Possible errors | Migrating Apple Photos to Lightroom

Resolve possible issues while migrating photos and videos from Apple Photos to Lightroom.

Could not access Apple Photos Library

Error: Could not access Apple Photos Library.

Error: Could not access Apple Photos Library

This issue can occur when one of the following happens:

  • Apple Photos Library is corrupted or damaged. This can happen when the Apple Photos database is corrupted.
  • Apple Photos Library is locked and inaccessible. This can happen when the Apple Photos database is locked by a viewer application of services working on Photos Library for updating the data.
  • Your copy of Lightroom may not be genuine.
  • Lightroom has not been given the access to Apple Photos Library.

Solution: Do one of the following:

  • Ensure that Apple Photos Library is not damaged or locked and try again. To learn more, refer to the Apple's documentation How to use the Photos library repair tool
  • On your Mac machine, select System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy. In the left column, select Photos and then select Adobe Lightroom in the right column to allow Lightroom access to Apple Photos.
Security & Privacy

  • In Apple Photos > Preferences, set at least one Apple Photos Library as System Photos Library.
  • When you begin the Apple Photos migration, a dialog box that requests access to your photos is displayed. In this dialog box, ensure that you click OK. If you are unable to view this dialog box, check your pop-up settings and grant this access.
Adobe Lightroom would like to access your photos

Apple Photos is busy

Error: Apple Photos works on HEIF images and videos in order to make them ready for migration. While the processing is going on, some assets might not be available for migration. This processing may take several minutes based on the number and size of HEIF assets.

Apple Photos is Busy

Solution: Wait for a few minutes for Apple Photos to complete the processing so that all the assets can be migrated. Click Check Again if the error is still displayed.

This error can be displayed when there is a mismatch between the number of assets in the Photos Library and those which are available for migration. If the Apple Photos is Busy dialog box is displayed and stuck for a long time, do the following:

  • Ensure that all the originals are in the local disk.
  • Check the number of HEIF/RAW assets in your Photo Library. Based on the size of the assets and system configuration, it may take 5-30 seconds per asset.
  • Ensure that your system does not enter sleep mode when migration is in progress.

If the error dialog box is still displayed, there can be few assets that cannot be converted and hence there is a mismatch in count. Click Continue Anyway in this case.

Not enough cloud storage

Error: Not enough cloud storage. Please upgrade your storage limit. Once you reach your current limit, new photos will not be synced to the Creative Cloud and will only be stored locally.

Solution: This message is a warning rather than an error. You can use Lightroom without syncing everything to the Cloud, but some of your files will not be backed up nor accessible from other devices. It is recommended to visit your Account Management Plans page on Adobe.com to explore the upgrade options.

See related helpful information at:

Not enough space on main volume

Error: The main volume does not have enough free space to continue with migration. Lightroom requires enough space to copy your photos and videos before they are uploaded to the cloud. Even if you want to store the migrated assets on an external disk, main volume space is required for previews, databases, and more.

Solution: Free up space on your main volume and retry migration.

Burst photos detected

Error: Only key photo of a burst set is available for migration.

Burst photos detected

Solution: If you want other photos in the burst set to be migrated to Lightroom, visit your Apple Photos Library and expand the burst and select all the frames of the burst that you want to migrate.

No assets available for migration

This error message lets you know that none of the Apple Photos Library assets are available to Lightroom for migration. Hence, the migration cannot continue.

No assets available for migration


The following types of assets are not available for migration:

  • Hidden or deleted photos
  • Photos with originals that are not stored locally
  • Photos with missing originals

Solution: Ensure that there are non-zero assets available for migration in your Photos Library that has been set as System Photo Library.

Insufficient disk space

Error: Not enough disk space to complete the migration. Lightroom needs enough space to copy your photos and videos before uploading to the cloud.

Solution: Before Lightroom can import your photos and videos, it copies them to a new location on your local system. Over time, as they are backed up to the Cloud, Lightroom may remove these large and original files and replace them with smaller and smart previews to save disk space. The process of the initial copy can require large space.

If you see this error, you can direct Lightroom to store original files on a separate drive. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. From the error message, note down the amount of space that you require.

  2. In Lightroom, select Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Lightroom > Preferences (Mac).

  3. Select the Local Storage panel. Now click Change Location to select a drive with the minimum amount of free space recommended in the above error message.


While migrating the Apple Photos Library, Lightroom creates a database and Smart Previews on your local hard drive to enable viewing and editing of your images during migration. This can take up significant extra space, that can be as much as 20% of the size of your catalog and original files. Especially when migrating large catalogs, ensure that you have that amount of free space on your local drive.

Photos Library already migrated

Error: Already migrated. You already moved this Photos Library to Lightroom.

Photos Library already migrated

Solution: Starting from Lightroom desktop version 2.3, you can re-migrate your Photos library. However, migration of a Photos library multiple times can lead to duplicates in Lightroom.

Before you can re-migrate an already migrated library, delete all assets and album structure from the previous migration in the folder 'Migrated_PhotosLibrary_Name'. In some cases, you can also remove the entire Lightroom library and start over again.

Lightroom is not up to date

Error: Please update Lightroom and try again. 

Solution: If you see this error, check the Creative Cloud desktop app for a newer version of Lightroom.

Not connected to power source

Error: Migration is a power intensive process, it is recommended that the device is connected to power source before continuing with migration.

Not connected to power source

Solution: Connect the device to power source.

Failed migration

Error: Failed migration can occur due to several reasons such as:

  • Corrupted data in your Photos library.
  • Low RAM or poor CPU performance.
Migration is not successful


  • If no asset was migrated, you can re-migrate the Photos Library. If the 'Photos Library already migrated' error is displayed, click Continue Anyway.
  • If the Photos Library was partially migrated or the migration stopped before it was complete, delete all assets and album structure from the migration in the folder 'Migrated_PhotosLibrary_Name' and re-migrate the Library.
  • Disable sync and migrate the Apple Photos Library.


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