(A more detailed, up-to-date version of the FAQ can be found in the in-app User Guide.)
1. How is exporting with Photos Takeout different from using the Photos app's export functionality?
If you export multiple albums or all photos of selected years with Photos, they are all dumped into one humongous folder. Photos Takeout saves them in proper folders.
2. Can Photos handle my 2TB library?
Yes, there is no size limit. Use the Power version for Photos libraries of up to 50GB; the Pro Power version for libraries of any size.
3. Are photos and videos exported in the original or reduced resolution?
Resolution is preserved. Photos Takeout does not alter photo quality.
USING THE APP
1. I have multiple Photos libraries. How to change the system library?
Open Photos. Change the current system library to the one that you want to export from, as explained here. Close Photos app, then launch Photos Takeout.
2. I get ‘Error: Database is locked message’ on launching the app.
This means that Photos has a lock on the Photos database. Quit Photos. Open Activity Monitor. Select and quit Photos Agent and photolibraryd (View > Quit process).
3. On selecting Source, the spinner keeps turning for ages. Is the app hanging?
Depending on your Photos library’s size and your Mac’s specs (processor, RAM) it will take a few seconds to several minutes to load the library. As a rough guide, a 100GB library may take 3-4 minutes to load; 1TB library 45 minutes.
4. App shows zero items in Years, Albums and Moments. Also, nothing happens when I click the Years, Albums or Moments buttons. Why?
Even though Source in the left pane shows your library’s name, click below Source and re-select the system library. This results in your giving Photos Takeout permission to access your Photos library. The photos will load normally after you do this.
Another reason may be version mismatch, e.g. trying to use a Catalina library on a Big Sur Mac, or a Big Sur library on a Mojave Mac, or (uh) an iPhoto library on any Mac.
5. Not all the items were exported. It said: “X files exported. Y not found.” Why?
This can be due to a few different reasons:
- Photos in iCloud: In Mojave and older, you must download the photos from iCloud before initiating export (See how, below). This is not necessary for Catalina and Big Sur libraries – Photos Takeout does it for you.
- Wrong library: If using Big Sur or Catalina, and all the missed items are iCloud-based or edited photos, it’s because the library you have selected as Source isn’t the same as your current Photos system library. Correct this, then retry.
- Inability to access files: e.g. missing referenced files, hidden photos and other odd cases. A text file of items not exported is saved, so that you can investigate.
- No file permission: Mostly with referenced files. See where these are located and that you haven’t moved, renamed or deleted them. Contact us with the details.
6. How to download photos stored in iCloud to Photos app on my Mac?
Launch Photos, click Photos > Preferences > iCloud > select Download Originals to Mac. Once they are downloaded, use Photos Takeout to export the required folders.Doing this is necessary only in Mojave or older mac OS.
7. I renamed some pictures in Photos app. If I right-click any photo and select Get Info, I can see both names. But after exporting, I only see one name. Why?
Apple Photos stores original as well as edited file names, but Photos Takeout only keeps the edited names. Also, if multiple photos have the same name, they’ll be sequentially numbered e.g. Vacation 1.jpg, Vacation 2.jpg etc.
8. If I am exporting a large batch and want to abort the export, how to?
Click the big blue Cancel button in the dialog box shown below:
9. How to export shared albums?
Import the photos to an album under My Albums (not just into the Shared Album in the Shared Album location), then it will be exported just like other photos.
10. How does Photos Takeout handle export of raw images?
Raw photos may have been imported into Photos as raw-only or raw-jpeg pairs. For both cases, Photos Takeout exports according to the following rule:Unmodified check-marked: Only the unedited original RAW file will be exported.Unmodified unchecked: Only the latest edited JPG version will be exported.
11. My current system library on Mac syncs with iCloud. I also have a library on EHD that’s too big for Mac or iCloud. If I set this as my system library for using with Photos Takeout, won’t it start uploading to iCloud?
You don't need to upload the photos from your external HD-based library to iCloud – or even to your Mac. Use the following workflow:
- Temporarily disconnect the Mac from iCloud. See how.
- Connect EHD to Mac. In Photos Preferences, make the EHD library the system library.
- Launch Photos Takeout and export whatever you want
- Reverse Step 2 (Disconnect EHD; revert to normal Photos and iCloud settings).
12. I can’t get the app to work or The app hangs or The app crashes.
Ensure that you have the latest version of Photos Takeout. If Photos app is running, close it. Click ‘Source’ in left pane and re-select the Photos Library. The app should work now. If the issue persists, email us, mentioning your OS version, RAM (GB), size of Photos library (GB), detailed description of the issue and screenshot, if any.Photos Takeout works with Photos for High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina and Big Sur, as long as the source library isn't corrupted and can be opened with Photos app.
1. How to export only selected photos or videos (not folders)?
Do it from Photos app, not Photos Takeout. Select the items and either drag and drop in your desired location or (for more options) click File > Export.
2. Does Photos Takeout work with iPhoto or Aperture libraries?
No, Photos Takeout is only meant for Photos app. Not iPhoto or Aperture. Convert those libraries to Photos, then export with Photos Takeout.
3. Can I open a Photos library fetched from a Mac running Mojave with Photos Takeout on a Mac running Catalina?
No, you can only use a Photos Library that can be opened with Photos on that Mac. To use a Mojave library on a Catalina Mac, first import it into Photos for Catalina. Note that you can’t downgrade a Catalina library to Mojave.
4. My question isn’t answered here.
Please email us through the app, explaining the issue and providing these details:
- your Mac and OS version,
- how many items in your library,
- size of the library (GB),
- library location (on Mac or EHD),
- location of photos (locally in Mac Photos, iCloud or referenced);
- export destination (Mac, EHD, NAS, cloud storage etc.)
The more information you provide, the faster we’ll be able to analyze and troubleshoot the issue.