IPhoto (Mac)

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iPhoto is a software application made by Apple Inc. exclusively for their Mac operating system.

Basically, here are some of the things users can do with iPhoto:

  • Opens automatically when digital photos are downloaded from the camera, displaying the downloaded images. No second, third, or fourth steps required.
  • Edit photos in a number of ways, including removing red-eye with the click of a button and cropping.
  • Create custom books choosing a theme, specific photos, and text. (User's can also order professionally-bound copies of their "book".)
  • Organize photographs into digital albums for easy retrieval similar to the ability to create play lists in iTunes.
  • It can even automatically recognize places and faces!!
  • Automatically create a full-screen slide show, including music, that can be e-mailed to friends.
  • Create your own greeting cards and post-cards for special occasions.

Basic Operation of iPhoto


You can check your preference to copy photos to iPhoto Library here.

When you import photos from your hard disk, you can choose to have iPhoto make copies of your originals for use in iPhoto or just point to the original files. Go to menu iPhoto->Preferences.

When you import photos from a camera, iPhoto always makes a copy for use in iPhoto.

When iPhoto makes a copy of the file, it will be placed inside the iPhoto Library. That file cannot be easily extracted from that special "folder." If you want or need to keep the original file separate, you will want to store it on your hard drive in a separate folder or in an external storage.

If the original photo is a separate file on your hard drive, iPhoto will point to it and use it without changing it. Even your edits to it--for example, cropping it--will not change the original.

WARNING:Always use the iPhoto application to import photos into your photo library. Do not drag photos directly into the iPhoto Library folder on your computer’s hard disk. This can result in lost or damaged photos.

Organizing the Photos in the iPhoto Library

Iphoto interface.png
  • When photos are imported they are automatically grouped into an "Event" which is dated based on the date of the original file. In this way your photographs will be automatically dated according to the when they were created.
Each "event" can be labeled. For example, "Jamie and Kyle's Wedding." Or the group can be split into multiple events, when the camera contains shots from more than one event.
  • When the photos are imported they are also automatically listed in the category "Photos." The content here, by the way, can include video segments in as well as images. And the images can be any graphic file.
  • The automatic categories in your iPhoto Library--Faces and Places--are added functionalities of iPhoto. You can use the information dialog for each file to identify the photos with a person's face or a geographical location. iPhoto will sort these once they are identified and will also try to automatically identify other photos where that person's face appear.
NOTE: there is only one instance of the file in the iPhoto Library. The photo will show up as a "photo" and in an "event" and can be categorized with more than one face or place. But still there is only one photo instance. If you delete the item as a photo or as an item in an Event, however, it will be deleted everywhere.

Using Photo Albums and Other Tools

Photo Albums are also just ways to organize your photos, and are not additional copies of your photos. You can add a photo to several photo albums--or delete a photo from a photo album--and there is still just one instance in your library.

As long as you keep a copy in your list of photos, you can have as many versions as you want in as many photo albums as you want.

At the bottom of the window there is a row of options you can choose to process your photos in several ways.

You can create:

  • Slide Shows
  • Calendars for a little as $20
  • Print Hardcover books for as little as $30
  • Print Greeting Cards for as little as $2


  • Publish an album to Facebook
  • e-mail photos
  • and more


Iphoto edit menu.png
You can perform several basic edits to photographs:
  • Remove red-eye
  • Crop
  • Apply an effect like sepia or blurred edges
  • Modify color, tone, sharpness, brightness, and contrast
  • And more...

If modify or edit a photo, the photo will be changed throughout your iPhoto Library--even in unrelated other albums.

If you want to keep the original image, then first "Duplicate" it. Use your right-mouse menu or choose Photos>Duplicate.

If you make a change to a photo and you want to revert to the original, use your right-mouse menu or choose Photos>Revert to Original.

Remember: if you have a kept a separate original file on your hard drive, that is untouched by any changes made in your iPhoto program.


iPhoto will generate on-screen slideshows which can also be projected by the display port to a projector, TV or other monitor.

The first time you use Slideshow on the Bottom Menu Slideshow button iphoto.png you will open the menu on screen for setting up your slide show. See below.

After you have initially set up the slide show. You may access these menus again with the pop-up controls which appear with the slide show.

Popup iphoto slideshow.png

The iPhoto slideshow has three tabbed menus to choose from:

  • Transition and Appearances ("Themes")
  • Music
  • Presentation ("Settings")

Transition and AppearancesMusic Presentation

Backing Up Your iPhoto Library

  1. If you have iPhoto open, quit the application.
  2. Locate your iPhoto Library. To do so, go to your home directory (#1 in image)and select Pictures (#2 in image)to locate you iPhoto Library(#3 in image: 400Px
  3. Copy (drag and drop) the iPhoto Library to storage, such as an external hard drive.
Additional Resources for Backing-Up:
Move Your iPhoto 09 Library
Rebuilding the iPhoto Library (6 and later)

Restoring Your iPhoto Library

  1. Open the iPhoto application on your new laptop.
  2. Close the iPhoto application on your new laptop. These first two steps create an iPhoto library on your new laptop.
  3. Locate the existing iPhoto Library on your new laptop:
    IPhoto Locating Library.png
  4. Replace the existing iPhoto with the iPhoto Library you backed-up or copied. Complete this step by moving the iPhoto library from the external device or storage space to your new laptop.
  5. When replacing the iPhoto Library, you will be prompted to select replace: center‎
  6. Your photos should now be uploaded to iPhoto when you open the application.

Our Internal Help Pages for iPhoto (Mac) Include

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Other Resources

For official Apple help on using iPhoto: Click Here!

For Apple Tutorials (videos) on using iPhoto: Go to Here!