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  • Dan Connors Level 1 (0 points)

    Here's the thread from Brian:

    From Brian:

    Thanks for the files, they came through just fine. I took a quick look through the database, and there does appear to be some weird data in there, with a bunch of extra face records many of which have values missing in their fields. I don't know how exactly they ended up that way though.

    It does look like all the most recently imported photos don't have these problems, and I tried importing a few additional photos into the library, and the faces for those all appear to show up OK as well. So, as far as I can tell, it doesn't look like the sort of thing that will "spread" to other photos in the library.


    From me:

    Excellent. So your opinion would be that if I fix the weird ones, the database will be ok? Any chance you have a convenient way to provide a list of the weird ones?


    From Brian:

    I'm afraid there's not a simple way to list out the photos with the odd face records, but other than the symptoms you described, it doesn't look like it'll do any harm if they're still hanging around.



    It looks to me like we can proceed with the repairs as we observe problems on specific photos.

  • Tom Ritch Level 1 (145 points)

    It's good that Brian has looked at this and con provide a view from inside the database. 


    I have reviewed my found faces.  Most of the corruption I have manually removed, but I found a few instances that I seem to have missed. 


    The most recent that I found just now was in a photo taken May 12, and thus fairly recently imported into iPhoto.  A face is in the photo, and the Info pane lists a found face with the correct name.  The corruptipon in this case is that there is no found face rectangle in the photo. 


    Just found another n a photo taken July 13, 2012.  In this case the found face rectangle is replaced with a large vertical rectangle moved down and to the left of the correct position. 


    And now another, rectangle moved up and to the left.  In this photo another found face seems OK.


    And found another.  Seems a lot more inspection and manyal editing is needed. 


    I had others, about 5%of the found faces, that had various forms of corruptipon but I have manually corrected them. 


    Tha manual deletion of corrupted found faces seems to work, but as I noted above if only the found face directly associated with the corruption is deleted and then Detect Missing Faces is run, very frequently the other fond faces show corruptipn afterwards.  If these correclty found seemingly uncorrupted faces are deleted, they will not be displayed again even if they are found.  If they become corrupted in the Detect Missing Faces process, they can be deleted and Detect Missing Faces run again.  Sometimes they wil be found, sometimes not.  Sometims after Detect Missing Faces is run the newly found faces will appear with the correct names already assigned. 


    My guess is that in iPhoto the found face methods either write data in the database incorrectly, or retrieve found face data incorreclty, or both, a small percent of the time. 


    This is a bug we should report to Apple.

  • Dan Connors Level 1 (0 points)

    Reported to Apple today.

  • Dan Connors Level 1 (0 points)

    OK, let me recap so maybe we can fix this. Here is the issue:

    - The Faces database is incorrect in iPhoto


    - iPhoto duplicates a known face, using the same name, but moved slightly away from the original

    - What you see on the screen does not agree with what you see in the Faces area when Info is selected (for example, you may see a named person and the Info section shows an Unnamed person, or you may see nothing and the info section shows one or more unnamed persons)

    - Cleaning up the assignments may cause the errors to return. That is, in a given photo if you delete all the faces, search for new faces, and clean up what's there, the errors mentioned above may return

    Partial solution:

    For this issue: iPhoto shows an entry for an Unnamed person. That entry may not appear on the screen, may not appear in the Info column, and may not appear in either.

    To trap the error:

    Create a SmartAlbum. Rule is: Face is unnamed

    This will create an album that contains every photo in which iPhoto has a record of an unnamed face. This album is dynamic--it updates instantly.


    Open the SmartAlbum, and double-click the first photo and select the Info tab in the lower right.

    Clean up the photo so that everything you see is correct. So, people you want tagged have their name shown, and all faces you don't want known are deleted.

    - If the display moves to the next photo, then the problem is fixed (it moves to the next photo because iPhoto no longer sees an unnamed face and has removed the photo from the SmartAlbum). This is the case for an uncontaminated record which had an unnamed face because you hadn't dealt with it yet.

