Photos Disappeared or Lost on Mac after Update? 6 Solutions

Rosa Reyes
October 11, 2022 Preview 51.9K Preview 1
share it facebook share it Twitter

You may have upgraded your Mac from Monterey to Ventura beta, or from Big Sur to Monterey, or finally decide to update from a previous version (such as Mojave, or High Sierra) to Catalina, looking forward to experiencing new awesome features and increased performance.

However, unexpected errors may occur after Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina or other version’s update, the commonest one is that your photos in Photos app lost/disappeared from your Mac, or photos missing because the originals cannot be found on your Mac. Don’t be panic, we have 6 solutions for you to recover lost/disappeared/missing Mac photos and photo albums.

Why Have Photos Disappeared from Mac and Where Did They Go?

There are many reasons that lead to disappeared photos on Mac, but it is hard to determine what is exactly the reason to cause such an error, unless we test and exclude one by one. Anyway, following are probably the reasons that why your photos get disappeared from your Mac:

  • Mac crashes when updating to latest macOS
  • macOS conflicts with apps on your Mac and cause data loss
  • Not enough space for macOS update and data is overwritten
  • Accidentally delete the photos or someone else mistakenly delete
  • You have set up the iCloud Photo sync across different devices, but the iCloud Photo Library is disabled on your Mac, so the photos don’t sync up and missing

Therefore, as first aids to find or recover lost photos after mac update, you can enable iCloud sync, go to Trash bin, scan and remove malware, delete unwanted files to get more space. Or just search your pictures folder to make sure if your photos are still there on your Mac: click on Apple Menu>Go>Go to Folder>Input “~/Pictures/”>Go, check the Pictures folder or other folders you may use to save photos on your mac.

check pic

All Photos Disappeared from Mac after Update? Here's the Quick Fix!

The fastest and most straightforward way to recover lost or disappeared photos on Mac after update is using a piece of data recovery tool, it saves your time and even brings some valuable data back to your MacBook Pro or Air. Cisdem Data Recovery for Mac— the best method for recovering lost images, videos, songs, etc. from both the internal Mac hard drive and external storage devices. It supports an extensive number of formats and drive types. If your pictures missing after upgrade to Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur or Catalina in the absence of a time machine backup, you can recover them using this software.

Why Cisdem Data Recovery for Mac?

  • Restore files lost due to deletion, formatting, system crash, power off
  • Recover data from both internal and external hard drive
  • Restore 200+ file formats: video, audio, image, document, etc.
  • Repair corrupted videos
  • Quickly search files with keyword, file size, date created or modified
  • Preview files before recovery
  • Recover files to local drive or Cloud (Dropbox, OneDrive, GoogleDrive, pCloud, Box)
  • Quick access to Trash, Desktop, Downloads, etc
  • Save scan result for next scanning
  • Show all/lost/hidden files
  • High recovery rate

Easy Steps to Recover Lost or Disappeared Photos on Mac After OS Update

  • Step 1. Install the program.
    Download and install the free trial of Cisdem Photo Recovery on your Mac, and then run it.
    Free Download
  • Step 2. Choose the location for lost or disappeared photos.
    Go to Disk Data Recovery, choose the location where stored the lost photos on your Mac.choose a mode
  • Step 3. Scan and find the disappeared or lost photos.
    Click Search for lost files button to start scanning the hard drive, go to Type>Pictures and check the photos of different format.choose a disk
  • Step 4. Preview and Recover disappeared photos on Mac.
    Double click on the photos to preview, select the photos and click on Recover to get them back.found files

With this, the procedure to recover disappeared images after upgrading to new macOS is completed successfully.

Restore Photo Library on Mac to Get Back Disappeared Photos

Photo library is the database where all photo files, thumbnails, metadata info, etc. stored. If you find the library folder but see no photos in it, then it may get corrupted. But luckily, Photos app allow users to Repair your photo library when photos or photo albums lost/disappeared for no reason, become unreadable or just missing.

1. Before doing Library First Aid, it's always a good idea to backup your hard drive firstly with either Time Machine or another method;

2. You may need to wait a few minutes or several hours for Photos to fix. In my case, while doing Library First Aid I can still use my Mac though it is a little sluggish during the process.

  1. Quit Photos app if it’s launched.
  2. Press the keys- Option and Command while you re-open Photos.
  3. In the pop-up Repair Library dialog, click on “Repair” to recover lost photos on mac after update. (Account and password may be needed for authorizing the Library Repair.)Recover Lost Photos via Repair Library
  4. Wait for the Repair process to finish, then your photo library will be opened automatically and now you can check your photos.recover photo library

The process might stop syncing photos with iCloud. So it’d better to check it by navigating to Photos > Preferences > iCloud once the process is finished.

