Photos App Choose Library

Creating separate libraries. It’s one of the best ways to go about organizing photos with the new Photos app in macOS. I find that using multiple libraries to separate things like work and personal life is a good strategy. Fortunately, it’s extremely simple to create new libraries and to switch between those libraries on the fly.

How to create additional Photos libraries on Mac

Step 1: Close the Photos app.

Step 2: Hold the Option (⌥) key on your Mac’s keyboard and click the Photos app in your dock or in your Applications folder.

Step 3: Click Create New…

Step 4: In the Save As field, give your new library a name. You can also change the location of the library by adjusting the Where field

Step 5: Once you are satisfied with your new library name and location, click OK

Step 6: To switch between libraries, open the Pictures folder and double-click on the library you wish to use. You can also hold the Option (⌥) key on your Mac’s keyboard and click the Photos app in your dock and then click Choose Library after selecting a listed library. You can use the Other Library option to locate a library located elsewhere that isn’t listed.

Only one photos library

You can only have one library open at any given time. If you try to open a library while another is opened, the first one will close before the second will be allowed to open.

Do you use multiple libraries in your Photos app setup?

  • Yiannis Papoutsis

    “It’s one of the best ways to go about organizing photos with the new Photos app in OS X Yosemite.”
    how you really organise photos if you are unable to open two libraries on the same time?

    • I have one library for personal photos, and another library for work photos. I like to keep those separate. This allows me to do just that.

  • Kr00

    Have a common issue at work where two users wish to use the same library (they share the same computer but different user accounts, but need to access the same photo library) and permission problems arise constantly. Haven’t tested it out on the new Photo app yet.

    • If you right click on the library you wish to share, and click “Get Info” you should be able to edit the permissions to allow all users of the machine to read and write the file. Haven’t tried it with a photos library, but it should work for most files.

      • Kr00

        That only works for that user, until the next user logs in and opens iPhoto, then the permissions are changed, or that user is denied access. It becomes like a tennis match. I totally understand why Apple do this to protect user file permissions, but things like photos and music should have sharing permissions as an option. The only workaround is to have these libraries on an external drive, but it’s not optimal.

  • Marcus

    I’m definitely going to start using this on my Mac from now on. However, does this work at all on iOS? Can I have multiple libraries? That would be a great jailbreak tweak…

  • ElzoRillo

    I wish! Can’t even keep “Photos” open for more than a minute. #Apple #Photos #App for #Mac crashes right after launch, EVERY TIME! Seriously. 10.10.3 has major problems and they don’t want to hear it. Anybody has a solution? I have always had Macs and this is the first time I can’t access my photos!

  • Richard Waldorf

    After migrating my iPhotos into Photos I see I have over 60 Photos Libraries. Several Libraries are duplicates while other do not contain any photos. My question is how do I either consolidate Photos Libraries, delete Photos Libraries and/or rename Photos Libraries?