Skip navigation

How do I speed up Aperture?

2236 Views 24 Replies Latest reply: Jun 25, 2013 7:42 PM by leadguitarest RSS
1 2 Previous Next
aapl.crox Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
May 13, 2013 8:23 AM

Currently Aperture is my program of choice for editing. However it is extremely slow with my computer. I consider myself having a decent piece of hardware. I'm using the iMac i5 2.9Ghz, 24Gb ram, GTX 665M 512Mb, Fusions drive. The actual photo library itself is on an SSD thunderbolt external drive.



There are mainly two performance problems. The first one is that as I browse from one photo to another, after a while the program becomes a drag. I suspect this is some sort of memory leak issue. Because if I restart the program, everything is fine again (until another 30-40 photos browsed). I'm not sure there's a solution to this as it is most likely the program's fault. Increasing the ram (I used to only have 8Gb ram now increased to 24Gb) basically buys me more time before the performance hits but the problem is still there.



The second performance issue is that, during editing everything is extremely unresponsive. So if I zoom in and started applying brush, it's almost always a 1-2 second delay before the live view is updated. As a few layers are applied, it gets worse and worse. Eventually toggling a brick will take 5-10 seconds for it to be reflected in the photo. Will a hardware change improve this?

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,405 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 13, 2013 9:45 AM (in response to aapl.crox)

    Your hardware looks perfect for Aperture.


    What is your MacOS X version and Aperture version?


    How full is your System drive? Aperture can get slow, when the system drive is nearly full.


    Also, Aperture can become unresponsive, if your Aperture library needs repairing. Have you recently run the Aperture Library First Aid Tools? If not, I'd repair the library, see: Repairing and Rebuilding Your Aperture Library: Aperture 3 User Manual


    And if you imported some corrupted media (videos, image files), this may slow Aperture down. DO you still have these problems, when you launch Aperture with the Shift-key held down, to defer the generation of previews?


    Another known issue with Aperture 3.3 and later is some peculiar quirk, when you imported n iPhoto library to Aperture. Did you import an iPhoto library and and does this library contain smart albums created in iPhoto? Then I'd recommend to delete these albums and to redefine them in Aperture.


    To narrow down the problem, I'd make a few test:

    • Try editing when launching Aperture on a new Aperture library created for testing. Is the performance better?
    • Try editing when launching Aperture from a different user account on a new library. Still the same slowness?


    If it works well on a new library, you will need to troubleshoot your current library.


    If it works well in a new user account, there are settings in your account that need fixing.


    If you are having the same problem in all accounts, your system or Aperture need s fixing.


    Please report back after testing.




  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,405 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 13, 2013 10:11 PM (in response to aapl.crox)

    Ok I don't know how to break up a quote in this forum so I'm going to address each question and comment by bullet point


    1) I'm using OSX 10.8.3 and Aperture 3.4.4. In other words, latest version of each.


    2) My hard drive is 80% full with 220Gb left.

    That should suffice.


    3) I have done repairing database and permissiones regulardly. I cannot do rebuild database (due to the curve reset bug).

    A rebuilt might be necessary. But you could try to rebuild by importing the library into a new empty, library on a separate volume where you have enough disk space.


    4) Holding shift did not help

    So it is probably not a media problem.


    5) I've tried launching a new aperture library with just one RAW file for editing. Same performance problem.

    So it does not depend on the library.


    6) I've tried launch with a new OSX user and rebooted straight into the user with no programs running excpet for just aperture. Still same performance problem.

    And it probably does not depend on your preferences or other configuration files in your library.

    More details on what I consider "performance problem"


    1) It's not uncommon when 100% zoomed in working with brushes, that I only see the brush gets applied after 3-4 seconds. My mouse is done drawing and nothing happens until 4 seconds later. Not all strokes are like that though, sometimes it's instant.


    2) It's not uncommon when I toggle a brick, the effect won't be reflected after 5-8 seconds after. Sometimes the status bar will show "processing", sometimes it doesn't. This is extremely annoying because when working wtih something like sharpness brick, I want to toggle on and off to see the subtle difference but since each toggle is 5-8 seconds, youe eye "numbs' out and cannot really see the difference when toggled.


    How large are your raw files? I only see similar, when I try to process very large scans, 200 MB to 1 GB. Does the same happen with small image files?


    3) When either of the above scenarios happen, I notice from activity monitor the only thing that is busy is CPU. Disk I/O seems low and RAM has plenty of it free (16GB free).


    3) When either of the above scenarios happen, the entire computer locks up. For example, when I brushed something and it's loading, I cannot scroll the side panels in aperture. No UI is responsive. I even tested other app, Safari for example is unresponsive during this time.


    Are there any diagnostic messages in the Console window (Applications > Utilities >, when you are trying the brushes?


    I'm not sure there's something wrong with my OSX. I remember having the same performance problem when I had my last iMac few months ago. I migrated using migration assitant.


    You may have migrated incompatible kernel extensions, duplicate fonts, incompatible Preferences panels and drivers. Do you have an empty hard drive or an empty disk partition where you could install Mt. Lion and nothing but Aperture for a test? Then boot from this external disk and test Aperture thoroughly. This will tell you, if it is your System Installation that is causing all this or a possible hardware problem.


    Also, I just did another test on my retina macbook pro. Same problem. Brand new aperture library, same file, same edits, same bricks.

