Sharing a Library via iPhoto Library Manager

Mac OS X is a multi-user operating system, so it's common for people who share a Mac each to have an account. But what if you want to share the same iPhoto Library among multiple users on the same Mac? You can use Brian Webster's $19.95 shareware iPhoto Library Manager utility, available from

To share your library among users:


With iPhoto notrunning, rename your iPhoto Library folder to Shared iPhoto Library (to avoid confusion) and move it from the Pictures folder to the Shared folder at the same level as your user folder (Figure 8.1). The Shared folder may or may not contain other items.

Figure 8.1. Store your iPhoto Library folder in the Shared folder at the same level as your user folder, preferably with a slightly different name to avoid confusion in iPhoto Library Manager.


Open iPhoto Library Manager, and drag the Shared iPhoto Library folder from the Finder into the iPhoto Library Folders list in iPhoto Library Manager.


Select the Shared iPhoto Library folder in the list, click the Options button, choose Read & Write from each of the three Permissions pop-up menus, and select the three checkboxes underneath.

These settings cause iPhoto Library Manager to fix the permissions on the Shared iPhoto Library folder whenever necessary (Figure 8.2).

Figure 8.2. Set the permissions properly for shared iPhoto Library folders in the Options dialog in iPhoto Library Manager.


For each user, log in and repeat steps 2 and 3.


From now on, each user on your Mac should launch iPhoto by clicking the Launch iPhoto button in iPhoto Library Manager.

Permissions Problems

You must jump through these hoops to share an iPhoto Library folder because of how iPhoto assigns permissions to thumbnails in the Data folder.

iPhoto Library Manager works around the problem by fixing permissions constantly. The techniques on the opposite page have similar effects: turning on Ignore Ownership on This Volume for an external drive ignores permissions entirely, and the issue disappears with network volumes because each user can log into a shared account, thus ensuring that all newly imported photos are written with the same ownership.

For more on this, including yet another technique, see the article I wrote on the topic for Macworld Magazine at

iPhoto 6 for Mac OS X. Visual QuickStart Guide
iPhoto 6 for Mac OS X
ISBN: 0321423313
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 225
Authors: Adam Engst

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