How to merge iPhoto and Photo libraries on a Mac

Christoph Stork’s photo libraries are overflowing. He owns a MacBook Pro with a 750GB drive, but has an iPhoto library that weighs in at 190GB and a Photos library that takes up 250GB. His drive is almost full and he’s not sure how to proceed.

How can I know whether the pictures in the iPhoto library are also in the Photos library? How can I move a portion of the older images away while keeping the last few years on the laptop?

If you followed the steps to import your iPhoto library into Photos whenever you started using Photos, all of the library’s full-resolution images weren’t duplicated. Instead, Apple chose to use “hard linking,” which Jason Snell explained back in April 2015. Instead of creating a copy of the iPhoto media, hard links just allow the same file to be linked in two or more places. Unlike an alias, which has a special icon and just points to another file, the hard link reference looks and acts exactly like it is a file.

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How to troubleshoot a swollen Photos cache folder

Michael McKissack writes in with a great mystery:

I have a massive Photos library and use iCloud Photo Library stored on an external HD to maintain a local backup of all pictures. However, my wife and I use a large number of shared albums to share our pictures with each other, and these keep eating up space on my MacBook Pro in My MacBook Pro keeps filling up, rendering Photos completely unusable.

You’re not alone in experiencing this! And it’s definitely a loose thread in how Apple manages photo storage. The ~/Library/Containers/ folder is a cache, not part of your Photos library. It’s used both for temporary storage, as images are synced and transferred to your library, and as local storage for shared iCloud images.

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How to get rid of useless email addresses in your Contacts

Chris Jennings has a Contacts problem that makes no sense to him:

I wanted to send my friend Steve an email with Siri. At first, Siri kept sending it to a non- existent email address. Not sure how this is happening, though I have pushed the button before to update contacts from Facebook; I’ve never seen these entries in anyone’s contact card.

My best guess is that Chris is suffering from outdated information for contacts imported from Facebook. From 2012 to 2014, Facebook offered its users an incoming email address that dropped missives into Facebook Messages. It thought the better of that in 2014, and stopped creating new addresses, while forwarding existing incoming emails to the primary email address someone had registered with Facebook. (I should note that people didn’t ask for a Facebook email address, nor did they ask Facebook to forward to their registered address; both options could be disabled.)

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How to reach an Apple base station from outside your local network

Reader Philipp Englin has an Apple Time Capsule, and he’d like to be able to access its internal hard drive when he’s away from his network. He know there’s an option to share the internal disk—and with a Time Capsule or AirPort Extreme, any external disks—but the checkbox doesn’t appear for him.

I realized that if I set my router mode under Network to DHCP and NAT from the current Off (Bridge Mode), then the Share Disks over WAN option will appear. Major problem: the Internet no longer works when I do that.

Philipp has a FiOS connection that requires that he use its supplied modem to feed his internet service. And what he wants to do is perfectly reasonable, but it’s hard to accomplish without making some sort of change.

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How to undelete and re-delete mail in iOS

An iOS hidden feature surprised P.M. Wright. She had deleted an email in iOS and a pop-up appeared that asked if she wanted to “Undo Trash.” She’d never seen it before, and wondered what precise action it would accomplish—undo the deletion of all her deleted email? And where does deleted email wind up and for how long?

A series of excellent questions that all involve implicit behavior that average users aren’t required to learn about and Apple doesn’t fully expose, because it’s not typically necessary to understand.

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Shake your iOS device in many apps and an undo option appears.

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How to change your login screen in macOS (and change it back)

Wesley Parker Sprayue made a very bad decision. Very bad.

As a joke, I made my macOS desktop background the Windows XP background; little did I know that changed my sign-in screen as well. So I reverted it back to something better but my sign-in screen still shows this screen. It’s very ugly. And I can’t figure out a way to revert back to the default background or change it to any other picture.

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Wesley, Wesley, Wesley. You see where such hijinks land you.

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How to retain images in Photos when turning off iCloud Photo Library

Erin Giunta is ready to give iCloud Photo Library the heave-ho, but wants to be sure their photos aren’t lost.

I’m confused about what would happen if I turn off iCloud Photo Library on my phone, and not use it on the Cloud. Will my Photos app on the computer still retain all 12,000 of my photos? Do these photos live locally on my hard drive?

It depends! And macOS should prompt you in case you make a decision that would result in you losing images somehow.

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