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Archived - iPhoto 6 can't open due to permissions alert

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

If items in your iPhoto Library belong to a different user, you may not be able to open or upgrade your iPhoto Library. When you try to open iPhoto 6, you get an alert message that says:

"There is a problem accessing one or more files in your iPhoto Library folder. In the Finder select the iPhoto Library folder. Then choose File > Get Info. Make sure you have read and write permissions for the folder and then apply this setting to all enclosed items."

Note: This does not indicate a need to run the Repair Permissions function of Disk Utility.

For Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later

If you are using Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later, use these steps to correct the issue:

  1. Locate the iPhoto Library folder in the Finder. It usually located in your Pictures folder.
  2. Select the iPhoto Library, then choose File > Get Info.
  3. In the Info window, be sure that the checkbox for "Locked" is not selected.
  4. Click the disclosure triangle next to Ownership & Permissions, as well as the one for Details (if it is not already open).
  5. Make sure you are the owner of this folder and have read/write permission. If not, click the lock icon next to the owner name.
  6. If prompted to authenticate, enter an administrator username and password.
  7. Change the Owner and Owner Access settings if needed so that you are the owner and the access for the owner is Read & Write.
  8. Click the button that says Apply to Enclosed Items.
  9. If prompted to authenticate, enter an administrator username and password.
  10. At the next prompt, click OK.

You should now be able to open iPhoto and use your iPhoto Library.

Note: If you get an alert message on the same file again, be sure that the enclosing folder is not locked. You can check the folder using the Info window just as you did for the file. Also, be sure there are no locked files in your iPhoto library.

For Mac OS X 10.3.9

If you are using Mac OS X 10.3.9, note the filename that is outlined in the alert message ("The item that failed is..."). Use these steps to correct the permissions on that file:

  1. From the Finder, locate the file mentioned in the alert message.
  2. Select the file, then choose File > Get Info.
  3. In the Info window, be sure that the checkbox for "Locked" is not selected.
  4. Click the disclosure triangle next to Ownership & Permissions, as well as the one for Details (if it is not already open).
  5. Make sure you are the owner of this folder and have read/write permission. If not, click the lock icon next to the owner name.
  6. If prompted to authenticate, enter an administrator username and password.
  7. Change the Owner and Owner Access settings if needed so that you are the owner and the access for the owner is Read & Write.
  8. Click the button that says Apply to Enclosed Items.
  9. If prompted to authenticate, enter an administrator username and password.

Try opening iPhoto again. If you still receive the alert message, look at the filename mentioned in the alert and repeat the steps above.

Note: If you get an alert message on the same file again, be sure that the enclosing folder is not locked. You can check the folder using the Info window just as you did for the file. Also, be sure there are no locked files in your iPhoto library.

Sharing iPhoto Library not recommended

Attempting to edit your iPhoto Library from multiple users on the same machine can introduce this issue. This could happen, for example, if you move the iPhoto Library to /Users/Shared and then attempt to open this library from more than one user account on the same computer. This is not recommended.

Last Modified: Feb 19, 2012
  • Last Modified: Feb 19, 2012
  • Article: TA23858
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