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Fix macOS Error “The library could not be opened”

Receiving the macOS error “The library could not be opened” in Apple Photos while trying to open one of your photo libraries can be very frustrating.

The error message goes on to say that “Photos was unable to open the library”.

When I first received this error message, I tried to repair the flash drive that the library was located on using Disk Utility to see if that would solve the issue but it did not.

It is also worth trying to repair and convert the photo library in question using Apple Photos, however, many users have not had success in solving the issue using this method. Generally, Apple Photos will try to do this automatically when you attempt to open the corrupted photo library.

It may even seem like the photo library is completely corrupt and will be lost forever. There is, however, another solution that allows you to recover your photos manually – outside of Apple Photos.

Manually Recover Photos from a Corrupt Apple Photos Library

  1. Open the location of the corrupt photo library in a Finder window.
  2. Right-click on the library and select Show Package Contents.
  3. Open the folder titled Originals.
  4. Copy and paste the photos within the subfolders to another location on your computer.
  5. Open Apple Photos and re-upload the recovered photos.

In some situations, this will be the only way to recover photos from a library that cannot be opened with Apple Photos. It certainly is a pain but it’s also better than losing those photos forever. Hopefully Apple will continue to improve Apple Photos so that this happens less often.

Anson Alexander

I am an author, digital educator and content marketer. I record, edit, and publish content for AnsonAlex.com, provide technical and business services to clients and am an avid self-learner. I have also authored several digital marketing and business courses for LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com).

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