Author Topic: Observatory on 2 MacBook Pros  (Read 283 times)


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Observatory on 2 MacBook Pros
« on: December 07, 2022, 05:56:27 PM »
Hi, I am new to Observatory. I have 2 MacBook Pro’s that I have installed on. I keep the imported image files and my first project file on my iCloud Drive. I was hoping to be able to open the project on either MacBook but it only works on the one I created the project on.

When opening the same project on the second MacBook I see my images but the are all marked with red exclamation points and I get an error reading master when I double click on an image. I’ve quit Observatory on the other MacBook. Should this work, or is it not possible to use the same project on two different computers?


Rick McMaster

Sander Berents

  • Global Moderator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 149
    • Code Obsession
Re: Observatory on 2 MacBook Pros
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2022, 09:50:19 AM »
Hi Rick,

Observatory wasn't designed for sharing libraries between computers, but it can be done if you always close the library on one Mac before opening it on another one. The red exclamation mark you are seeing on the second Mac is because Observatory is sandboxed and the way it stores the links to the images. When you open the library on the second Mac, macOS requires Observatory to get your permission to access those links. Because the libraries only contain one link per image, that overwrites the permissions you gave for the first Mac, and so you have to repeat this every time you switch between Macs. I have some ideas about how to resolve this, but I haven't investigated those further.

To share a library between computers using iCloud, do the following:

  • Close the library on the first Mac.
  • Open it on the second Mac.
  • At the bottom of the sidebar, expand "Source Folders".
  • Right click the root folder of your images, and choose "Locate Source Folder".
  • In the dialog box that is displayed, make sure the selected folder is the correct one, and click "Locate". Unless you moved the folder, Observatory will select the right one, so it only involves clicking that "Locate" button. Locating folders like this works recursively, so it is best to have one top level folder for your images in the library.
  • Now you can see the images on your second Mac.
  • If you save the library, you will need to repeat these steps for the other Mac again when you open it.
  • Always close the library on one Mac before opening it on another one.

When sharing a library like this, it's best to use iCloud. Although libraries can also be shared with a NAS, that leads to a very poor performance. Images can be stored on a NAS, but it is best to always have the library locally on your computer (which is what iCloud does) because Observatory needs quick access to thumbnails and other information that is stored in there.
Sander Berents
Code Obsession, LLC


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Observatory on 2 MacBook Pros
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2022, 11:22:02 PM »
Thanks! That worked.