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Transferring photos from PC to a new Mac

by bgreene1 / November 13, 2009 7:53 AM PST

New Mac user here. Want to transfer all of my photos from my old PC to iPhoto. Here's the catch. My photos are currently organized into folders on my PC, and I would like to keep them that way on the new Mac (instead of tossing them into one big giant folder).

Can anyone provide step-by-step recommendations on how to do this? Thanks in advance for your help!

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Toss the into one big folder
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 13, 2009 8:43 AM PST

and let iPhoto organize them for you.

Using a thumbdrive, copy all your pictures from your PC to the Pictures folder on your mac.
Open iPhoto and allow it to import all those picture into its database.

If you do it one folder at time, you will be able to import them and arrange them at the same time.


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by bgreene1 / November 14, 2009 6:34 AM PST

Many thanks for the reply, but what I really want to do is to keep the photos organized in separate folders on the Mac. I don't want to toss them into one big folder. I prefer to have them organized into separate folders. Is there a way to do that with iPhoto? And when importing new photos from my camera, is there a way to "tell" iPhoto which folder I want to import the new photos into?

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by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 14, 2009 11:03 PM PST
In reply to: Folders

will organize your pictures into albums (folders) regardless of where they are stored on your Mac. It will be you who decides what pictures belong in what album (Folder) inside of iPhoto

I'm not sure what you think the advantage of storing your pictures in different folders may be, but once your pictures are in the iPhoto database, you can organize them in any way that you see fit.
iPhoto uses something called Events to arrange pictures, along with Smart Albums and manually populated albums.
Creating albums, call them folders if you want, you can move any newly imported pictures into whatever album you desire.
Rather like a regular book library, iPhoto stores ALL of your pictures in one library which is then divided into events and albums.

If you really feel the need to keep your pictures separated into separate folders outside of iPhoto, then you can continue to do so, it makes no difference to iPhoto.

From within iPhoto, you can email the pictures, edit them, send them off to flickr, print them and easily find them using the search function.
iPhoto also has facial recognition software which is a neat thing.

As to your last question, when you import from your camera into iPhoto, there is no way to tell iPhoto that you want something to be in a certain folder. It displays your last import and then you just select them and drag them to their relevant albums.

Just out of curiosity, what advantage do you see in having you pictures in separate folders?


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Thank you for that additional info
by bgreene1 / November 14, 2009 11:11 PM PST
In reply to: iPhoto

I guess the reason I wish to maintain them in folders is because I may want to move them someday back to a PC organized into separate folders. In other words, I don't want to throw them all into one giant folder on the Mac and lose control of how they are organized. I understand that iPhoto will organize them within the iPhoto app into events, albums, etc. but maybe I won't be using iPhoto the rest of my life to organize my photos. Thus, I want to maintain a way to keep them organized that is independent of iPhoto and will work across a variety of devices and applications, not just iPhoto on a Mac. I have probably north of 12,000 photos organized into about 35 folders and it would take me probably 40 hours to reorganize them "from scratch" if they were to be tossed into one giant folder.

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May be 40 minutes
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 15, 2009 4:56 AM PST

Ponder this:
Move a single folder into the Pictures folder on the Mac.
Open iPhoto and "Import to Library", choosing that folder as the source
Create an Album, "Select All" from the last import and drag them to the Album

Repeat until done.

12,000 is a fair number but not so large or unusual a collection.


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Sounds like that may work well for me
by bgreene1 / November 15, 2009 6:46 AM PST
In reply to: May be 40 minutes

I will give that a try. Thanks.

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move photos with descriptions from pc to MacAir
by jbrwing / August 17, 2013 11:51 PM PDT

I'm hoping Mr Macfixit can help me. I have a new MacAir (bought June 2013) and transferred photos from my PC. Imagine my surprise to find the descriptions did not transfer. There is probably a work around, but I've been unable to find it. Any ideas would you may suggest would be hugely appreciated.

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This thread is more than 1374 days old.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 19, 2013 2:55 AM PDT

As this thread is more than 1374 days old, it's not likely to get much action. Try a new top post in the forums of your choice.

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similar problem
by tkasmith / March 10, 2010 3:25 PM PST

I recently made a collection of digital photos for friends on my windows pc, and put them in the mail on cds. One friend has an old Mac and can't open the pictures. Any suggestions? I don't want to send a thumb drive, and there are too many pictures for email.

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What file type do those pictures have?
by Kees Bakker / March 10, 2010 3:55 PM PST
In reply to: similar problem

A jpg-file surely can be opened on an Apple.

And what happens if he tries to open them? Your mentioning of the possibility to use another medium (thumb drive, email) suggests that it's a just a bad cd or a bad drive.


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You might want to define older mac too,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / March 10, 2010 9:06 PM PST

JPG/JPEG files can be opened on any Mac, old or not.


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Her Mac doesn't like my cd
by tkasmith / March 11, 2010 4:57 AM PST

My friend says she inserts my cd-r and it spits it back out in 15 seconds. All the other cd's I sent to friends went to windows computers and they worked. Is it the format of the cd, or should I just make another one with jpeg pictures?

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by Kevin M. Dean / March 11, 2010 7:33 AM PST

Is the CD burn properly finalizing the session. That's usually something that doesn't read on the mac if it's left open for later appending. This is also a common symptom of cds burned with packet-writing.

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True dat,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / March 11, 2010 7:59 AM PST
In reply to: Finalize

and as an FYI, the Mac, even older ones, have always been able to read a CD produced on a Windows machine.


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more on the cd in the mac
by tkasmith / March 11, 2010 11:56 AM PST
In reply to: True dat,

Thanks people. I'm relieved to hear I don't need to buy any special software. I will make another cd for her and close the session. Hopefully this does the trick!

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(NT) Let us know the result
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / March 11, 2010 10:06 PM PST
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will tell you later
by tkasmith / March 12, 2010 4:59 AM PST
In reply to: Let us know the result

I have to make a new cd for my friend and see if she can open it. I will tell you if it works!

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