Help sharing itunes iphotos
January 26, 2008 6:25 PM   Subscribe

Help setting up OSX leopard so that my wife can see AND edit all of my iphotos and itunes files?I am the administrator. She shares the same iMac, so this is not a network sharing issue i gather. I have read about 30 articles by googling, all are either pre-leopard or way beyond the understanding of this new iMac owner...use of terminology foreign to a newbie. Thank you!
posted by dougiedd to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is harder than it sounds like. Here's the problem.

First off, there's privileges issue. If you hit cmd-I on any file to bring up the Information window, and toggle the bottom disclosure triangle, you'll see the permissions control.

Permissions are a knotty issue, and things can go wrong, but you could set your permissions so that both of you have read/write access to the relevant files. You'd want to move all the relevant files to /Users/Shared first, and then set group permissions to read/write.

But. This would only be the start of your problems. Here's why. Both iTunes and iPhoto maintain a directory database that's separate from the actual music/photos. If your wife makes changes on her account, the files will be changed, but your copy of the directory db will not be. Same for her after you made changes So you'd both need to update the database every time you used these apps.

Now, could you share the directory dbs? Maybe. But that means you could not have separate playlists, play counts, ratings, etc.

My wife and I share a music collection, but do all CD ripping from only one machine (and we still need to update her db regularly).
posted by adamrice at 7:07 PM on January 26, 2008

share the directory dbs? you have already lot me. And no, i dont really care about play counts etc being individualized (i dont think)
posted by dougiedd at 7:26 PM on January 26, 2008

I believe this can be done with Unix-y commands, but I've never tried it.

It would look something like this:
sudo mv -r /Users/Admin/Music /Users/Shared/
cd /Users/Admin
sudo ln -s /Users/Shared/Music Music
sudo mv -r /Users/Wife/Music /Users/Shared/
cd /Users/Wife
sudo ln -s /Users/Shared/Music Music

But first I would back up all the music to a separate drive. The idea is to make your Music folders actually just links into the Shared music folder. Then programs that ask for /Users/Admin/Music/... get the /Users/Shared/Music/... files instead, and similarly /Users/Wife/Music/... is redirected to /Users/Shared/Music/...

This is all assuming that iTunes doesn't do anything funky with its methods of file access such as refuse to follow symbolic links. So you might do all the above and then have a broken iTunes, at which point you can restore from backup.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 7:45 PM on January 26, 2008

Ok, nevermind.

Just do this instead.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 7:48 PM on January 26, 2008

I suspect you just maybe don't want to mess with sudo or symbolic links, given your level of experience.

Your iPhoto library can be safely moved into /Users/Shared. (It's currently in Pictures -- depending on which version of iPhoto you're using, it'll look like a folder or like a file with an iPhoto icon, and it will probably be named "iPhoto Library".) Next time you launch iPhoto, it'll say "Hey! I can't find your library!" And you say "Yo! it's over here in Users/Shared/whatever!" and that'll be that. No command line magic necessary.

BUT NOTE! I haven't tested using the same library from two different accounts, though. I don't see any reason why it shouldn't work, but before you commit your whole photo library to it, test first with a new library: Rename your current one, so iPhoto can't find it. When it asks where it is, tell it to create a new library (in /users/shared/.) try adding some photos into that new library from your account, then log in as your wife, add some photos from there, make sure it all works. If it does, delete the test library you just created and replace it with your real one.)

For iTunes, these instructions will work on Leopard.
posted by ook at 8:23 PM on January 26, 2008

Thanks to you both: here is a similar instruction for photo library!
posted by dougiedd at 9:02 PM on January 26, 2008

Spoke to soon: on logging in as my wife i cant see anything happen in either iphoto ot itunes even after changing file setting...did i miss something?
posted by dougiedd at 9:06 PM on January 26, 2008

If you don't care about playlists, ratings, and other extra information about the music, then I'd follow the apple doc that Grommit posted.

I tried to share everything in iTunes, like adamrice suggests.

Here's what I did:

0. Backup everything before you start! I screwed up my iTunes library twice while fiddling with it, so the backup was invaluable!
1. Open up iTunes in each account on the computer. That initializes the iTunes DB. Now quit iTunes.
2. Move the master library and database to /Users/Shared (the master is the account that already has all the music).
2a. I just moved the entire folder at /Users/MYUSER/Music/iTunes to /Users/Shared/iTunes
3. Delete the iTunes folder under each account
4. Create a sym link (or Apple calls them aliases) that replaces what you just deleted, and points to the new location in shared.
4a. /Users/MYUSER/Music/iTunes is an alias for /Users/Shared/iTunes
5. Make sure the iTunes folder in the shared has full read/write permissions and the permissions are applied recursively through the whole folder

After fiddling with permissions for quite a while, it mostly worked, with a few caveats:
a. iTunes could only be open in one account at a time, as it locks the (now shared) database when in use.
b. I could only rip CDs from one account (never figured out why).

Also, I presume the above works for iPhoto, but I didn't attempt it. Really, I'd suggest just ditching trying to share the database (ie playlists, ratings, etc), and just share the files themselves with the apple doc.

Good luck!
posted by whycurious at 10:07 PM on January 26, 2008

Spoke to soon: on logging in as my wife i cant see anything happen in either iphoto ot itunes even after changing file setting...did i miss something?

Can you clarify what happened? Is your wife's account not seeing any photos at all, or did it prompt her to look for the library, or is she still looking at her own photo library, or what?

(I'm going to guess that she's seeing her library, not yours -- If your wife had already launched iPhoto, then it will have made a library for her in /Users/{your wife}/Photos. If it doesn't have any images in it, you can just throw that library out, and next time she launches iPhoto it'll ask where the library is; tell it to look at the one you made in /Users/Shared.)

