Aperture: How I recovered 60GB

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ipedro, May 6, 2010.

  1. macrumors 68020


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    My Aperture library had been growing immensely over the last 3 years even though I had been diligently maintaining the gallery with only my best images, deleting most of the fluff.

    I peered into the Aperture Library and I found something curious. Some projects with just a few photos had thumbnail files over 100MB! It turns out that Aperture doesn't delete thumbnails when you delete a photo. What's more is that thumbnails are fairly large and are generated as 3 different files.

    If you're like me, you shoot a lot of photos and often delete many more than you keep. I shoot on average 600 photos per week, all of which are loaded into Aperture. Once I sweep the project, I end up with somewhere between 30 to 50% of the total of photos shot. This means that files pertaining to 300 junk photos per week are being left in my Aperture library and have been accumulating orphan thumbnail files.

    I'm using Aperture 2 so I hope that Apple has fixed this very glaring problem in Aperture 3. In the meantime, I set out to delete all the thumbnail files so that new ones could be generated without the deleted photos.

    Instead of going through every single project and deleting these files, I ran the following Terminal commands:

    note: Before performing these commands, backup your Aperture library

    find ~/Pictures -name "AP.Thumbnails" -delete
    find ~/Pictures -name "AP.Minis" -delete
    find ~/Pictures -name "AP.Tinies" -delete

    Result? I saved over 60GB which is like gold on my MacBook Pro. My Aperture library went from 250GB to 189GB. :D
  2. macrumors member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Beauce, Québec
  3. thread starter macrumors 68020


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    Keep in mind that your existing photos will need to have thumbnails generated for them after running these commands. For me, that was about 10GB, which left me with a net gain of 50GB of recovered space.

    This process works best for people who load a lot of photos and delete a good portion of them. If you keep most of your photos, you may not notice a big difference.
  4. macrumors 68030

    Mar 30, 2004
    I am curious. Doesn't rebuilding the Aperture library (hold option+command while launching Aperture) accomplish the same thing?
  5. macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2008
  6. thread starter macrumors 68020


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    Didn't know about that. If it deletes your thumbnails, then this would be a great thing to do every few months to keep your library lean.

    That said, Aperture should be doing this itself. When you delete a photo, its thumbnails and any other references to it should also be deleted. Leaving it there is just sloppy programming.

    I tried using the "Generate Thumbnails" menu option and it didn't seem to remove deleted thumbnails. Rebuilding the Aperture library sounds more in-depth so it may work.

    I'm in the middle of rebuilding my thumbnails so I can't test the option+command tip. Can anybody confirm this works?

    1 - View contents of your Aperture library.
    2 - Choose a project that you've recently deleted a substantial number of photos from. View contents of that project.
    3- Take note of the size of "AP.Thumbnails"
    4- Open Aperture while holding command+option
    5- View the size of "AP.Thumbnails". If it's smaller, this method works.
  7. thread starter macrumors 68020


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    Aperture 3 fix?

    Does anybody know if Aperture 3 fixes this behavior? Does it delete thumbnails and previews along with the master or does it accumulate them like Aperture 2?
  8. macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2008
    I too would like to know this, as I have just made a purchase of Aperture 3
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2008
    Aperture is a great programme. very demanding on even the best. I was editing loads on my imac just now and maxed out my 8GB Ram just in aperture. The machine managed to keep running and I tracked the RAM leak to the programme hanging on processing an edit.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008
    Canada, where we live in igloos.
    I just ran a test on a 30GB, 3000 RAW images library. Here's what I found.

    Before deleting 2600 files the size of the following folders inside the Aperture Library were:

    Before 541KB
    After 94kb

    Before 877.3mb
    After 830.4mb

    After running all three Aperture First Aid option that you get with Cmd+Option on the "After" libraries, the sizes remained the same. I then decided to go in and delete the AP.Thumbnails files, launch Aperture and have it reprocess the previews, and guess what.

    After reprocessing 140.4mb

    Funny enough though my Preview folder increased to 94mb. Weird.

    So in closing, Aperture 3.0.3 still doesn't delete old thumbnails. Going to be running this task tonight on my 120GB main library.
  11. macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    Thx for posting this test, I'm using Aperture 3, my main library is 292GB,and I just did the re-build library yesterday afternoon, absolutely nothing saved.
    Tonight I'll try the brute-force approach outlined in this thread to see if can be made smaller, 0.3TB is kinda bloated....
  12. thread starter macrumors 68020


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    ^ Please note that I haven't tested my method in Aperture 3. The above Terminal commands are for Aperture 2.