    - Double click to return to thumbnail mode. Occasionally the picture will disappear here, meaning it has been corrected.

    - If the picture is still visible, press Option+Command+Delete. This moves the photo to the iPhoto trash.

    - Go the the iPhoto Trash, find the photo, right-click on and select: Put back.

    - Return to the SmartAlbum. 95+% of the time the photo is gone, indicating iPhoto no longer has an unnamed entry.

    - If the photo is still there, double click it, select Info, and slowly move your mouse around the photo, looking for either an Unnamed face you missed before, or a stacked face (that is, there are two faces frames directly or almost directly on top of each other). Delete the Unnamed face(s) and repeat the process above.

    - If the photo is still there, double click it, select Info, and one at a time, delete one Face, the create a new face in the same place (you are looking for a second face directly behind the one you deleted)--this may occur on multiple faces. Repeat the process above.

    - I've never had one remain after this point


    So far, the detected errors have not returned.


    There could be other contaminations, but this cleared up a lot--about 8% of my photos had a problem cured with this process. I have no idea why it works, but theorize restoring it from the trash causes the iPhoto software to reevaluate the photo.

  • Tom Ritch Level 1 (145 points)



    I can more or less confirm most of what you wrote.  I hessitate to say all, because the errors are so diverse, and I think like you I have found some problems that do not go away no matter what I do. 


    I tried your procedure of moving to the trash and back.  It does not work for me in the three cases I tried.  I believe you said it sometimes does not work for you either.  I think that we are dealing with two kinds of corruption, one of which is more difficult to repair.  I have tired a lot of things to clean up my Faces, and the errors/corruption that remains I figure is the more difficult to repair kind or kinds. 


    What I have done that may be equivalent to your Dete, Undelte procedure is run Detect Missing Faces.  I think that whether missing faces are detected or not, an Update event is triggered that leads to the Faces database, the found faces in the individual photo, the Smart Album rule, or somne combination of all of these, being corrected.  In cases of "easy to fix" corruption, deleting obviously wrong found face rectangles followed by triggering an update event seems to fix the problem.  In cases of "hard to fix" corruption, none of this seems to help.  What else I have tried that also does not help is running all of iPhoto's repair and rebuild procedure, plus rebuilding the entire iPhoto library using iPhoto Library Manager. 


    I am not yet convinced that corruption when removed does not return.  That may be the case, and I hope so.  But now still when I go to a new set of found Faces, I frequently find one or more examples of corruption.  I am seeing less and less corruption, but I have not yet reached the point where I feel it has all been removed.  When I find corruption I do not know if it has been re-corrupted, or if I missed this case in my earlier cleaning. 

  • Dan Connors Level 1 (0 points)



    Well, I had the photo in the trash because my original intention was to export it, delete it from iPhoto, reimport it, and start over. I had forgotten to export it, so my Put back action was to be able to export it and that's how I found the way forward that worked for me.


    Sorry it's not working for you. We need an iPhoto unscrewer-upper utility!

  • LarryHN Level 9 (77,077 points)

    We need an iPhoto unscrewer-upper utility!



    That is called a Backup - Time Machine is a good first step



  • Tom Ritch Level 1 (145 points)



    Time Machine is a good second step.  Restoring from a known good backup assumes a known good library existed, hopefyully not to long ago.  iPhoto has four utilities to fix issues which arise.  What Dan was saying we need is essentially for one or more of these to do a better job of detecting and repairing errors.  After errors are repaired a known good copy should be stored to be uesed as you suggest. 


    That said, you are right that a backup of even a corrupt library is better than not having a backup.  Four days ago I was going through my library manually deleting corupt found faces.  My library became so corrupt that iPhoto crashed, and none of iPhoto's rebuild or repair procedures could repair the library so it could be opened.  I deleted that library and restored from a Time Machine backup from a few hours before.  Since a few edits had rendered that library completely unusable, I immediatly ran a full rebuild to restore it as best iPhoto can.  Working with this fully rebult library in the few days since, I have found considerable corruption in the found Faces. 


