If Photos can‘t create, upgrade, or open your library because of file system issues

When you migrate an iPhoto or Aperture photo library to Photos, you might see an error that says your library is on an unsupported disk volume, the library could not be opened, or the library could not be created. Follow these steps to resolve the issue.

You might see one of these error messages when you migrate an existing photo library to Photos:

  • "Photos could not upgrade your library because it is on an unsupported disk volume"
  • "The library could not be opened"
  • "The library could not be created"

These errors happen when the library is on a volume, or disk, that Photos can't write to. This volume might be a CD or DVD, a disk image set to read-only, a disk you can't write to because it's owned by another user, or a disk with a file system that Photos can't write to, like NTFS.

Follow these steps to move your photo library to a different location:

  1. Quit Photos.
  2. Copy your Aperture or iPhoto library to a volume that your Mac can write to, for example, to your Mac or to an external hard drive. The default location for photo libraries on your Mac is the Pictures folder within your Home folder.
  3. Open Photos and migrate your photo library from its new location.
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