.cowling Martin J Cowling


  • Joanna_silver

    Hi there,
    your instructions are very helpful for a mac / dropbox novice. Except that when I drag the iphoto library across into Dropbox, it vanishes from my Pictures file which is rather scary. I dragged it back and started again. This time, I copied the iphoto library and pasted it in but got a message that there was not enough space in the folder despite that I have over 40gb left and my iphoto library is only 36gb. It took 30 hours to back up and when I checked it, my iphoto library had not synced. So I did it all again, and the same happened. And now it is telling me that it is indexing the files .. again… Would welcome any help you can give
    many thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/samueltlogan88 Samuel Logan

    Hi there. I have an iMac, MBP, and iPhone. I want to be able to edit photos on any of these devices and have it show the edited version on the other devices. Both iPhoto libraries are over 40gb so Dropbox is out of the question. I am considering buying a few terabyte external harddrive that is wifi ready.

    Does this make sense: If i combine all photos into one iPhoto, put it on my own cloud, and access it from a remote computer with iPhoto, my photos will show up, up to date?

    • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

      Hmm… online storage would be best since your photos would probably sync over the air from your MBP to your iPhone etc. But, you should be able to an external hard drive as the base for your iPhoto library – when you sync your iPhone with iTunes it’ll sync up the albums anyway.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dondegroovily Brian Schend

    Wouldn’t it be way easier to just tell dropbox to make your photos directory part of your dropbox?

  • Whitney

    do you have any recommendations on how to use Dropbox to backup a large photo archive that you cannot fit on your laptop? I have oodles of gigs of photos that can’t live on my laptop hardrive. However, it seems like dropbox doesn’t play nice nice with external hard drives.

    • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

      Kind of yeah. You can synchronise the photos to dropbox and then use the “selective sync” feature so that those photos live on dropbox only. That way they won’t sync back down to your computer, but you know they’re safe. Does that help?

      • kirstenmichelle

        Disregard…I figured it out. :O)

        “How does one use “selective sync”?”

        • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

          Hi kirstenmichelle

          I’m using a Mac, but should be much the same for Windows. Go to Preferences in Dropbox, then in the Advanced area, click on “Change Settings” under Selective Sync. Then just choose what folders you want to have appear on you computer (ticked). Everything else will live on the Dropbox website.

          • Shawn

            Does that mean those photos would then be “moved” to Dropbox and no longer take up hard drive space on one’s computer?

          • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

            Yes, which also means that iPhoto wouldn’t able to load them. You would still be able to browse them on the dropbox.com site.

          • Rick Jabronsky

            Hi, I’m really a rookie here – how did you get to that preferences screen shown above?

          • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

            Like this…

          • Wei Liu

            Excuse me, now the version is updated to 2.10.41. I can’t find the “advanced” option when clicking into the “Preferences”.

            By the way, I have similar problems as Whitney told. Because the format of external hard drive, the 300GB iphoto library can’t move easily to the other hard drive as backup. I would like to know is there any suggestion to use dropbox to backup the fat library which can’t live on my MPBR?

  • Jordan
    • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

      Ahh… ok, so my post above is a way to backup the iPhoto library using Dropbox. The post you’ve linked to explains how to do away with iPhoto altogether and just store photos in Dropbox. Does that make sense?

  • ryano

    Hi, thanks for the tip, works well! Does this allow you to open the same iPhoto Libary from 2 different computers? What if 2 computers access it at the same time? How about 1 PC and 1 Mac? Appreciate that you may not know the answers to this, just checking!

    • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

      Hi @disqus_lJum9KOKyY:disqus. I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t be able to share the iPhoto library with 2 or more Mac’s provided they’re not using it at the same time and that Dropbox finishes sync’ing before iPhoto is opened anywhere else. I can’t see this working across a PC and Mac though – iPhoto isn’t available for PC, is it?

  • Ryano

    Hi me again,

    Just a warning when using this. Your iPhoto library will use lot more space on Dropbox than you expect, because it contains some symlinks. Dropbox makes a new copy of every file under a symlink. The solution is to delete the symlinks in your iPhoto library folder.

    Dropbox Support sent me this link on how to do this:

    • http://blog.abstractedge.com Scott Paley

      But why does it do this? Are there reasons it would be a bad idea to delete these folders?

      • http://blog.abstractedge.com Scott Paley

        In fact, doing a little more research, it seems like the images themselves are stored in those folders. So why wouldn’t you want/need them synched to Dropbox?

        • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

          I agree @spaley:disqus. I think only if space is becoming an issue should you consider deleting these folders.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.ritter.5661 Michael Ritter

    So, would this process work with Apple’s Aperture as well?