    Did you migrate your rMBP from the same source?

    I'd have a look at all third party software you installed and migrated from previous versions. You can check your system with a little Apple script "EtreCheck" written by our fellow poster EtreSoft. It does nothing but scan the system and list all extensions etc. that are not standard.  See this link on how to download and run the script.

          Re: Why is my computer so slow after update??

    Also look at the following post by Linc Davis for further tests in the same thread  Re: Why is my computer so slow after update??.


    Depending on your tests you may have to reinstall the system with a clean install. Better prepare for that possibility by checking your backup situation. You should have at least two current backups in such an emergency, and it helps a lot, if one of them is  bootable clone. You can clone your drives with disk utility.




  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,405 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 13, 2013 11:33 PM (in response to aapl.crox)

    Are you absolutely sure that this is not a limitation of Aperture and is in fact something uniquely wrong with my setup? I don't want to go through all the hoops and then find out that, really, this is what one should expect from any Aperture user.

    I dont have raw images the same size as you have - so I cannot be absolutely sure, but with 30 MB tiffs my Aperture installation is pretty quick when browsing images, working from an internal SSD and with 16 GB RAM.

    I don't have a Fusion drive however, and your software differs considerably from mine.


    To really be sure, if something in your System or a problem with your hardware is causing this, the only reliable test is to boot from a clean system, with nothing but the system and Aperture.

    Don't wipe your system drive to do that. If you can find any drive or thumbsdrive with enough free space to install a new copy of Mt. Lion and Aperture you can boot from the external drive by holding down the "⌥" key on startup.


    Looking at your list of installed third party software in EtreCheck, you have quite a lot of startup items and Preference Panes that are not Apple. Are you running the same software on all your macs that are having this problem? And when you tested from a different user account, were the same Startup items active?  Check in the "Users&Groups" preference pane and the System preferences.


    I don't have any of these installed, so I cannot test them on my system. Check the compatibility with Mt. Lion on the manufacturer's site. I.e. com.adobe.versioncueCS4.plist looks rather outdated.


    You are having many add-ons that facilitate interaction:


              Smart Scroll


    and Are my first suspects.


    Whentesting from a second account disable all login items and preference panes:

    User Login Items:


              EyeTV Helper



              VMware Fusion Helper




              Smart Scroll



    3rd Party Preference Panes:

              Adobe Version Cue CS4


              Flash Player

              Flip4Mac WMV





              Smart Scroll


  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,405 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 15, 2013 9:00 PM (in response to aapl.crox)

    Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 05.48.29.PNG

    I tested on your image file with several adjustment bricks applied - the brushes were very responsive, but I heard the fan come up and the Activity monitor showed a lot of processing.

    I'm seeing 4-5 seconds of delay.

    The delay I am seeing is barely noticable.


    I went and bought a new thunderbolt drive, installed ML on it. Fresh OS install, fresh aperture install. Same performance.

    And you really installed nothing but Aperture and MacOS X? None of your helpers - SmartScroll, SizzlingKeys, ...?

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,405 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 15, 2013 9:30 PM (in response to aapl.crox)

    I never asked, but maybe the monitor and graphics card are making a difference. What is the size of your monitor? Are you using a second monitor?

  • CorkyO2 Level 4 Level 4 (1,290 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 15, 2013 9:36 PM (in response to aapl.crox)



    Beautiful shot and nice camera for starts.


    I imported into a new test library on my machine (specs at end of comment).


    I applied levels (which didn't do much on auto), but playing around I just changed black point, gray point and white point to brush in at standard zoom of 100%. Tried the Curves brick as well.


    Added some dodging, burning, skin-smooting and sharpen (all from quick brush icon) at 100% zoom with large and small brush sizes. Both brushing and enabling / disabling bricks worked fine, no significant delay.


    However, if I used the navigator HUD to move to another spot in the image, the 'loading' indicator and focus of image took 4 -5 seconds to load the area in focus again.


    Note - I used my magic trackpad to do all brush work and navigation.


    Machine set-up (specs):


    MacBook Pro 17" (late 2011)

    2.5 Ghz. Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB (1333 DDR3) RAM, OWC 480 GB SSD (3G SATA interface), AMD Radeon 6770 1 GB VRAM video processor

    Apple Thunderbolt Display

    Apple Wireless keyboard, Apple Magic Trackpad


    FWIW, the skin-smoothing always triggers the fans in my MBP and high-count brush strokes can add some delay, but the skin-smoothing is the only one that seems to add a significant delay to my normal work. Sometimes it can approach 3 seconds when doing alot of detail face work.


    I see a greater delay in Adobe Camera Raw when using local brushes than I do in Aperture, but in Photoshop CS6 with layer masks - this machine screams. Unfortunately, I would rather use Aperture for brush work to improve images with standard adjustments. Photoshop is for more advanced / specialized work for me.


    Sorry I couldn't reproduce the brick / brush issue, but the refreshing of image when panning with navigator did produce the 4-5 second delay before fully loading into focus.

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,405 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 15, 2013 9:37 PM (in response to aapl.crox)

    Does each of those brick have a selected region? And if you toggle them, how fast is the toggle before it takes effect?

    selected region?

    All were brushed in locally and have a mask.

    It takes about a second or so, if I toggle a brick, before I see the effect.

1 2 Previous Next


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.