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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

PowerPhotos merges Photos 1.1 libraries

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

Merging libraries in PowerPhotos

Because I wrote a book about Photos for Mac, a user group in Chicago asked me to give them a presentation about Photos, which I did earlier this week.1 At the end of the presentation, someone asked about merging the contents of multiple Libraries together, and I had to give them the bad news: There’s just no way to do it.

Less than two hours later, there was an email in my inbox from Fat Cat Software, makers of the go-to utility for merging iPhoto libraries (as well as a bunch of other iPhoto-related stuff), iPhoto Library Manager. Fat Cat has a similar utility for Photos, PowerPhotos, but due to the limitations of the Photos app itself, it wasn’t able to merge libraries together.

It turns out that a lot of those limitations of Photos were erased with version 1.1, released with OS X El Capitan. Now PowerPhotos has been updated to version 1.1, and it has added support for merging multiple Photos libraries together into one. (It’s got a bunch of other useful features, including the ability to detect and remove duplicates and to view the contents of a library as a list.)

There are some limitations, however. The merge feature can bring in the edited version of your photo, or the original, but not both; and manually assigned locations, faces, and projects aren’t supported. Still, it’s progress. And Fat Cat has simplified the connection between PowerPhotos and iPhoto Library Manager—a single $30 license works with both apps. (Users of iPhoto Library Manager 3 can upgrade for $15.)

Despite the limitations of this new approach, it’s good to know that there’s finally a way to merge the contents of two libraries together, short of dragging all the images into the Finder, changing libraries, and then dragging them back in.

Now you know, Chicago.

  1. Alas, via Skype, meaning that I was not able to partake of the city’s hot dogs or deep-dish pizza. 

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