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How Do I Upgrade To The Latest Version Of Photos On My Mac?

In my previous article, we got a question ‘How do I upgrade to the latest version of photos on my Mac?’. iPhoto is dead. If you want to continue storing and manipulating your photos in the Apple ecosystem, you have to upgrade to the latest version of Photos on your Mac.
Since macOS Catalina, iPhoto has stopped working completely on Macs. The new Apple unveil, Photos, has proved to be even better for photo storage and organization, and once you upgrade, there is no going back.
If you don’t have the latest version of Photos, it is either because you have an outdated computer running pre-Mojave

Why update photos on Mac?

There are lots of reasons the new Photos app is simply better than the older but loved photos. In this section, we list some of them to encourage you to upgrade fast.

Seamless iCloud synchronization

You don’t have to send your pictures over Bluetooth anymore. When you take a picture on your iPhone, it is automatically uploaded to your iCloud, and it will be available on all of your devices, including your Mac on the fly.
If you’re scared of the privacy implications, you’d be relieved to learn that it only works when you want, and only if you have an internet connection. You can turn it off.

AI Segmentation

Do you want to keep scrolling through an endless list of photos just to find one image?
That latest Photos update on your Mac will take care of that, with the intelligent algorithm that hides duplicate photos and highlights your best shots.

How Do I Upgrade To The Latest Version Of Photos On My Mac?

Update your Mac

If you still have iPhotos on your computer, it means you’re still running a terribly outdated version of the macOS operating system.
To update to the latest version of Photos, you’ll need to operate your operating system to the latest version, first.
Apple Photos was introduced in macOS High Sierra in 2017 and has consistently been featured in macOS versions ever since.

If you want to try Photos, you have to upgrade to macOS High Sierra, at least. If you want to use the latest version of Photos, however, you will need to upgrade to macOS Big Sur, which is the latest version of the operating system.
To upgrade to macOS Big Sur;
Open System Preferences from the menu. Select “Software Update” to open the updates screen.
All the uninstalled updates will be listed on this page. If you have macOS Big Sur listed here, that means your computer is capable of running the latest version of Photos for Mac. Otherwise, continue reading this article and you’ll find a fix.

What to do if updates are unavailable

If you tried to upgrade your Mac to macOS Big Sur (that allows you to run the latest version of Photos), that might mean your computer is too old to run the newest software update.
In that case, there are only a few options left.

Buy a new Mac

Yes, that’s the most feasible option in that situation. Photos only work on Macs, iPhones, and iPads. If you want the full Apple Photos experience on your desktop, you might want to consider throwing away your 2012 MacBook and buying another.
The new M1 MacBook Pro comes with the latest version of macOS Big Sur and Apple Photos out of the box, so you won’t ever need to come back to this article.

Install the latest macOS with a patch

There are several patches available on the internet that will let you install macOS Big Sur on an old unsupported Mac.
While we don’t endorse any of these, they are worth trying if you need to run the latest version of Photos, and you don’t have a thousand dollars to spare on a new MacBook.
Just be aware that you might brick your MacBook in the process (just joking, it’s highly unlikely).

Find an alternative

Yes, there are equally good photo management and editing apps that work on really old Macs. Google Photos is a good candidate, and it supports seamless syncing if you can afford to get the app for your iPhone too.
If you hate Google (like me), you can try Adobe Lightroom, which is even more robust with a lot more features.

How to import your old iPhotos library to Photos

Now that you’ve successfully updated to the latest version of photos on your Mac, what about your photos?
Are they gone forever?
I don’t think they are. There are some ways by which you can import your old iPhotos library into the new Photos. If that’s exactly what you’re planning to do, follow the steps below.


If you use iPhotos on a Mac, and you updated the Mac to a Photos compatible macOS version, you should get all your photos synced automatically, provided you have only one photo library.
If your photos didn’t sync properly, or you ran into issues while trying to migrate your photos, you can refer to the tips below.

Use the iPhotos library upgrader

Manually migrating a library from Photos (or Aperture) involves the following steps.
Download and install the iPhotos library upgrader tool. This is required to make libraries created with older versions of iPhotos work well on your Mac.

Open the iPhoto Library Upgrader and choose the library you want to upgrade.
Click continue and wait until you see a confirmation message.
Once you see a confirmation message, your library can now be imported into Photos. Launch the Photos app, holding down the option key to open the library selection.
Select the iPhoto library you just upgraded and wait for Photos to import the library.


iPhotos is great, the new Photos app is even greater. No wonder everyone wants to get their Macs running on the latest version of the legendary Apple photo management software.
In this article, I walked you through the steps required to update your Apple Photos app to the latest version, as well as what to do even if you’re unable to update to the latest version of the macOS operating system.

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