Aperture is extremely slow. Unbearably slow.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by HarryPot, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. HarryPot macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    For some time (not sure if this is since Mavericks, or before) Aperture has been a PITA to use.

    Opening it takes around 30-40 seconds. Editing images is slow, very slow. Changing projects takes also a lot of time. And don't even try to close the app, since it takes around 4-5 minutes to close, because each time it shows "Library Updating".

    I have my photos in an external drive, the library files and previews are on my Mac. I have around 25,000 photos.

    I have a Macbook Pro Late 2011 15", 8GB of RAM. Running Mavericks and all updates installed.

    I know this is not normal, but does anyone here has suffered from this and found a solution?
  2. kelub macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    I'm sorry I can't tell you the exact solution, but I vaguely remember there being a way to optimize the library that you might search for. I run Aperture on a 2011 iMac with similar specs and also have a LOT of pictures in the library. Originally I split my photos into multiple libraries, but was assured by a coworker that it's not necessary. I moved everything back into the primary library and haven't had any issues.

    I want to say that when I first started using Aperture I did have some sluggishness, which was why I split everything up in the first place, but that's been 2+ years ago so I honestly don't remember for sure.

    I'll poke around and see if I can find anything related; if so I'll post back.
  3. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

    Aug 24, 2013
    Far from here
    Did you try, for test, to create a new Library, put say 1000 photos in it, and see how it works ?

    Do you actually need to have a Library that large ?

    Couldn't you split it into 2, 3, etc… Libraries ?
  4. kelub, Jan 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014

    kelub macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    This has some good pointers. Like I said, my Aperture isn't running "slow" but I may run though this again myself and see if I can't improve performance a bit.


    Edit: Also make sure you're cleaning out your Aperture trash. I'll go months not thinking about all the images I've trashed, and when I finally get around doing it there are thousands of pics in there.
  5. HarryPot thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    Thanks! I appreciate it.:)

    I'll try this tonight.

    Most of my photos are from my family, friends and hobby. So making several libraries doesn't seem very optimal. Maybe I'll try yo make one for the current year, where I edit and sort photos, and after some time (1-2 months) put all those photos into the "main" library that contains all photos.


    Thanks for the link.

    I just checked my trash, had around 1000 files there.:eek:


    Ok. Things just improved greatly after making these actions:

    - Repairing my library database.
    - Deleting trash items.
    - Disabling the "Share XML with other applications". Which I had in "Always".

    According to this Apple.com article, putting this setting to Never...

    No kidding. Aperture takes now just 5-10 seconds to open and be ready to edit. And closes instantly (<1 second).

    Thanks for the help! Hopefully someone else will find this useful. =)
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    There are a few things you can do before you add more RAM and go to solid state drives. The hardware upgrade will work but it's expensive.

    1) reduce the sir of the "thumbnails" or "preview" images. There is not much reason to make them big, they are only there so you can identify I'm image. This makes a big difference because the amount of data is proportional to the product of the length time hight SO small reductions pay off. Try 512 pixels across.

    2) turn on the "yellow borders" this tells Aperture to NOT use the full size images and use the above previews. It really speeds up Aperture. But you have to turn this off to edit. Lucky there is a keyboard shortcut

    You might get a 4x to better speed up from those to things. But when performance running always watch Activity Meter and try to identify the bottleneck. Is the CPU maxed out, is it the disk or memory. Watch the graphs and you'll see.
  7. kelub, Jan 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014

    kelub macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    I also came across this tip and sort of like it. I may implement this for myself.

    "Others keep a main library and then use a separate working library. When they are done with a project they will export it and import it into the main library which acts as more of an archive. This way they gain the extra performance of the small working library, but keep all the benefits (like searching) by having one large archive library."

    I had all of mine split up into yearly libraries and that was such a hassle if I wanted to go back and poke around older pictures, or reference something (like, say, put together a birthday project for one of my kids and use pictures from their earlier years.) I haven't had significant performance issues *yet* after moving everything back into 1 file, and my library file's a bit over 100gb right now... :eek:

    Just from a "process" perspective, in the past 3-4 years I've had to get really strict with myself to only keep the pictures I really want. I may take 60-120 pictures at one "event" (I've had some events like family vacations or sporting events approach the 800-1000 mark.) In the past, I'd mark and edit the ones I really liked, but wanted to keep ALL of them "just in case." That's resulted in a few past years' collections being unnecessarily large.

    Now, the first thing I do is mark all the pictures I know I don't want with "9" which "X"es the picture out and removes it from my view. (Side tip: if you do this too, create a smart album to find all those pictures and delete them; marking them with the X doesn't delete them, just "hides" them. I mention this later.) After that I go through the remaining shots and rate them on a 1-5 star scale: 3's are maybe's, 4's are probably's, and 5's are definites.

    From there I'll create a smart album off the project that only shows me anything starred 3 and higher. From there I'll start my post processing work. I'll use the color labels - yellow for maybes, greens for definites, blues for "99% sure I'm done with PP" and purples for "final" - to mark my process of post processing and my own "rating" of the image. Once I'm done with that, I'll modify the smart album to now only show me greens, blues, and purples. (I used to create another smart album, and that's an option, but recently realized it's a bit more streamlined to just modify the 1 smart album.)

