Sharing iPhoto Libraries

September 9, 2011, By Christian Cawley

The popular iLife Mac app iPhoto is a great way to store and share images from a phone or digital camera, and comes with various options for doing this. Providing a photo management interface and a few editing options, you can use this software to tag and generally organize your pictures, making them easier to find and display.

As great as iPhoto is, however, it isn’t perfect; there is at least one unusual quirk in the application that can prevent you from purchasing a picture book of your images, something that should be possible via your Apple account. This is a shame as creating a photo book is a great way of sharing your iPhoto snaps.

Fortunately, though, iPhoto is certainly flexible. Even if you run two Macs there is a way to share photos between each computer without having to worry about transferring vast quantities of data every time you want to check your digital snaps.

Sharing iPhoto Libraries

I Can’t Buy My Photo Book!

When using iPhoto you are able to organize your snaps into a photo book which can then be purchased. This results in your Apple account being charged for the service of creating a physical book of photos which are sent to you via post. In some cases, however, this doesn’t happen. Instead, the book fails to create properly, resulting in no photos being added to it – basically a blank book that costs nothing is the result.

You might want to check your Apple account to make sure that your credit card details are up to date, but in most cases the problem is caused by a file on your Mac rather than a lack of payment options.

To resolve this, close iPhoto and then open your Home folder and find the Library/Preferences directory. Here, identify com.apple.WebFoundations.plist and delete the file. When you restart iPhoto you should find that you can now create a photo book.

Sharing iPhoto Library Between Macs

Printing your photos is a good way of sharing them with others, but if your collection is too big for a book of snaps you might prefer to share them electronically.

For instance, you might have a Mac at home and one in your office and want to take advantage of sharing your photo library between your machines. This isn’t ideal, however, as the iPhoto library isn’t designed for sharing in this way.

The best way is to copy the entire iPhoto library to a portable external drive and always access it from here, at least for the duration of your project. Rather than opening iPhoto first (which will result in the creation of a blank library) you should open your library from the external disk so that it launches iPhoto, enabling you to then manage the photos on the disk.

This will help you to avoid problems with the different versions of your iPhoto library getting out of sync, as well as saving time on overwriting the original data every time you swap computers.

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