How to copy iphoto library to external drive and fix for iphoto won’t copy error

iPhoto offers several advanced features that help manage photos with ease besides that facility of editing; importing sharing and printing photos further makes this a great utility. Users often face difficulty in accessing photos, importing or copy from it as such the very attempt stops there itself throwing error messages as such ‘iphoto library won't copy' and depending upon the observed issue the library files may even become inaccessible.

Taking one such instance in which the iphoto library folder is tried to be copied to an external hard drive by dragging and dropping the process begins and shortly after copying files, it generates message as –

The operation cannot be completed because an item with the name already exists

As a fix for this, it is first of all attempted by users to copy the folder to a new folder on the drive, if previously it would have been done on an already existing folder. Though failure of the issue asks for iphoto library rebuild. As the very problem taking place may be an indication for corrupt folder structure and photos and thus cannot be used or copied.

In order to fix iphoto library will not copy issue, it is recommended using the application folder and copying it in the appropriate manner to desired drive location. For this it is required closing the application and any photos it has before the actual copy begins, however slighter differences with the processes may be observed depending on the version of iphoto application used.




  1. The external hard drive should properly be connected and it is to be verified that the device is turned on
  2. Now the finder window should be opened twice, with the two placed one above another
  3. So that in the former windows from home folder, picture and thereupon iphoto library folder can be located
  4. Now, in the window below it, the external drive where the files have to be copied is to be selected

With the library folder selected from the first one is dragged to the one at the bottom, initiating the copy work and this will continue for a while based on the size of the folder being copied and can be seen from the drive where saved in right after that, this way your library could be safe and anytime any loss occurs it could be easily retrieved from the backed up data.

However, if iphoto wont copy error continues to take place irrespective of being done in proper way as described, there is certainly some issue that needs to be rectified by rebuilding or restoring lost photos from iphoto by doing deleted iphoto library recovery.