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How to revert Photos library from Sierra to Yosemite format


iMore Question

I installed the Sierra Public beta on an external drive i use to test such thing on my imac.

I, not so cleverly, said yes when it asked me if I wanted to try the new Photos app. It latched onto the other external drive with my default 1.2 TB photos library. Now I can no longer access the Photos library from Yosemite. I am downloading the previous version from Crashplan but that is going to take a couple weeks.

Is there an easier way roll back the Photos library to being Yosemite format? (No it is not in my Time machine backups. My bad.)

Thanks very much for an help or suggestions.

John Dawson
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Well-known member
Jul 21, 2009
To switch between photo libraries:
Quit iPhoto.

Hold down the Option key as you open iPhoto.

Select the library you want to switch to.

Click Choose.

So just do that from Yosmite and you should be able to point at the library location on the external. It also works in Photos.


Jul 26, 2016
Thanks but apparenlty I was not clear.

My external Photos library was converted from the Yosemite to the Sierra format and can no longer be opened from Yosemite. Sierra Photos libraries are not compatible with the Yosemite version of Photos. I wondered if there was an easy way to change it back to the Yosemite version.

I know how to switch libraries. The problem is converting the Photos library back to El Cap format from the Sierra format.
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