Same general deal for iTunes. Remember that your wife's account and yours each have separate settings for the same applications; you need to change those settings in both accounts for this to work.
posted by ook at 10:56 PM on January 26, 2008

Spoke to soon: on logging in as my wife i cant see anything happen in either iphoto ot itunes even after changing file setting...did i miss something?

hold down the option key while you open iphoto and itunes to choose the library that they will use.

i share iphoto and itunes libraries on my machine and it works fine. iphoto is much easier as you just have to move the library, and then show it where it is in both accounts. as long the permissions are right it'll work fine.

itunes is a bit trickier. i only add new music from one account as some other ppl suggested above. in that main account, i have itunes set to copy new music to the itunes library, and to keep the library organized (in itunes advanced settings). in the other account, i DO NOT have itunes set to copy new music to library or keep it organized. if you add music from your account itunes won't automatically update your wife's account so you have to do it manually. just hold cmd-o (add to library) and select the shared itunes library (folder with all your music). this will add all the new music to your wife's library. The settings i mentioned though are important, otherwise itunes will not just add new stuff, it'll create a copy of everything.

Oh, also i've found that it's much easier to embed album art in the files. any art that itunes found in your account won't show up in your wife's, so you'll have to add it all again unless you embed it.
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 4:57 AM on January 27, 2008

perhaps i am not setting permissions up properly: the linked article from apple dodnt mention anything about setting permissions up though.
posted by dougiedd at 10:18 AM on January 27, 2008

OK: i seem to have finally imported the iphots successfully though now an error message pops up saying recent changes could not be saved make sure you have enough hard disk etc.

Must not have set it up sucessfullY:
is it key to delete the other original iphotos folder even if empty?

If i manage to do this correctly for iphotos will my wife be able to make changes to the phot librbary that then are saved so that my library is also changed?
posted by dougiedd at 11:40 AM on January 27, 2008

I notice playlists do not get exported over too. to my wifes account thought that is not such a big deal i guess.
Will she be able to add content to her library if it matters not if i see that content?
posted by dougiedd at 11:43 AM on January 27, 2008

I just tested the iPhoto thing myself with two different accounts, and it looks like there's an extra step involved that I wasn't expecting; sorry about that.

Here's the simplest step-by-step of the whole process; I tried it this way and it worked. (I'm assuming you're using iLife '08, since based on your previous questions this is a new iMac.)

1) Log in as you. Find the iPhoto library that has all the photos in it and copy it into /Users/Shared/ (if it isn't there already.) Select that file in the finder.
2) Hit apple-I or "Get Info" from the file menu.
3) At the bottom of the window that just popped up is a section titled "Sharing & Permissions". Click on that to expand it, if it isn't already. Click the lock icon at the bottom of it, enter your password.
4) In 'sharing and permissions' is a list of three things: "Me", "Wheel," and "Everyone". Set all of them to "Read & Write". (If your wife's account is an administrator too, you might be able to get away with just setting "wheel" to "read & write," and not "everyone", but i haven't tried this.)
5) Launch iPhoto while holding down the option key. (I didn't know about that option before sero_venientibus mentioned it; it's handy. :) Hit "choose library", and choose the library in /Users/Shared. iPhoto should launch with all your photos in it.
6) Log out. Log in as your wife.
7) Launch iPhoto while holding down the option key. Hit "choose library" and again select the one in /users/shared.

If you get a warning about the file being in a locked or unreadable disk, then there's still a permissions problem. If, instead, it launches with the photos visible, you're probably in good shape.

8) If the above worked, try dragging a new photo into the library while still logged in as your wife. If it shows up correctly in iPhoto, you're golden. If it shows as a dotted rectangle, that would mean your wife is able to read the library but not write to it -- another subtly different permissions problem.

9) If all the above worked, you can then safely delete any leftover iPhoto libraries from /Users/[you]/Pictures and from /Users/[your wife]/Pictures. They won't harm anything if they stay there, they'll just take up space.

If you ran into permissions problems, log back in as you and make sure the library's permissions are set correctly. If they are, and it still doesn't work, you may have to resort to this more complex solution instead. (It should still work in leopard, but requires some command-line work.)
posted by ook at 12:35 PM on January 27, 2008

(Oh, and if it does work, then any changes to the iPhoto library made from either account will show up exactly the same in the other account, since you'll literally be using the same library. A little different from iTunes, where you're sharing the same MP3 files but not the same "library" database (which contains playlists, etc.)
posted by ook at 12:40 PM on January 27, 2008

That seems to do it Ook! Thanks !
So iPhoto, no problem, but for itunes, what limitations will we notice? Cn my wife not add to the shared library?
posted by dougiedd at 1:04 PM on January 27, 2008

I haven't done it in iTunes personally, so take this with a grain of salt, but my understanding is:

You'll each have separate playlists, ratings, play counts, etc (which is probably what you'd want anyway).

You'd both be able to import new music, but any new music added by one of you won't automatically be visible to the other user -- after you add a new CD to your library, your wife would need to hit "File -> Add to Library", select the music folder, and iTunes will scan through it to find anything you've added since the last time she did it. (And vice-versa if she adds a CD that you want to be able to see.)

If you both separately rip the same CD, you'll wind up with duplicate files, which could get confusing - so try not to do that; instead have one of you rip the CD, then the other use 'add to library' to find the new files.
posted by ook at 3:03 PM on January 27, 2008

Thank you again for all of your help!
posted by dougiedd at 3:45 PM on January 27, 2008

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