Archived - iPhoto: "Unreadable Files" Alert

An alert may appear while importing pictures that says there was an unreadable file and that some of the pictures were not imported because they were an unrecognized file type or the files may not contain valid data.
This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Symptom

While importing pictures into iPhoto an alert appears with this message:
    "Unreadable Files: The following files could not be imported (they may be an unrecognized file type or the files may not contain valid data)"




Figure 1 Unreadable file alert

A list of files that were not imported appears as part of the alert.

This happens If you try to import items that are not pictures, or files that are damaged, or when the computer's hard disk is full.

Solution
    1. If only some or none of the photos were imported, make sure they are actually photos. Note which files were not imported. If possible, open them with another application, such as Preview, which can open the same type of image files that iPhoto can. If the file cannot be opened in another graphics application, then it is probably not a graphic file, or the file is damaged.

    If any of the photos were taken with a QuickTake 100 or 150 camera, see technical document 61047: "Mac OS X: Unable to Open QuickTake 100, 150 Pictures".

    2. This alert also appears when there is no available disk space. Verify the available disk space on the startup disk by selecting the disk icon in the Finder and choosing File > Get Info. The amount of free space on the disk appears next to Available (see Figure 2).




    Figure 2 Available disk space in Get Info

    If there is minimal space available on the hard disk , drag files or applications you no longer need to the Trash and empty the Trash. Make sure any important files are backed up prior to deleting them.

If importing files from a hard disk, see technical document 61015: "iPhoto: About Importing Pictures From Hard Disk and Available Space"

Last Modified: Feb 19, 2012
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  • Last Modified: Feb 19, 2012
  • Article: TA27468
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