Oct 212014

iPhoto App is disabled in iOS 8In case you haven’t heard, iPhoto is going away. Apple is putting all your photos into one basket called simply, “Photos.”  It will no longer be offering either of its current photo management tools, iPhoto or Aperture. The iPhoto App on the iPad is already disabled if you upgraded to iOS 8. The Macintosh version will wait till sometime next year when OSX Yosemite is released. I can’t find any information on whether you will still be able to use the iPhoto you currently have, or whether it will stop working like on the iPad. Of course, Apple is providing a migration path to its Photos app and, with full integration of iCloud Photo Library, I expect that this is going to be a very good option. It sounds a lot like Google+ Photos actually, especially the Auto Backup part!

I recommend following this procedure now just to be sure that your pictures are not held hostage by iPhoto. You see, iPhoto keeps all your pictures in its proprietary library structure. If you look at your Mac’s folders and files (using Finder,) you will only see one – very large – file for your iPhoto LIbrary. All your pictures are inside that ‘package’ and you can only view them using iPhoto. Picasa, on the other hand is not a container for your photos. It is a tool for viewing, organizing, and editing that works with the individual .jpg files in your computer’s filing system. So, this process of “migrating from iPhoto to Picasa” is really just copying all the pictures out of your iPhoto library and putting them into folders where Picasa – or any other program that works with .jpg files – can see them.

If you’ve been thinking about using Picasa, the announced end of iPhoto gives you the reason to do that now.  Picasa for Mac provides the tools to do the work quite easily. This video shows you the process: (please note the comment by Michele below – make sure to check that all your pictures did, indeed, get imported. If not, use iPhoto’s export function)

This tip, and the whole website PicasaGeeks.com are brought to you by Geeks on Tour. We’ve been teaching Picasa since 2004 and have nearly 100 tutorial videos available in our Learning Library.

  23 Responses to “Migrate your iPhoto Library to Picasa Now”

  1. Do NOT do this. What the heck was Google thinking? It scatters your photos into a thousand different completely random subfolders with no rhyme or reason..You would think when you have an Event called Mother’s Day in iPhoto with all photos being taken on the same exact day that Picasa would important them into a folder called “Mother’s Day”. NOPE. Instead you’ll get folders with a random date name and then every photo will get scattered into random subfolders called %mARz2anQGSVo4X7HEhYcA or +Chz97IhSbVLldJW7hbPkA etc etc. Picture hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of these completely randomly named folders. You get the point. So again do NOT ever allow Picasa to directly import from iPhoto. It doesn’t know how to. It doesn’t work.

    If you want to convert from iPhoto to Picasa you need to export each Event one by one into properly named folders and then import those folders into Picasa. That is the only way period. If you really want you can have Picasa do it for you but don’t say you haven’t been warned about what will happen.

  2. Oh Google what have you done?
    So good on windows did all I needed.
    Now I have a Mac as well as a Windows machine and when I explored Photos I opted out. It took my files and folders and created a shambles of the filing system it took me forever to create.
    It didn’t have the same editing tools but proclaimed to be so great.
    Now I am lost. Google fix the program for goodness sake.

  3. As an avid macbookpro user migrating to Picasa, my impressions is that Picasa is a disaster, google just have no sense of user interface. Despite the fact that Picasa ui looks lime windows 95, Picasa for Mac just isn’t developed enough. Apple just have the total package done right. Google always seem to have a similar thing or better just made complicated.

  4. The instructions in the video didn’t work for me. From within Picasa I click File > Import from iPhoto, but this just creates a link to my iPhoto library – it does not move any files. When I right click on a photo and use “Reveal in Finder” it just takes me back to my iPhoto folder mess. Did I miss something?

