"Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Mike Boreham Senior Member • Posts: 1,508
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

RSSrsvp wrote:

Mike Boreham wrote:

RSSrsvp wrote:

Over the weekend I upgraded to Catalina from High Sierra and discovered I couldn't use my Microsoft Office apps (Outlook, Word, Excel and Power Point because they were 32 bit. I used the Data Migration tool and rolled back to High Sierra. My photos are stored on an external hard drive and I discovered the following message when I attempted to open my Photos app. I then upgraded to Mojave which still supports 32 bit apps and this message still appears. I have 166GB of photos stored on the external drive and frankly and I am freaking out! How do I recover these pictures?

This is normal between major OS upgrades and some point releases.

Is the the Photos Library your iCloud Photos Library? If so you can just delete the unsupported local copy (which has been upgraded for Catalina) from your High Sierra volume and download a fresh one from iCloud, which will be High Sierra compatible of course.

If it is not your iCloud library, you could restore from Time Machine or other backup, but I guess you don't have a backup or you wouldn't be asking.

If neither of the above apply the only thing I can suggest at the moment is:

1. Install Catalina temporarily on an external, and sign in to iCloud on it.

2. While booted on the temporary Catalina make this Catalina standard library your iCloud Photos library (you might have to buy some storage for a month to get this done)

3. Let it upload to iCloud.

4. Sign in to iCloud on your High Sierra installation,

5. Download the library to your High Sierra installation

6. Turn off iCloud Photos on the High Sierra install (or leave it as your iCloud Photos Library)

There may be other ways someone will suggest.

Hi Mike,

Many thanks for the quick reply. Right now I am running Mojave which I upgraded to after getting this "unsupported library" message when I downgraded to High Sierra hoping that Mojave would be able to open it. I have never stored my photos on iCloud and they are only on my backup drive.

I could upgrade from Mojave to Catalina but I would not be able to use my Microsoft for Mac 2011 apps and I rely on Outlook for communicating.

Buying extra iCloud storage isn't a big deal but I cannot even open up the Photos app on the external drive in order to transfer it the pictures to iCloud. Am I not understanding the steps to do this properly.

You will have to create a temporary Catalina installation somewhere to make this unsupported library usable. When you have done that you can upload it to iCloud from Catalina, then download a new local copy to Mojave or HighSierra. Then you can the delete the temporary Catalina install. It has served its purpose.
I would recommend keeping it as your iCloud lib on HS or Mojave. For £2.49 per month you have a live backup and syncing to all devices.

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