  • Alejandro

    Hi there, it seems perfect. What I need to know before doing such thing is if I add 2 photos to my library, would dropbox sync again my 40gb library? Or would just update for the the 2 photos i added? I don’t want to upload 40gb to dropbox and find out it syncs the complete 40gb each time i make a modification on my library.

    • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

      Hi @3bef646ffb639146394cd6bca1d3bfc4:disqus
      Dropbox will only sync what has changed. The library “file” is really just another folder, so only the 2 new photos and any updates to the index files will be synced, not the full 40GB library.

  • Ric Steinberger

    I get this approach, though haven’t applied it yet. I’m wondering if there is a parallel approach that would free up the photo memory space on the iPhone but still provide a Photo-like App that could access the photos stored in Dropbox (and understand the albums and events and other meta data).

  • JMF

    Hi – I’m a bit late to this post but maybe you could answer a question for me… I followed your instructions but it appears as though dropbox only copied 5.6 MB of my photos rather than the entire 1.58GB. Any idea why? Thanks!

  • Afishyfish

    When I copied everything to dropbox all my pictures disappeared from iPhoto! How can I copy everything back to iPhoto?

    • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

      I think that iPhoto just needs to be told where the photo library is. Next time you want to open iPhoto hold down the OPTION key and open the app. Keep holding down OPTION and you should be asked to choose a photo library to open. Go find the iPhoto library you moved to Dropbox and choose that.

  • confused3

    My macbook air can’t sustain the size of my iPhoto library. I am thinking of getting a mac mini, and putting the iPhoto library there onto dropbox. Two questions:
    -If for whatever unlikely reason the server that dropbox uses fails, are the photos still stored on the Mac mini? For extra security can you back up dropbox to an external hard drive?
    -If I want to access the iPhoto library through my macbook how can I do that? I Will have to use selective sync as the whole library is too big to sync with the macbook. So can I open iPhoto library on the macbook via dropbox on the internet vs synced on the hard drive of my macbook. Does this make sense?

    • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

      1. Yes. Dropbox sync’s what is on you computer. So even if the dropbox service disappears, whatever is on your computer (mac mini) will still be there.
      2. Hmm… If you don’t sync the photos down to your macbook then iPhoto won’t be able to load them. You will still be able to look at your photos though, just by using a web browser and logging into your dropbox account on the web.

  • Christie Black Berlin

    I moved my library over to dropbox after a disasterous hard drive fail…however, some photos in iphoto show as the dreaded exclamation mark when opened, but I can open them in dropbox??? what the heck, and the exclamation mark photos cannot be used in imovie…what did I do wrong?

    • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

      I think the exclamation means that iPhoto has lost a reference to the source image. From memory there’s a menu option to “locate missing photos” or something similar.

  • Vero

    Hi, not sure if this discussion is still open but I have a question about this. When your photos are copied over to Dropbox, do they stay in their albums in the same order? Do they keep their original date attached to the photo (date pic was taken and not date photo was moved to Dropbox?).

    • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

      Hi Vero. Yes, everything stays as it is inside iPhoto. At least it did when I made the switch. It’s been great!

      • Neil

        Hey Jeremy,

        With new iPhoto Version 9.5.1

        Do you still need to view package contents and then remove then delete Delete the “Originals”, “Modified”, “Data”, and “Data.noindex?

        Is removing those folders for the purpose of avoid the larger iPhoto lib w/ symlinks?


  • Rick Jabronsky

    Thanks for the tips. If I do this process and then want to sell my imac should i just uninstall dropbox and then the new buyer can’t access the photos? Or do I have to delete the photos on the computer – wouldn’t that also delete them in dropbox?

    • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

      HI @rickjabronsky:disqus ! If you sell your Mac, first uninstall dropbox. That will disable any sync’ing going on, but leave the folders in tact. Then you can either just delete the iPhoto Library or re-install OSX.

      • Neil

        Hi Jeremy !

        Is this required for the most up to date version of iPhoto 9.5.1 ?

        Do I still need to delete the originals folder etc?

        Or has new iPhoto fixed that problem?

  • Sara Mae

    This is awesome, but I’m a little confused. Moved my entire iPhoto library over to Dropbox, and now I’ve installed the Dropbox app on my iPhone. But how do I actually view the pictures on my iPhone through the Dropbox app? All I see are a bunch of weird files and a TON of pictures in the “Data” folder, including “Faces” files from iPhoto.

    • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

      Yep, that’s it. You can find the photos, but the iPhoto Library is designed to be compatible with iPhoto on your mac.

  • Jero

    those this work with google drive?

    • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

      There’s no reason why it wouldn’t.