  5. That’s a little misleading. iPhoto is not “going away”. Apple is merging features from their professional photo editor Aperature and their consumer-friendly iPhoto product into a mid-tier product that that they are simply calling “Photos”. It’s not a new product, per se, as it retains most of the look, feel, and usability of iPhoto that people are familiar with. But it’s not a simple renaming either. It includes many new features taken from Aperature. The removal of “i” in the product name is consistent with Apple’s slow departure from that nomenclature styling.

    The idea that your photos in iPhoto are “held hostage” is strongly worded and not quite in line with reality. You could make the same argument about Gmail, Google+ Photos, Gcal, and dozens of Google products, as well as other services by Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook. As long as you can safely export your data with all your metadata intact, none of these services are holding your data “hostage”. In fact, in terms of privacy, Apple is the industry leader, so when it comes to their upcoming integration of iCloud storage and the new photo library, users will have more security than Google – or at least equivalent.

    Lastly, there are few functions that Picasa performs that iPhoto does not. And it’s considerably slower on a Mac. Additionally, once you install Google software on your Mac you open a veritable “porthole” to some of your life (don’t get me started on Chrome). Read the TOS. Moreover, why install duplicate software? Is it really THAT much better, or are we just really picky people with too much free time on our hands? The web is full of forums whining about Mac hard drives being full, yet you get incredibly great software free when you buy a Mac. But people go and install more software that does the same thing, is not nearly as well-integrated into other apps in the O/S, and in some cases, costs more money. Rarely do they run as fast as the native Mac apps. With the proliferation of flash-based storage (which while much faster, is pricier, and as a result most people buy less storage than a typical hard drive), installing duplicate apps, which then go on to create more metadata, database indexes, and use reporting bandwidth of your usage, seems to me to be something that should not be done lightheartedly.

    I’m not a Mac Addict; I have a few Chromebooks. But make no mistake that Google is in the “give us your data business so we can show advertisements to you”; it’s 90% of their income. Apple isn’t in that business. Neither way is wrong, per se, but if anyone thinks Picasa is just some really cool free photo manager with no installation implications, and that Apple iPhoto is “going away” and holding their precious photo collections “hostage”, they would be seriously misinformed.

  6. Hi Chris,

    Thank goodness i found your link. You’ve been a great help!
    Btw, one question, once i transfer all the pics from iPhoto to Picasa, does that mean there i’ve double storage of same pics within my iMac? how do i remove all the photos in iPhoto to clean up my storage? Pls advise. Thanks a lot!

    Arnie (Singapore)

    • Hi Chris,

      Oops.. more questions… if i import from iPhoto, does it mean that i can’t reshuffle the photos into different folders? How do i shift the photos from iPhoto store (space) into other folders so that i can organise them accordingly? Once again, thank you!


  7. I use Picasa to edit , organize and share all my photos. I recently purchased a Mac and am having difficulty understanding how they work together . Normally Picasa pulls my folders with their names but now its pulling with numbers and separating the folders. I have tried to sort and resort but I think I have really messed everything up. Please help.

    thank you

    • When you import, check and see if the second box – labeled “Folder Title” – is set to Date Taken yyyymmdd. You don’t want that. Click the dropdown arrow beside yymmdd and choose “Enter Folder Title”
      Maybe iPhoto is grabbing the photos instead of Picasa, then Picasa is just viewing the iPhoto library “events” which do show up as numbers.

  8. Thank you very much for the video and info. I’ve been wanting to ditch iPhoto for a while now and you’ve pointed me in the right direction. Can I just confirm that when you import from iPhoto, Picasa creates another copy in a different folder to the proprietary iPhoto one? So I can safely delete the iPhoto folder (once I’ve checked) and uninstall iPhoto?

