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Faces problems; intrinsic to iPhoto '11 or due to library upgrade from '09?

11055 Views 31 Replies Latest reply: Oct 23, 2013 7:59 PM by BangerT RSS
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KRDHarris Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Nov 24, 2010 10:25 AM
I have been experiencing many problems with Faces in iPhoto '11 that I did not see in iPhoto'09. Can anyone tell me whether these are most likely bugs currently intrinsic to iPhoto '11, or caused by the upgrade of my 20,000+ photo library from iPhoto '09 to iPhoto '11? Has anyone found any workarounds for these problems?

Examples of Faces problems include:

(1) Photos in my Unnamed Faces smart folder (Face-is-unnamed) that show no unnamed faces
(2) Mis-matches between Info frame list of faces in the photo and the face frames visible in the photo
(3) Fewer photos appearing for face confirmation than stated; usually one less. Sometimes I am told there is one unconfirmed face, and none appear at all.
(4) iPhoto offering faces as possible matches that look (at least to me) nothing like the face in question, (although they may be in the same photo), but failing to offer identical or near-identical poses of it.
2.93 GHz i7 iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.5), iPhoto 9.1 ("iPhoto '11")
  • Martin and His Mac Calculating status...
    I'm experiencing the exact same issues since upgrading from iPhoto '09 to iPhoto '11. My biggest issue being the unnamed faces that can't be found on the photos themselves - your issue (1). Since upgrading, I have over 1000 photos in my library that now have unnamed faces. Yet, there's no empty unnamed face box in the photo. So frustrating!

    I called AppleCare and their response was to wipe out the iPhoto library and start again. Given the countless hours I have put into manually naming Faces and Places, this is not an option.

    Hopefully a fix is identified for us.

    Message was edited by: Martin and His Mac
    MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.5)
  • M Reagan Calculating status...
    Same 'unnamed' face problem here. Starting over is *absolutely not an option*. I have over 11k photos I've worked on for 3 years. Apple needs to figure this out or 'starting over' will be switching to a more stable product from another company. It's disappointing they suggested that.
    iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • Mike Mikovsky Calculating status...
    Let me throw my name on this thread as well. I just went through 4800 photos using the "Find Faces" function, to delete any face which I didn't want (i.e. strangers). While going through the list, I noticed that was getting a LOT of duplicates. After finally going through the whole list, when I exited iPhoto, and opened it back up, I immediately had 63 'unknown' faces. After going through the same list multiple times, I've finally realized that they're not going to go away.

    Opening the images in iPhoto 11, and looking at the INFO tab, it show that I have "X" number of unknown faces in a given photo, but on the image itself, there are no squares around anyone's face. This is an original picture, so there's no concern of the changes being stuck in a previous version.

    It seems that this is likely metadata related..hopefully, Apple releases a fix sooner rather than later.
    iMac 2.4, Mac OS X (10.6.5)
  • itsafire Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Same problems here. Count me in on (2) and (4).
    MacPro, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • Sylvios Calculating status...
    Same problems. Iphoto 11 freezes my computer each time it opens.
    Imac 2006, Mac OS X (10.6.5)
  • Ronald Hord1 Calculating status...
    MacBook Pro 3.06 GHz, Mac OS X (10.6.3), 4 GB Ram
  • Ronald Hord1 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Found a possible solution in this thread by Old Toad.
    MacBook Pro 3.06 GHz, Mac OS X (10.6.3), 4 GB Ram
  • Wally Bradford Calculating status...
    I just updated to iPhoto 9.1 and noticed that I had twenty photos in my Unnamed Faces smart folder, when I looked at the photos, I could find no unnamed faces in the photo. I realized that these were all cropped photos! When I "reverted to original", I found the unnamed face at the edge of the picture. I took care of the face and re-cropped the photo. The photo was eliminated from the smart folder.
    Macbook Pro, 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • rbgolfing Calculating status...

    I tried for the longest time to find a way to fix this.  Did all the steps outlined everywhere, still had pictures with "unnamed faces" but no box in the photo for me to either delete or identify the person.  For some, the cropping was the issue and the "face" was in the cropped area.  I tried the rebuild and nothing.

    The only way I found to do it was to export all the photos with this "bug" in them using "current" as Kind, then imported them back in.  It meant reidentifying people in those photos but it was quicker than the alternatives.  Now, did it fix all the problems...of course not.  still had a few with faces identified with no faces in the picture, had to do a "detect missing faces" on the photo and finally the spot where iPhoto thought there was a face appeared (or the same spots reappeared after x'ing them out before).


    I'm not sure if "current" as Kind was required during the export, perhaps "original" would have worked but I didn't mind losing the original as with most of my pictures, current and original were identical.


    Thanks and good luck.

  • MUSEcogit Calculating status...

    I have the same exact problem. I've sent many bug reports to Apple at

    Please, do it too.

  • gregfromhometown Calculating status...

    We upgraded to IPhoto11 have had problems also.  I have faces showing up in events.  I never put any of these people into the face recognition.  In some events I might have 50 or more faces.  I am also having problems with the exclamation point grey box when I try to bring a picture up.  We have contacted Apple.  We thought it had been taken care of but the problem is back.  Any advice?

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,640 points)

    The faces turn up in Events when someone accidentally imports the Library to another one


    The ! turns up when iPhoto loses the connection between the thumbnail in the iPhoto Window and the file it represents.


    Option 1

    Back Up and try rebuild the library: hold down the command and option (or alt) keys while launching iPhoto. Use the resulting dialogue to rebuild. Choose to Rebuild iPhoto Library Database from automatic backup.


    If that fails:


    Option 2

    Download iPhoto Library Manager and use its rebuild function. This will create a new library based on data in the albumdata.xml file. Not everything will be brought over - no slideshows, books or calendars, for instance - but it should get all your albums and keywords back.


    Because this process creates an entirely new library and leaves your old one untouched, it is non-destructive, and if you're not happy with the results you can simply return to your old one. .





  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (113,025 points)

    Definitely do as MUSEcogit recommends.  The more  reports Apple gets the more likely they'll take it seriously and we'll see a fix in the next update or two.

  • madjoew Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



    So I have the same issue of faces being re-recognised. I have found a solution, however I only had 3 'stuck' photos so the procedure is still not clear. I think the answer is...

    Make sure View-Hidden Photos is NOT checked

    Go to the photo and open the Info Tab

    Add a face (don't bother naming it)

    Remove the face

    Right Click - Hide

    You will notice it now shows 0 of xxx and the photo info dissappears

    Go to next photo

    View-Hidden Photos (true)

    Go back a photo (to your problem photo)

    The 'Unnamed' face now has a box you can name it!!!!

    Right Click-Unhide

    View-Hidden Photos (false)


    On one of my 3 photos it originally had only 1 face, then after the above it detected 2. So something about adding a manual face, removing it then hiding/unhiding the photo makes it reprocess the facial recognition.


    If anyone can play around with the above who has a few more stuck faces and make it a more definitive procedure I'm sure many people would appreciate it!



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