    It's hard to believe that such a huge bug hasn't been fixed in a major version upgrade. Apple even changed the Aperture library file format. Could they not have addressed this then?
  13. btshat, Nov 19, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010

    macrumors newbie

    Nov 19, 2010
    You can easily do the same thing for aperture 3 by right clicking the library, select open package contents, then delete the thumbnail folder within the package.... no terminal commands required. Then the next time you open the library, aperture will rebuild thumbnails for any photos still in the library.

    However, it appears to me that aperture 3 does remove the thumbnails when you empty the trash within aperture.
  14. macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Good to know... thanks for sharing!
  15. thread starter macrumors 68020


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    Similar savings in Aperture 3

    I ran "WhatSize" on my HDD and found that my main Aperture library had grown to be quite large.

    I opened the contents of my library and drilled through, finding that my Thumbnails folder was larger by the Preview folder. This shouldn't be possible because if the Thumbnails had only files for each preview, the preview file should be larger than the thumbnails. I figured that old thumbnails were left in the library, despite their corresponding masters being deleted.

    It was as simple as deleting this thumbnail folder, and restarting Aperture. It will rebuild the thumbnails folder, this time for only the photos that you have.

    Result: I recovered 30GB. How can Apple leave such an oversight?
  16. mtbdudex, Oct 2, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011

    macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    this seems crazy:

    Previews: 17.85 GB on disk (17,620,003,043 bytes) for 149,897 items
    Thumbnails: 30.36 GB on disk (30,349,130,122 bytes) for 6,848 items

    Almost 150k preview items??
    I've got 37,391 photos/movies in Aperture, 505.38 GB on disk (504,694,062,189 bytes)....did not realize so bloated.


    I'll try the manual delete thumbnail right now.

    I just deleted both preview and thumbnails folder, re-launched aperture 3 with option-command, and re building the database.
    Will see how much smaller in a few hours......later I should split into multi libraries.
  17. macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    Wow, Aperture 3 is sloppy on this, after everything is done and said recovered 85GB disc space, that's so much!

  18. macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2010
    Yup, I just found out about this too. :eek:

    Inside Apeture library:
    Previews folder: 704MB
    Thumbnails folder: 17.7GB

    How could my Thumbnails folder be 25X bigger than Preview? :confused:

    How sloppy is Apple? :mad:
  19. macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2010
    Sloppy and SLOW Aperture

    Here are my before and after stats. Now I'm waiting for the trash to flush, something I've done again and again over the past few weeks. It helps to be compulsive if one uses Aperture. And very patient.

    I also maintain an iPhoto library; that one presently is over 140GB. Can I perform the same surgery on it and expect similar reductions? Once my trash is empty (and it could take days, at the present rate) I'll work on that one. If you have experience with doing so, I'd like to hear about it.

    Attached Files:

  20. macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2011
    Does not create thumbs correctly

    I tried this and saved a lot of space.
    One Aperture library shrank from 63 to 24GB.

    It then took a few hours to rebuild the thumbs & previews.
    However I now find that all my thumbnails for photos in the portrait format are distorted and look stretched.
    In fact most thumbnails are very fuzzy and sometimes the photo preview takes ages to load.
    Also the books I had designed take ages to load and many of the photos look completely distorted.

    I was hoping for a speed saving, but that doesn't seem to have happened.

    Any tips on how to remedy this?
  21. thread starter macrumors 68020


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    You'll just need to wait til it all rebuilds then speed will be back to normal or better.
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    I also had almost double in Thumbnails space consumed than in Previews.

    IMO, Aperture is buggy as hell. It's very nice in the interface and functionality, but the bugs sometimes make using the program a bad experience.

    I also have the problem that rebuilding my Thumbnails and Previews takes a LOT of time, and whenever I put the computer to sleep and then open it again, sometimes Aperture starts from scratch!
  23. macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2008

    i'm using Aperture 3 and deleting Previews and Tumbnails-Folders from my Library helped a lot! from 20 GB now i have 4 GB (16 GB savings) :)

    thanks for tip!
  24. macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2011
    Are you guys deleting the folders or just the content. I assume that if you are deleting the folders Apeture re-creates thems automatically. How long should it take to rebuild a 50gig library after deleting these folders. Thanks!

    One off topic question. If I want to use a portable exernal hardrive to free up interal library space do I just designate the portable drive as a library and drag projects to it. Thanks again!
  25. macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2012
    Oh my god!!!

    i've been having so much problem with Apertyre being so slow... for the last two years! i've look at blogs everywhere for solution and was about to give up... but... yes i delete these useless thumbnails and my library went from 93.6Gb to 50.7Gb... and it seems to be running much faster... finally! thanks to you all!

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