    Finally I'll do one last sweep of the greens and blues and do any tweaks needed, then change anything left to purple that I feel is finalized. I'll then flag any purples that I feel are truly "representative" of the photo shoot - if I had to pick 1-2 shots out of the entire thing, those are flagged.

    At the end of each year I like to take the flags and some purples and compile an annual "photo album" of the year's pics and events. Doing the above rigamarole during the post processing really helps me compile the pictures for that annual album without having to go through *every* picture taken for the year.

    I'll also usually keep anything marked green and above, and that satisfies my "just in case" OCD. I feel confident that I discarded images that didn't make the cut, and kept a margin of pics that I may see differently months from now.

    FINALLY, I have some smart albums that pull all images with 2 stars and below, images with no ratings at all, and images that have been "9ed" so that I can delete them. It's easy to forget about them once they fall out of your album/smart album, but this way I keep it all relatively clean. Then I'll go delete the trash about once a quarter.

    I also have a smart album that just shows me flagged images in a specific time range so I can watch that yearly photo album populate. Sometimes I'll realize that I have too many of a particular event or 2 images that are too similar to consider putting in a book. I've used MyPublisher (now Shutterfly) to make annual photo albums that are bound and professional; ideal I'd do it every year, but it doesn't work out that way. One day when I have copious amounts of extra money (ha!) I'll go back and have an album printed for every year I'm missing one. I'm a digital evangelist but there's something cool about having the pics printed in a book that can be taken out and looked at, shared, etc.

    Edit: While I do use "vault" with an external drive for backing up the library, I also like to upload images to something cloud-based for redundancy. This isn't really practical with the entire library (unless you want to pay for a service), but just backing up the flagged "album" files to Picasa or something allows me to have a cloud-based backup of the most important images to someplace where I can also share the images with family and friends. (Picasa in particular is nice because you can upload high quality originals and re-download them later.)

    Sorry for the length. Everyone has their own processes, but plenty of us tweak our processes by sharing with each other. I know I find better ways to do what I do by reading what you all do.
  8. HarryPot thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    Thanks ChrisA and kelub. I appreciate the help.:)

    I definitely would benefit from smaller previews. Currently I have it in Half Size and the quality in 8. And yes, the Fast Preview is extremely helpful for sorting new photos.

    And you seem to have a very good process there kelub. I also do something similar with my photos. But I always forget to delete bad photos. So maybe I could easily go from the 28,300 photos I have right now to something around 20,000.
  9. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    I supposed you won't be ordering the maxed out Mac Pro now. ;)
  10. HarryPot thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    One can always dream, right?:)

    Just for the fun of it I went and maxed out a MP, it goes for more than $10,000!:eek:
  11. egis macrumors member

    Sep 3, 2008
    Bethesda, Maryland
    Your set up is exactly like mine...excepting my MBP is early 2011. Aside from buying RAM...an alternative is to just free up your memory.

    There are a few memory cleaning/freeing apps on the Apple Store. I use Free Memory (Lite). It is free. When I use Aperture and all my plug ins, I usually use it without any other apps open - thus keeping all available RAM dedicated to that app and the OS. It works and you cannot beat the price. I do the free-up prior to starting up Aperture, and have ~5.5 gigs free. As I do work in the app, I watch my memory usage on the menu bar and re-free up as I go along...see if this does not speed things up.
  12. MacInTO macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2005
    Canada, eh!
    Did you ever get this resolved?

    I used to have an early 2011 15" MBP (i7 2.0), but I ran it with 16GB of RAM, a 500GB SSD as a main drive and a 1TB hard drive in the optical bay. The library was located on the SSD and the referenced images were on the 1TB hard drive. It ran very quickly. Fast enough for me not to notice.

    When I ran it stock, with 4GB of RAM and the 500GB HD it was dead slow. I first upgraded the RAM which definitely sped it up. Then I upgraded the main drive to an SSD and swapped out the optical drive with a HD. This made it fly!

    I recently upgraded to a 2012 rMBP (i7 2.7) with 16GB of RAM and a 768GB SSD. My referenced images are now on a 2.5" Macally USB3.0/FW800 enclosure. In the enclosure is a 1TB Seagate hybrid drive.

    When I open Aperture, it takes over a minute before Aperture is useable. When I enter fullscreen view mode for the first time, it takes 15-30 seconds. After this, Aperture seems to run fine.

    I upgraded because I was afraid of Raedongate happening on my 2011 MBP. However, the 2012 rMBP seems to be a step backwards in terms of performance.
  13. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    If you read the rest of the thread, you will see the answer to your question.
    It appears that the OP was working much better after the tips, so you can say it was resolved.
    Post #5 goes into some detail, with more tips in the posts that follow.
  14. MacInTO macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2005
    Canada, eh!
    Missed that, thanks! Mine is off so I've got some other problems!

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