  • Wayne Donaldson

    This is really really bad advice. If you have a large iPhoto collection, say 20GB, then everytime you make a change to your photo collection, the entire iPhoto database needs uploaded. So if you add photos everyday, that’s 140GB worth of uploading you need to do that week.
    Syncing iPhoto to any cloud service is very very difficult due to the fact that your iPhoto collection is essentially 1 file.

    • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

      The iPhoto Library “file” is actually a folder that contains a lot of individual files, including every single photo and their thumbnails. Making a change to a photo in iPhoto means only that single photo (and any catalog updates) are update in Dropbox. It won’t resync the entire iPhoto library.

      • 3000ways

        i totally understand what you are saying, but this has not been my experience. Any small change I make to my iPhoto library leads to HOURS of synching time. How is this possible?

        • Blobone

          I have the same issue. I add one photo and drop box wants to sync entire iphoto file which in my case is 300gb.
          Does anyone have a solution to this please

          • Vogod

            Have you resolve this problem? :(

      • Rehan Haque

        this is incorrect. I thought this would be the case, but as I have experienced, making even a slight change causes dropbox to recognise the entire package as altered and tries to upload it. perhaps something to do with the fact that its a package rather then a folder?

    • Amy

      I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I moved my iPhoto library to dropbox and I regret it because it has totally slowed down my machine due to the constant syncing. Any advice? Of course, the goal is to keep my library backed up.

      • Wayne Donaldson

        Just use iCloud storage now.

  • Matt Biswanger

    I would like to eliminate some if not all of my photos from my Mac book as the HD is practically full. I see this as a great option for backing up my photos which I want to do anyways, but could I move my iphoto library to an external HD as well as using this option for cloud backup? Would this involve splitting my Iphoto library? Would drop box support multiple iphoto libraries?

    • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

      Dropbox could support multiple iPhoto libraries. But if you’re running out of space on your hard drive then Dropbox might not be the solution for you. You could use the external hard drive and then open iPhoto by double-clicking on the iPhoto Library file on the hard drive.

  • Iowastate21

    Pre-warning…I am a novice when it comes to computers/dropbox etc. I need to move my iphoto library to an external source because it is taking up so much space. Previously, I moved photo folders from iphoto to an external drive, but in doing so, they are no longer visible to view from facebook. If I transfer my entire iphoto library to dropbox and use it from dropbox, will my photos still show up in facebook? Thanks so much in advance.

  • Allie

    Hi Jeremy,

    I’m hoping you’re still answering questions about this topic. I need to free up space on my MacBook Pro HD and am considering moving my photos out of the HD and into Dropbox, but I want my iPhoto to continue to look/be arranged as it is now. It sounds like the drag & drop that you describe in this article would be doing just that…or are you saying that will copy/duplicate the files over rather than move them off the HD?

    So if the photos are moved off the HD & into Dropbox only, will iPhoto follow the new file path & continue to look/act the same as before the move (w/photo albums, events, etc. intact)? Or are you saying that the photos have to ALSO be on the HD for that to be the case?

    Thanks for your help!


    • Alexandre Mclean

      Hi Allie,
      moving files to a service like Dropbox will not offload the space on your HD. It is actually not moving but copying files around.

      Dropbox will make a folder appear on your HD that will auto-sync on the internet, but it still requires to have a full copy on disk taking traditional space.

  • AbidjanHannah

    Great – thanks, very helpful

  • grouty85

    hello, I was wondering (and I’m not sure if this is a stupid question or not) – with moving your iphoto library to dropbox, does it then save you space on your mac? Or would you need to selective sync the iphoto library after so that you don’t have a copy on your dropbox and on your drive?

    • http://www.cloudproductivity.net/ Jeremy Roberts

      It doesn’t remove the photos from your mac. What it does is back them up to the Dropbox for disaster recovery, or if moving to a new mac.

  • Chris

    On my iPhone 5 I see drop box and it says I have 88 photos I open it up to look at photos I delete 2 I close app but now it says I have 80 photos. What? I deleted 2 not 8. I go back in and look I don’t click on any photos close app now it says 75. Why? I’m scared to go in now

  • http://www.joeyo.org/ Joey O’Connor

    My MacBook Pro is maxed out on HD storage primarily because of 10,000 photos and videos on iphoto. I have one terabyte of storage on Dropbox, but by reading several of the comments below, it sounds like Dropbox will just copy the photos/videos and they still have to stay locally on my drive.

    What do you suggest other than putting all this photo/video content on an external drive? I have also deleted a bunch of storage-heavy applications.

    I appreciate any insights/ideas anyone has…thanks!

    • Irene Dionis Gray

      Did you ever get a solution?

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