Photos not working for you? Get iPhoto back after upgrading to OS X Yosemite 10.10.3

Don’t like the new Photos app in OS X Yosemite 10.10.3? Apple didn’t remove iPhoto from your computer; it was only removed from your dock. Before you go back, however, make sure that you’ve looked around the new Photos app to confirm that the feature you want isn’t there. The new Photos app is very sparse, but there are many menus and customizations that are hidden from view but you’ll find if you dig. Here are some of the things many people don’t realize are there:

  • Your library converts. Your old iPhoto library should automatically convert to Photos, keeping your photos, albums, and printed books intact. If it doesn’t convert the first time you load Photos you can drag your iPhoto Library file onto the Photos app to start the conversion.
  • Delete instantly. Instead of pressing delete on your keyboard and then having to click the delete button to confirm, which can be tedious, pressing Command-Delete will instantly remove the photo. Be careful though!
  • Sidebar. Miss the old sidebar navigation rather than the tab navigation on the top? Click the “View” menu and “Show Sidebar”.
  • Choose a different default email program. If you use another program such as Outlook for your mail, you can switch the default email program for emailing photos within Outlook’s preferences or within Apple Mail’s references (under the General tab).
  • Navigate quickly through thumbnails within the same group or album. Turn on split view in the “View” menu, “Show Split View”.
  • Customize Adjustments such as Color, Light, White Balance. After clicking the Adjustments button you can click the “Add” button at the top of the list. When you have built the tool palette you want to keep, that same menu has an option to “Save as Default”.

iPhoto iconGetting back to iPhoto

Note: if you’ve already begun to use the Photos app, the changes you have made to the library will not be sent back to iPhoto. In other words, iPhoto and your iPhoto library are still in the state they were last time you used it.

Launch iPhoto

iPhoto is still in your Applications folder. You can navigate there using Finder or Launch Pad (the silver rocket ship icon, unless you have removed that from your dock). But personally I find the easiest way to launch a program to be to use Spotlight. Simply click the magnifying glass in the top right corner of your screen near your clock (or press Command-Spacebar) and then begin typing the name of the program you want to run. When it shows up use your arrow keys to highlight it on the list of matches if it isn’t already and then press return to launch.

When you quit iPhoto it will disappear from your dock again unless you click and hold the icon on your dock until a menu pops up. Then choose “Option”, “Keep in Dock”.

Upgrading iPhoto to a compatible version

If iPhoto refuses to run because the version is not compatible it just needs to be upgraded to the final version of iPhoto.

Upgrade using Apple Store. If you are running at least iPhoto 9 (iPhoto ’11) then you should be able to upgrade yourself. Have your Apple account (Apple ID, iTunes, iCloud account; they are all interchangeable names for the same account). Go to the Apple menu and choose “App Store…”. Switch to the “Updates” tab. A few moments later it should show up on the updates list. If it does not show up, try switching to the Purchases tab. Sometimes it shows up there. If you click the button to update iPhoto and nothing happens, try switching over to the Purchases tab because sometimes that tab for some reason has a far more accurate progress bar. This could take a few hours (or even overnight) if you’re on DSL but it should only take a few minutes or seconds if you’re on cable or fiber.

If it doesn’t offer to upgrade iPhoto for you, you’ll need to follow the next section to contact customer service.

Upgrade with the help of customer service. If, however, iPhoto isn’t offered as an upgrade and it is not on your purchase list, it probably means you are running iPhoto 8 (or iPhoto ’09) or earlier and you will need to contact Apple for an iPhoto download code. Visit and choose Get Started > Apps & Software > Mac Apps > Photos > Topic Not Listed. Tell them that you need a download code for iPhoto and then choose how you would like Apple to contact you. I know, this sounds like a convoluted process for customer service, but Apple’s way of doing this helps you avoid waiting on hold or having to navigate a complex system of touch tone prompts.