    This afternoon I have had three or four crashes of iPhoto as I try to manually inspect and remove corrupt found face info.  I hope sending the crash reports to Apple will help them improve iPhoto.  Now as I type this I am running iPhoto's Repair Database Errors.  Repairing is a bandaid.  The proiblem is iPhoto is buggy. 


    Manually removing corruption from a database of 25,000 photos is a job a computer should do, as Dan suggested.  Keeping copies of data to revert to if the computer messes up is always a god idea, as you suggest. 


    As you noted above, this is a wierd issue.  Other developers have reported that converting to 64 bit code eliminates many problems.  Hopefully Apple will do that soon and resolve many of these issues. 

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,945 points)



    I'd try and replace that Library with a new one. I'm not sure what "considerable corruption in the found faces" is, but it's not normal, and the fact that it exists in the restored version means the problem is in the back up too.


    Download iPhoto Library Manager and use its rebuild function. (In early versions of Library Manager it's the File -> Rebuild command. In later versions it's under the Library menu.)


    This will create an entirely new library. It will then copy (or try to) your photos and all the associated metadata and versions to this new Library, and arrange it as close as it can to what you had in the damaged Library. It does this based on information it finds in the iPhoto sharing mechanism - but that means that things not shared won't be there, so no slideshows, books or calendars, for instance - but it should get all your events, albums and keywords, faces and places 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.

  • Dan Connors Level 1 (0 points)


      I agree with Tom's comments above. As far as your comments, replacing that Library with a new one is a non-starter. iPhoto Library Manager's rebuild function simply moves the problem to the new Library. My experience with the iPhoto repair functions is that they actually make the problem worse. I have become the family picture organizer and have scanned thousands of slides and printed photos. In iPhoto I have changed the date from the date of scan to the date of the picture, added locations, and added faces to about 6,000 photos. I estimate about 1500 hours of work would be needed to rebuild that library by hand.


    I've taken this issue to Apple and they cannot fix it either. So Tom and I keep trying things and hoping they will stabilize the database. For example, after my last attempt at using the iPhoto repair function, I opened the library and watched the program add 1250 photos to the library (it took every edited photo and made the original a new photo).


      Of course I use Time Machine, but I've also taken to completely back up the library with a new name once a week to an external drive. I can never tell when iPhoto will just give it up. So far, I have changed computers twice, uninstalled and reinstalled iPhoto, created the second computer from a cold install of Mountain Lion with no transfer of anything except data.


      We need a repair tool that actually repairs.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,945 points)

    Not denying the reality of your issue here but thousands of folks have sorted out issues with the iPhoto Library by using Library Manager's rebuild function.


    My experience with the iPhoto repair functions is that they actually make the problem worse.


    That indicates that the database is corrupted beyond repair.


    In iPhoto I have changed the date from the date of scan to the date of the picture, added locations, and added faces to about 6,000 photos.


    This work would be preserved with Library Manager.


    If the damage is being repilcated across another database then we would need to explore other issues - like where is your library stored? Do you have crashing problems?


    One thing is sure: you will not stabilise that database.





  • Dan Connors Level 1 (0 points)

    I am also a fan of iPhoto Library Manager. We have shared this issue with Brian from Fat Cat Software. He agrees there is a problem and that ILM will not fix it.


    My library is stored on my internal hard drive and is a normal library (all photos are stored in the library). I have had some crashing problems.


    You say: "...the database is corrupted beyond repair." and "One thing for sure: you will not stabilise that database."


    If iPhoto cannot be repaired, then it simply is not an appropriate tool for managing photos. There are people with 10 times as many photos as I have. It is not an acceptable answer to say: "Oh, your database is hosed, just delete it and start over." There needs to be a repair tool.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,945 points)

    In your case perhaps it's not an appropriate tool, however, yours is, frankly, a very isolated case. I have approaching ten times as many photos as you have and no such issues. Maybe it's time to explore other options for you. But there is no tool to repair the unrepairable.

