6.4. Where iPhoto Keeps Your Files
Having entrusted your vast collection of digital photos to iPhoto, you may find yourself wondering, "Where's iPhoto putting all those files, anyway?"
Most people slog through life, eyes to the road, without ever knowing the answer. After all, you can preview, open , edit, rotate, copy, export, and print all your photos right in iPhoto, without actually opening a folder or double-clicking a single JPEG file.
Even so, it's worthwhile to know where iPhoto keeps your pictures on the hard drive. Armed with this information, you can keep those valuable files backed up and avoid the chance of accidentally throwing them away six months from now when you're cleaning up your hard drive.
6.4.1. A Trip to the Library
Whenever you import pictures into iPhoto, the program makes copies of your photos, always leaving your original files untouched.
iPhoto stores its copies of your pictures in a special folder called iPhoto Library, which you can find in your Home Pictures folder. (To find your Home folder, begin in the Finder and choose Go Home.) If the short name you use to log into Mac OS X is mozart , the full path to your iPhoto Library folder from the main hard drive window would be Macintosh HD Users mozart Pictures iPhoto Library.
Tip: You should back up this iPhoto Library folder regularlyusing the Burn command to save it onto a CD or DVD, for example. After all, it contains all the photos you import into iPhoto, which, essentially , is your entire photography collection. Chapter 12 offers much more on this file management topic.
184.108.40.206. What all those numbers mean
Within the iPhoto Library folder, you'll find a set of mysteriously numbered files and folders. At first glance, this setup may look bizarre, but there's a method to iPhoto's madness. It turns out that iPhoto meticulously arranges your photos within these numbered folders according to the creation dates of the originals, as explained in Figure 6-10.
220.127.116.11. Folders inside the year/month/date folders
A few mysterious icons appear inside each year/month/date photo folder, too, right alongside your JPEG photo files. They include:
Note: Don't confuse the files in the Originals folders with your true originals: the files on your hard drive, camera, or memory card that you first imported into iPhoto. As mentioned earlier, iPhoto never touches those originals; they stay exactly where they were when you imported them.
18.104.22.168. Look, don't touch
While it's enlightening to wander through the iPhoto Library folder to see how iPhoto keeps itself organized, don't rename or move any of the folders or files in it. Making such changes will confuse iPhoto to the point where it will either be unable to display some of your photos or it'll just crash.