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Options: Selecting Alternate iPhoto and iTunes Libraries

TMO Quick Tip - Options: Selecting Alternate iPhoto and iTunes Libraries

by , 7:30 AM EST, January 7th, 2008

Apple's iPhoto and iTunes applications keep track of your pictures and music in their own folder systems called Libraries: One library per app. If you need to keep your pics and tunes stored in multiple Libraries, however, you can -- it just takes an extra step or two.

iPhoto and iTunes each offer a hidden way to switch between Libraries thanks to your keyboard's Option key. Just hold down the Option while launching either application displays a dialog asking for the location of the Library you want to use.


Option-launch iPhoto or iTunes to pick an alternate library.

The upside is that this feature is built in and ready to go without any extra effort on your part. The downside is that you have to relaunch iPhoto or iTunes every time you want to switch Libraries.


iPhoto Buddy manages multiple iPhoto Libraries...

It can get confusing if yo have several iPhoto Libraries to manage, which makes applications like Rick Neil's iPhoto Buddy useful. This cool little app keeps track of multiple Libraries and handles the iPhoto quit/restart process for you. iPhoto Buddy is free, and making a donation will help keep it that way.


...and iTunes Library Manager does the same for iTunes.

For iTunes users, Doug Adams's US$10 iTunes Library Manager lets you work with multiple music Libraries each with their own unique iTunes preferences settings. Fair warning: The iTunes Library Manager Web site states that the application in not compatible with the built-in multiple library feature in iTunes 7. That means you shouldn't use the Option key startup trick with iTunes if you also plan on using iTunes Library Manager.


Jeff Gamet is TMO's Morning Editor and Reviews Editor. He lectures, teaches and speaks on Mac OS X and design-related topics, and is the author of The Designer's Guide to Mac OS X from Peachpit Press.

if you have tips or tricks to share, or Mac-related questions you want answered.

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