  • Tom Ritch Level 1 (145 points)



    I really appreciate your interest and comments.  If you can help Dan and me resolve our difficulties we as well as many who read this thread will appreciate the help.  I try to remain hopeful that there is some solution.  However, based on extensive past experience debugging software in general as well as current experince with iPhoto I am skeptical that we can find a solution.  I believe your omments

    My experience with the iPhoto repair functions is that they actually make the problem worse

    That indicates that the database is corrupted beyond repair.


    One thing is sure: you will not stabilise that database.


    That is why Dan said

    We need a repair tool that actually repairs.

    I am pretty confident that our difficulties origninate with faulty programming in iPhoto.  A repair tool as Dan suggests would fix damage that I think iPhoto creates.  As well as a tool to repair damage, we need an iPhoto that does not create more problems. 


    Rebuilding with iPhoto Library Manager I already tried a month ago, and had done a time or two before that in the last year.  I have used iPLM for years, and agree it is a very good tool.  However, it seems the corruption in the Faces database is carried over along with other metadata to new libraries created with iPLM. 


    My main library contains 25,653 photos going back to 2001 for those taken digitally, with some scans and videos. The library takes 119.73 GB of disk space.  My hardware is a Mac Pro 3,1 with 12 GB RAM and 7.3 TB space among 4 internal hard disks.  I back up my iPhoto data by occaisonally copying to a different internal disk, as well as Time Machine and Crashplan via FIOS.  I have been a Mac user since June 1984, and a beta tester for numerous applications. 


    Knowing iPhoto has long had various problems I long kept three libaries, 2010 and earlier, 2011, and 2012, thinking issues isolated to a smaller library would be easir to fix.  Within the last year I thought iPhoto had become more reliable so I merged the three into one Main library.  I know when first released system software usually has yet undiscovered issues, so I wait before updating, and keep several versions on various hard disks.  In May 2012 I first updated from Snow Leapord to Lion, then in January 2013 from Lion to Mountain Lion because I wanted to use Photo Streaming.  After a successful install and migration, I rebuilt directories with Disk Warrior and deleted caches etc. with OnyX.  These standard techniques intended to produce a clean system led to a non-functioning computer.  Eventually reading Apple forums and workinig with high level Apple support the issue was found to be symlinks which apparently were randomly made defective by OS X 10.8.2.  The defective symlinks led to many issues in many applications, including iPhoto as well as Contacts, Mail, MS Office (reported by someone else) and more.  Hopefully the symlink issue is fixed in 10.8.4.  During this time I found that my origianl installation disk for iPhoto would not install a functional copy of iPhoto, I think due to enhanced security features.  I also found that iPhoto became trashed and needed to be reinstalled a few times.  Fortunately I could reinstall by copying from a different disk in my system. 


    One point is that Mountain Lion and iPhoto both have had serious issues which have been reesolved, but perhaps not completely.  A second point is I am heavily invested in iPhoto, and really want it to work as advertised.  If anyone has ideas I am willing to evaluate them. 


    My best guess at this point is that the Faces part of iPhoto is buggy.  Repairs might imporve its function, but what is really needed is to find the error and fix Faces. 

  • LarryHN Level 9 (77,077 points)

    My best guess at this point is that the Faces part of iPhoto is buggy.  Repairs might imporve its function, but what is really needed is to find the error and fix Faces.

    Ok  --  you do understand that this is strictlhy a user to user forum with volenteer iPhoto users helping other iPhoto users - no one here with any connection to Apple or any ability to develop the software you want - since you have been in contact with the IPLM people that would be your best bet for custom software development for iPhoto


    You certainly report to Apple - iPhoto menu ==> provide iPhoto feedback but posting your personal needs here accomplishes nothing