Several Mac users have reported that they are unable to open the Photos app. When they want to open the app, they see the following error message:
Photos cannot find the System Photo Library. You can open another library and set it as the System Photo Library in Preferences.
Sometimes, this message may say “Photos cannot find the System Photo Library named “Photos Library.photoslibrary”.
This is an important problem. This problem will prevent you from viewing, editing, or sharing your photos on your Mac. If you are having this problem, please try the steps below in order. Furthermore, after trying each step below, try to open Photos on your Mac again to see if you’ve fixed your issue.
Photos for Mac lets you manage your photos and videos on your computer.
Important: You may want to back up your photo library before you do anything. There are several options you can try to backup:
- You can use Time Machine.
- You can use a third-party service or app.
- You can use an external drive. Your Pictures folder contains your photo library.
1. Update your Mac
Update your Mac, as this may resolve your problem. Updating macOS will also update the Photos app because Photos is an integral part of macOS. You can install updates automatically or manually. Here is how you can update your Mac:
- If you are using macOS Mojave or later: Click System Preferences and Software Update. This will check for updates. And there is an update available click the Update Now button. If you want to turn on automatic updates, check the “automatically keep my Mac up to date” box.
- If you are using macOS High Sierra or earlier: Open the App Store and click Updates.
2. Safe Mode
Restart your Mac in Safe Mode. Safe Mode clears caches and repairs disks and may fix your issue. Here is how:
- Turn off your Mac.
- Turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold the Shift key.
- Keep holding the Shift key until you see the login window.
- Log in.
- Now try to open Photos. Can you open it?
- Restart your Mac normally (do not press the Shift key).
- Then again try to open Photos.
3. Create a new library
There may be issues with your library. Let’s create a new library to see if this fixes the problem. Here is how:
- Quit Photos.
- On your keyboard, press and hold the Option key.
- While holding the key, open Photos on your Mac.
- Keep holding the key until you see the “Choose Library” window.
- Click the Create New button. Then create a new library. Test to see if you can open this new library.
- If not, to return your original library quit Photos, then open Photos while pressing the Option key and then select the library and click the “Choose Library” button.
You can also designate a System Photo Library. You may want to do this if you have more than one library. Here is how:
- Open the library (open Photos while pressing the Option key and then select the library).
- Click Photos > Preferences.
- Click the General tab.
- Click Use as System Photo Library.
4. Repair Library tool
You can use the Photos library repair feature to fix this problem. This tool will fix if your photo library database is corrupted. This process may take time. Here is how:
- Quit Photos.
- Press and hold the Option and Command keys together.
- While pressing these keys, open Photos.
- Release the keys when you see the “Repair Library” window.
- Click Repair and follow the onscreen instructions.