Previous 1 2 Next 27 Replies Latest reply: Jun 5, 2011 4:01 PM by Dave_K.
conran Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
iPhoto has always been quite fast and reliable for me - until recently. Now the iPhoto window opens straightaway but I get the spinning beachball virtually every time at launch - for about 15 - 20 seconds. After that, all is normal.

I've repaired permissions, run all the routine maintenance scripts (with Onyx), and done a full rebuild of the iPhoto library 3 times, with no real improvement. I think the symptoms started shortly after upgrading to 10.6.7 (and Aperture 3.0.2) - but that may well be just a co-incidence.

Anyone having the same experience - or better still, able to suggest a cause/fix?

The iPhoto library is not especially big - about 12,500 pixs. And my external backup - still running 10.6.6 - is as fast as ever. But I've not added pixs I've imported to the MBP in recent days.

MBP 15", Mac OS X (10.6.7), 2.53 GHz, 320GB, 7200rpm
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (135,735 points)
    The usual reason for this hiatus is the app checking online - for a new version or changes to sites it is synced with like flickr or Facebook.


  • conran Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    sorry, I should have said that I've always had all options that are likely to slow the app down switched off - so preferences are set for no sharing, no places and no checks for updates. Also no settings changed since it was working fine.
  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (131,710 points)
    Try the quick and easy fix (with fingers crossed): Delete the iPhoto preference file,, that resides in your Home/Library/Preferences folder.

    NOTE: If you're moved your library from its default location in your Home/Pictures folder you will have to point iPhoto to its new location when you next open iPhoto by holding the the Option key. You'll also have to reset the iPhoto's various preferences.

  • conran Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    no luck with that either, unfortunately...
  • rk44 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)


    Since update OSX 10.6.7 at the first action in iphoto 9.1.1 I have the wheel coloured during long minutes, after it is ok.

    I reloaded Iphoto, checked the authorizations, rebuilt the data base of Iphoto.

    Thank you for your help.
  • conran Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    After putting up with the beachball for several days, I've just tested turning off Airport and launching iPhoto. It worked fine, time and time again.

    Then I turned Airport back on, and tried iPhoto again. It still worked fine.

    I rebooted and tried launching iPhoto again, with Airport on, and it still works fine.

    I don't know if everything is suddenly back to normal, but can anyone see what might be going on - bearing in mind that all the internet-related preferences (places, sharing and updates) in iPhoto are turned off?
  • conran Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    Unfortunately it's not back to normal.

    It worked perfectly OK for maybe 20 launches - now it's back to the spinning beachball.

    Anyone got any ideas?
  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (131,710 points)
    Log into another user account on your Mac and see if iPhoto hangs like it does in your account.
  • conran Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    I created a new user account and iPhoto (no pixs in this one of course) launches straightaway.
  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (131,710 points)
    That indicates that the culprit is your account. It could be a preference file other than iPhoto's that's causing the problem. Here's how to check that out:

    Trouble Shooting Preferences in Leopard/Snow Leopard

    1 - close all applications.

    2 - open your Library folder, Home/Library, and drag the Preferences folder to the Desktop. A new Preference folder will be immediately created in the Library.

    3 - run the application again and determine if the problems is fixed.

    4 - If the problem is fixed:

    A - open the working Preferences folder (HD/Users/your_name/Library/Preferences).
    B - Open the Preferences folder on the Desktop, select all of the contents and drag them into the working Preferences folder.
    C - When the Copy window pops up check the "Apply to All" check box and then click on the Don't Replace button.

    Click to view full size

    5 - If the problem is NOT fixed, drag the Preferencess folder on the Desktop into the Library to replace the new one that was created.
  • conran Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    thanks for the diagnosis. I tried it with a new Preferences folder, and that didn't make any difference either unfortunately.

    One side effect was that I couldn't replace the entire new Preferences folder with the original. A dialogue box came up to say that apple.dock.db couldn't be replaced because it was in use. I copied all the others back, and apple.dock.db and apple.dock.plist are all that remain in the original folder (now on the desktop).

    All the same, the Preferences folder on my MBP is now 13.5MB, while on a cloned backup of 10.6.7 it's 12.8MB.

    Is all still OK with preferences, and can you see why there's a difference in the folder sizes?

    Still hoping that iPhoto can be fixed too...
  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (131,710 points)
    The size difference may be in the size of the cache folder in one of them.
  • conran Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    Any more ideas about what might be causing iPhoto to stall?

    I feel like I'm running out of options at the moment - so any further help would be greatly appreciated.
  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (131,710 points)
    Any more ideas about what might be causing iPhoto to stall?


    Duplicate your library and move it to the other user account on your Mac. Launch iPhoto and see if it will open as the other library did in that account. If it opens without stalling then that's a confirmation that the library is good and the problem lies in your primary user account.

    Have you tried turning off Airport again? If that clears it up, event temporarily, then there's some kind of communication that iPhoto is going thru that's causing the stall. In that case you should ask in the Airport forum also.
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