Using Apple

I’m curious about the plusses and minuses of using image files from within Apple’s, that is, without exporting them into a separate folder outside the app’s usual organization.

I’ve seen the posts about the possibility (and reality) of Photos changing its internal structure and moving the files around and that makes sense, though I see that a shell script has already been posted that should fix that and I can imagine coming up with an AppleScript that could as well. Are there other issues?

From my perspective, Photos is very handy in managing photos taken on your iPhone (as I often do) and from other cameras, and it also handles GPS data and corrections to it quite nicely. Keeping the files within Photos also avoids duplicating them, of course. And there’s the fact that I’ve got a ton of photos already imported onto my computer.

OTOH, one issue with importing via the media panel while leaving the images in Photos is that it gives the image the long, random Photos ID as their names and doesn’t show their “actual” file names (that is, the original name of the file, which is the name of the file Photos will export).

Are there other issues to worry about or like about leaving files in Photos?

PS One way to avoid the filename issue is to create symlinks for the image files in Photos and save them in a separate directory folder with the “correct” filenames. (I already have an AppleScript that does this.) Tropy can then import those. The symlinks could be organized topically and even using subfolders…though I could do this with the originals in Photos, too.

I urge you not to use the photo’s app in combination with tropy. About a year and half ago, I updated my Macbook and the photo’s app remaned and reorganised all my archival pictures. (Thousands of photo’s that I had labelled in tropy were suddenly gone.) It took me over a month to make everything work again.
If you desperately want to use apple photo’s and tropy, make a folder in between where you store the in the same structure as you upload them to tropy. Also make sure that in every backup of the photo’s yo use the same structure of folders should anything go wrong. If you’re uploading from the photo’s app to Tropy directly, some day, you’re going to have a bad time.

I agree that using the photos straight from the library has many benefits, mainly managing the photos across your Apple devices and the fact that managing duplicates is not ideal – if you want to keep the photos in that is. The main drawback is really just that how the library is structured internally is not standardized and Apple may change it at will. Going all the way back to when the app was still called ‘iPhoto’ we’ve seen two such major changes (the more recent one especially, because it also renamed the files, whereas the first one just changed the folder structure). For this reason we generally advise strongly against sharing the photos between the two apps.

Having said that, if you know what you’re doing, I think it’s OK to still use such a setup. You just need to realize that Tropy saves the path to each file and a checksum so even if the files get renamed it should always be possible to adjust our script (we may even expose it via the UI at some point) to restore all paths. However, if Apple were to re-organize the library, renaming the files and also altering the originals (even if it’s just changing a timestamp in the metadata or something like that) there’s really no easy way to restore the paths (short of visual comparison). I would think it’s unlikely that this would happen, but it’s not entirely unrealistic. The only protection you have against this is by backing up the photo library. As long as you have a backup it should always be possible to fix the paths in the Tropy project, but with each update you run the risk of having to spend extra time on this.

Thanks for the replies.

My thought is that these issues are another reason to go with using symlinks or maybe Apple aliases as intermediates.

First there’s a chance that one or the other will still work if Apple simply moves the files in a reorg. Second the way I’m doing it they have the image file names, which I can’t immagine Apple would eliminate in a reorg and are easily available via AppleScript. (I don’t think they show up in exif metadata, which is odd.)

The backup is always a good idea.

EDIT Tropy is fine with symlinks, but not Mac aliases. The latter continue to work in the OS when a file is moved or renamed; the former do not.