General Problems and Solutions

Some problems you may experience in iPhoto aren't related to particular activities. Others are, and subsequent pages in this chapter will address issues with importing, editing, slideshows, printing, and more.

Performance Problems

If you find iPhoto slow to perform certain operations, try these tricks. Some are obvious (if expensive); others less so:

  • Turn off title, rating, and keyword display using the View menu.

  • Shrink thumbnails to a smaller size.

  • Use the triangles next to film rolls to hide thumbnails you don't need to see.

  • Quit other programs that are running. In my experience, there is usually one culprit (likely the Classic environment), which you can identify by launching Activity Monitor from your Utilities folder and clicking the %CPU column title to see which applications are using the most processor time.

  • Restart your Mac by choosing Restart from the Apple menu. Restarting is especially helpful if you don't have much free disk space, which cramps Mac OS X's virtual memory techniques.

  • Check your disk with DiskWarrior (; sufficient disk corruption can cause huge performance problems on startup.

  • Add more RAM to your Mac. iPhoto works with 256 MB of RAM, but it likes a lot more, and RAM is cheap. I always recommend at least 512 MB.

  • Buy a faster Mac. That's always fun.

Photos Disappear

Some people report having troubles with photos disappearing from iPhoto's display pane, even when the files are still present in the iPhoto Library folder (see "iPhoto Directory Structure" in Chapter 2, "Importing and Managing Photos"). Try the following procedure to fix the problem, keeping in mind that you may lose your albums, keywords, and titles. Follow these steps after backing up your iPhoto Library folder:


Hold down while clicking the iPhoto icon in the Dock to launch it. This causes iPhoto to display the Rebuild Photo Library dialog.

Try each of the options, quitting and relaunching in between attempts, and see if one of them fixes the problem. If not...


Drag your corrupt iPhoto Library folder to the Desktop, and launch iPhoto to create a new iPhoto Library.


-drag the Library6.iPhoto file, and the Modified and Originals folders into the new iPhoto Library folder to copy them into it. Launch iPhoto with and select the first two checkboxes to rebuild all the thumbnails. If that doesn't help...


Repeat step 2 to create yet another new iPhoto Library folder, and then manually drag the year folders contained in the Originals folder into iPhoto to import them. If you want, repeat with the contents of the Modified folder, but don't import any exact duplicates.

Unfortunately, I can't figure out any way to trick iPhoto into connecting the modified versions of photos to the originals you restored in step 4, so you'll have to sort out which version of each modified photo you want to keep.

Flaky Behavior or Crashes

Sometimes iPhoto just acts strangely, and I've come up with a few ways of dealing with weird behavior (make sure you have a backup before deleting any files!):

  • Quit iPhoto and relaunch it.

  • Restart your Mac by choosing Restart from the Apple menu.

  • Quit iPhoto. From the Preferences folder inside your user's Library folder, drag the file to the Desktop and launch iPhoto again.

  • Hold down while clicking the iPhoto icon in the Dock to launch it. In the Rebuild Photo Library dialog, try each of the options, quitting and relaunching in between attempts, and see if one of them fixes the problem.

  • Use iPhoto Library Manager's Rebuild Library command, which uses the AlbumData.xml file written by iPhoto to recreate the library, which is a completely different method from what iPhoto uses.

  • Quit iPhoto. From the iPhoto Library folder, drag the files,,, and AlbumData.xml to the Desktop and launch iPhoto again. Don't touch any other files in the iPhoto Library folder, especially Library6.iPhoto!

  • Run Disk Utility and use the buttons in the First Aid tab to verify and repair both permissions and the disk.

  • Reinstall a fresh copy of iPhoto, deleting the old one first.

  • Try creating a new iPhoto Library folder and re-importing your photos from the Originals and Modified folders.

Other Problems

Here are a few other general problems and their solutions:

  • If other iApps can't see your photos, or if some photos or albums are missing, quit all the iApps, drag the file AlbumData.xml from the iPhoto Library to the Desktop, launch iPhoto, create a new album, quit iPhoto, and try the other programs again.

  • If you have trouble with iPhoto's photo sharing or the sharing tools that upload data, shut off or bypass your firewall to see if it's blocking necessary ports.

  • If iPhoto complains about being unable to establish a connection when uploading to .Mac, make sure the date is set correctly in the Date & Time preference pane in System Preferences.

  • If mailing a photo in Apple's Mail doesn't result in an enclosure, and another user on the Mac has successfully attached a photo in the same session, restart the Mac and try again.

  • If you've ended up with duplicate photos for some reason, you can delete them with the iPhoto Diet utility from Make sure iPhoto Diet has been updated for iPhoto 6 (it hadn't as of press time) and make a backup before running it!

Report Your Problems!

Report any problems you may have by choosing Provide iPhoto Feedback from the iPhoto menu and then filling in Apple's Web-based feedback form.

iPhoto 6 for Mac OS X. Visual QuickStart Guide
iPhoto 6 for Mac OS X
ISBN: 0321423313
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 225
Authors: Adam Engst

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