How can I sync iPhoto across two machines?
March 6, 2011 12:07 PM   Subscribe

I have a MacBook and an iMac and would like to keep the same iPhoto library on both machines. I'm comfortable with making sure I only change the library on one machine at a time. I've done research and it seems the only way to keep the library on both machines is to use rsync, but despite following some online guides I can't get it to work. Does anyone know of a user-friendly link that will help?
posted by ascullion to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Rsync only goes one direction. It's great for backups. Try Unison instead, but make sure it gets run after every change.
posted by supercres at 12:13 PM on March 6, 2011

posted by supercres at 12:15 PM on March 6, 2011

Use Dropbox to synchronize them.
posted by PickeringPete at 12:15 PM on March 6, 2011

A more complete discussion is at
posted by PickeringPete at 1:08 PM on March 6, 2011

The easiest way would be to put the library on an external drive that can be moved from MacBook to iMac. To start, connect the drive to one machine and hold the Option key when launching iPhoto. You will be prompted with the choice of creating a new Library or opening a different Library. Choose create and point it to the external drive. iPhoto will remember that library.

If you've already got a library you want to work with, simply copy that library to the external drive and Option launch iPhoto. This time choose different library and point to the one in the external drive.

If you had a network drive, you could potentially work with that instead of an external hard drive but you may find the connection over wireless to be too slow for large libraries.
posted by inviolable at 1:11 PM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

A quick Google search on "iPhoto sync" produced iPhoto Library Manager and SyncPhotos
posted by adamrice at 2:16 PM on March 6, 2011

I share your pain ascullion. I tried a variant of rsync via Automator in my setup. MacA would get new photos/get photos edited, etc so I only needed MacB to have a copy of MacB. But it would fail at random points.

I couldn't get the Unison solution to work. Maybe I'm just dense but I didn't get it. It wasn't really user-friendly at all.

Dropbox could work, but uploading 30GB to dropbox and then having it download it seems to be a little overkill.

Shuttling removable hard drives back and forth isn't really syncing. It also means that I'd have to lug the drive with me.

Syncphotos doesn't sync titles and other metadata, or changes to photos which makes it useless for me.

iPhoto Library Manager may work, but the trial allows a whopping 20 photos to be copied. I want to know what happens it I spend a lazy Sunday putting hundreds of photos on the map, or assigning names to faces.

For now I keep MacA as my main iPhoto library. Then in MacB, point its iPhoto library to MacA's library (on the same home network). Since it a single library, there's nothing to sync. The only trouble is only one computer can have iPhoto open on one Mac at a time. It is far from ideal because MacA is a MacBookPro that I usually let sleep when I'm not using it, so I have to make sure it is running.
posted by birdherder at 4:21 PM on March 6, 2011

Here's lifehacker's guide to syncing itunes across computers.
posted by stratastar at 5:47 PM on March 6, 2011

This seems like a good use for AeroFS, which is basically Dropbox without the middleman. The founders are good folks; I'm sure if you went to their site, hit the "Chat with the founders" link and asked nicely, they'd be happy to give you an invite.
posted by SemiSophos at 6:54 PM on March 6, 2011

Don't use dropbox! It has issues with iPhoto's bundle file AND WILL EAT PHOTOS.
posted by Brainy at 7:52 PM on March 6, 2011

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