I tried installing iLife '11 even though I unknowingly already had it installed and I quit midway through the process. Now my iPhoto is screwed up and it has a white disabled picture for an icon.

When I click on it, it says

You can't open the application iPhoto because it may be damaged or incomplete.

How can I fix this? I'm pretty sure all my pictures are still saved somewhere but will everything still be in place once I fix my iPhoto?

2 Answers 2


First of all, don't worry. Your iPhoto picture data is stored in ~/Pictures/iPhoto Library. Thus, you can easily go ahead and make a backup of that whole folder just to be sure. If you ever find it deleted (which I highly doubt), just restore it as it was before.

Try to install it yet another time – but the installer run until it's finished.

If that doesn't work: "uninstall" the iPhoto.app by just deleting the file from /Applications and subsequently from your Trash. Also open a Terminal and paste the following:

sudo find /var/db/receipts -iname "*iphoto*" -delete

Then, try to install iPhoto once again.

  • Thanks! How can I reinstall it? Do I need a cd?
    – Seany242
    May 19, 2012 at 17:57
  • Well where did you install it from originally? It comes on the disc delivered with your Mac if it's Snow Leopard, for example.
    – slhck
    May 19, 2012 at 18:57
  • I ordered my mac online from apple and I don't think it came with a cd, it was just on the computer.
    – Seany242
    May 23, 2012 at 1:51
  • Well, you said "I tried installing iLife '11" so I guessed that you had an installer. The Mac App Store should have the iLife apps if the Mac runs OS X Lion. If you can't install them through the App Store, you might need to fix your Apple ID's purchases through telephone support or even an Apple Store.
    – slhck
    May 23, 2012 at 7:18
  • Yea sorry, that is a little misleading. My friend let me borrow it and that's when I screwed it up. If I try installing iLife '11 again, wouldn't it reinstall all of the apps I have in iLife? I just want iPhoto back. And the mac app store sells them for $15 with no recognition that I already owned the app so I don't want to waste $15.
    – Seany242
    May 23, 2012 at 22:40

For some reason my iPhoto suddenly reported "damaged" when it HAD been working for over a year.

The solution for me was to delete iPhoto (right-click or control-click , and select Move to Trash. Then I went to the Applications/Utilities folder and started up Terminal so that I could enter the

sudo find /var/db/receipts -iname "*iphoto*" -delete

command mentioned above. Finally, under the Apple menu (the Apple icon in the top-left corner of the screen), I opened the App Store, and in the App Store I selected Purchased, where it showed that I could install iPhoto.

Once that install was completed I could open iPhoto on my computer and I had full access to my entire photo collection.

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