  9. I think the Picasa ‘import from iPhoto” feature needs preliminary considerations: how much disk space is available on your computer?
    Part of the process I follow in this case is when I move photos out of iPhoto, I actually make sure I have enough room for those photos on the hard drive (usually double the space of the iPhoto library) and then I move the iPhoto library on to two separate external hard drives in case I need to bring it back at another time.
    If you don’t have enough hard drive space for this move (remember that Apple’s OSX requires 20% free space ALWAYS; that is COMPLETELY free space), then you want to consider a ‘shell game’ kind of thing moving other things like movies and documents off the machine to external drives before importing the photos to Picasa.
    The other thing is the power saving features. This import to Picasa is probably better off when you have the machine plugged in, the lid open, and the power saving feature to never fall asleep. Another really important aspect of external drives is to get one that uses the fastest port. Firewire 800 is three times faster the Firewire 400, and Firewire 400 is faster than USB 2.0. USB 3.0 is fastest of all.When copying 100GB file, this can be the difference between four hours or 15 minutes.

  10. My macbook storage is filling up fast. This copying of the photos so Picasa can see/manipulate them will use a ton of storage. Right? I am assuming it will. Anyway, can I then delete them from iPhoto so that I have more storage back?

    • Yes, this does create another copy, therefore uses more storage. you can then delete the iPhoto copy, but please don’t do that until you are satisfied that they successfully made it out of iPhoto and you can see them in Picasa.

  11. CAUTION about using the import from iPhoto option in Picasa. I used this on mine and my husband’s imac, and thought everything worked until I looked at the number of photos Picasa actually imported. I have 12,077 photos in my iphoto database, and Picasa only imported 360 photos! Picasa only imported less than 300 of his photos. I don’t know why Picasa didn’t import all photos, but make sure that all of your photos imported before getting rid of them in iPhoto! In addition, Picasa created strange, meaningless folders when it imported my pictures from iPhoto.

    A better option — use iPhoto’s export function. It will export all photos (use the subfolder format option to create a folder for each event). You can specify where you want your exported folders to be placed (I put them on my external picture drive where the rest of my Picasa folders are). When you open Picasa, it will automatically recognize the new pictures in their event folders with no ‘imported from iPhoto’ collection name. If you want to identify them as photos exported from iPhoto, just create an iPhoto export folder in your pictures folder and export them to that folder from iPhoto.

    Thanks for the tips on Picasa, I’ve just started using it in earnest and am, for the most part, happy with it’s ease of use.

    • Good to know Michele! I don’t really use iPhoto on my Mac – so I was working with just a small sample set of photos. I will add your comments to the article.

  12. Mmmm – maybe not quite as straightforward as this. I have a Mac but have always disliked iPhoto so eventually decided to go back to Picasa (used to use it in my pre-Mac days). When I imported all my iPhoto library into Picasa, it did pull in all the photos but not with any of the Event names – the imported pictures have numbers that mean nothing and are organised in no recognisable way – the only way to identify what is in each photo is to actually open it. I had a lot of photos in iPhoto and cannot now spend the time sorting them all out again in Picasa so, unfortunately, it’s back to iPhoto and wait to see what Apple comes up with.

    • I have the same situation as Geoff. And not only are the photos identified by the long number, which I
      now recognize as year, month and day, but they ‘re also out of order, almost scrambled; and they cannot be edited. I think I have made a big mistake. In pre-Mac days, I, too, used Picasa and was never truly happy with iPhoto. The sooner I can get back to Picasa in a “functional” manner, the happier I’ll be, But what do you think should I do now? And how do I do it?

  13. I am a PC, Win 7, long time Picasa user. I am playing with icloud Photo Library – I dont think that is what you are referring to in this article. Do you you think there will be a time when Picasa can READ from icloud photo library (IPL). Right now IPL is kind of a viewer only – no tags, no search, no editing…not sure why I would put my pix there. Your thoughts>

    • Jon, Actually, it looks to me like the new iCloud photo library will automatically synchronize with your Windows PC – the pictures will be in a PIctures/iCloud Photos folder. So, it’s already done! they are showing up in PIcasa!

  14. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I did not know how to do this….As you know I have never been fond of iPhoto but have a lot of pictures there. Whopeeeee!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.