Photos Missing from Photo Library? Find Original! 

Sometimes, we don't get a correct setting for our Photos app, like we leave “Copy items to the Photo library” unchecked, so when we view our photos in Photos but later moved the photos to an external hard drive after Mac update, once we want to check the photos again, they became “missing” on your Mac since the original ones are not found. In this case, we need to restore these missing photos by Consolidate.

  1. Launch Photos app, go to Preferences>General, check the box before “Copy items to the Photos library”.recover missing photos mac
  2. Click on one of the “missing” photos, and continue with Find Original.recover missing photos 02
  3. Then navigate to the drive or folder where you stored the original photos.
  4. Then select all these original photos, go to File>Consolidate, now all the photos won't be referenced and saved in an external hard drive, they are moved to your photo library.recover missing photos 03

3 Free Ways to Recover Lost Photos after Mac Update

If there is no issue about your photo library and you just want to try other methods before installing Cisdem Data Recovery on your Mac, here are 3 free options to fix lost photos from Mac after update.

#1 Recover Lost Photos after Mac Update from Recently Deleted

If your Mac photos albums disappeared after macOS Ventura or Monterey update, have a look at the "Recently Deleted" album in Photos app.

  1. Open Photos app.
  2. Click the “Recently Deleted” tab from the left side.
  3. Choose the thumbnails of your lost photos.
  4. Click on the “Recover” button on the upper-right corner to restore missing files after Mac update.Recover Lost Photos from Recently Deleted

Matters need attention:

  • The photos items in the “Recently Deleted” album only give you 30-day grace period before getting rid of them to the ground.
  • Enable iCloud and get your photos backed up on iCloud as well.

#2 Restore Photos after Mac Update with Time Machine

Still not able to recover Photo library after Mac update, now take a crack at Time Machine restore, if you have enabled and set up the Time Machine backup.

Restore Lost Photos after Update with Time Machine

How to Recover Lost Photos on Mac after Update with Time Machine

  1. If the Photos is open, choose Photos > Quit Photos.
  2. Click Apple menu > choose System Preferences and > click on Time Machine.
  3. In the Time Machine menu, select Enter Time Machine, and it will take you to Time Machine on Mac.
  4. Time Machine will show you all available backups. Click the date of your last backup and select the lost photos that you want to restore and you can also press the space bar to preview the photo.time machine photos
  5. Click the Restore button and the image file will be restored to the original location on Mac. Depending on the size of your file, it may take some time for your library to be restored.

#3 Restore Lost Photos on Mac with iCloud Backup

Still using iPhoto app on your Mac and working on an earlier macOS? Even your iPhoto library gets disappeared after mac update, we can still restore.

In the case that you don’t have a Time Machine backup but enabled iCloud backup, go check your iCloud account and find if the photos are still up there in the cloud, because there is a chance that you’ve disabled the iCloud update on Mac before the photos went lost from Mac. If it is a positive answer, download the photos from your iCloud to your Mac again for recovery.

  1. Visit in your broweser, login in.
  2. Go to Library>Photos, select the photos that you want to recover to your Mac.
  3. Then click on the Download icon and find the photos in Downloads folder.restore photos icloud

Final Words

Our Mac may store years or months of photos, they are valuable and we can’t afford to lose them. But chances are that they can be deleted or missing during the process of Mac upgrading. So, It is necessary to back up the entire Mac drive before upgrading to new Ventura or Monterey or other versions. You can back up them to multiple devices or using cloud service such as Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.

Once data loss occurs, just stay calm, and follow the methods above to recover lost or disappeared photos on Mac after update. The most helpful and all-in-one solution I think is to install a Mac photo recovery software or service.

Rosa Reyes
share it facebook share it Twitter

Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.

share it facebook share it Twitter
Comments (1) Leave a Reply

Name *

Comment *

  • William

    Thanks Cisdem Data Recovery. I tried nearly all tips to find back my precious photos lost after my macOS up to Monterey, which were taken on my grandma's 75th birthday, but I failed. Cisdem has done it successfully.

    0 months ago Reply

    Name *

    Comment *

Hot Articles

Easy Steps to Downgrade Big Sur to Catalina without Losing Data How to Restore Contacts from Time Machine after Ventura or Monterey Upgrade 5 Ways to Recover Deleted or Unsaved Numbers Spreadsheet on Mac
Home > Photos Disappeared or Lost on Mac after Update? 6 Solutions