Improve performance of Apple Photos

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by swandy, May 5, 2019.

  1. swandy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2012
    #1
    Did a few Google searches but couldn't find anything helpful. I have a question about improving the performance of the Photos for Mac app. Now granted my Photos library (mid-2015 iMac running latest Mojave and Photos versions) is a bit on the large size (over 85,000 photos/videos and a bit under 700GB) and is on an external Western Digital USB 3.0 drive. All the photos - should be obvious by the size of the library - are in the library itself (having the app set for downloading all originals). But at times it seems to drag - Auto Enhancing a photo, swiping back and forth between photos - and I get the pretty little pinwheels. Not overly long - usually less than 20-30 seconds or so.

    My question is would the app run better if:

    (1) I had it Optimized for Storage - which means everything would be stored in iCloud and only downloaded when I want to view a larger photo and/or edit.

    (2) And, if I did change to the Optimized version, would moving the library to my internal HD on the iMac make a difference? (Not reasonable now considering the size of the library.)

    Thanks for any ideas/suggestions.

    (BTW - I have considered dividing up the large library into two smaller ones, but would prefer not to go that route as the slow-downs are not really annoying at this point.)
     
  2. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #2
    To me the only purpose of Apple photos is as a storage app. Plus the fact that it opens when you sync your iPhone. Add in the fact that you have such a large library makes the app even worse.
     
  3. swandy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #3
    Lots of people I am sure feel that way but I happen to be very happy with it's results (and the improvements they have made in the Edit capabilities since it was first released) and the fact that I have other apps for when I need more involved Post Processing than the app itself provides.
     
  4. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #4
    I just don't think the app has the power to handle a lot when you have a lot of photos in it.
     
  5. swandy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Understandable. Just looking at my options and eventually breaking up the library might be the way I have to go. As I said the issues aren’t that annoying (yet).
    Thanks
     
  6. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #6
    Why not just backup your photos on an external drive.
     
  7. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #7
    All of what I'm about to say is theoretical and not based on experience.

    I wouldn't think this would really make a very big difference. It would surprise me a lot of Photos is keeping full resolution versions ready at all times anyways. What's causing slow-downs with large libraries is likely that it does keep thumbnails ready at any time for when you roll past them, and maybe full resolution versions ready for the ones that it is display thumbnails for at that specific moment, and maybe a little beyond the screen borders too. So sure, it might help a little bit, but probably not drastically.

    Faster storage will guarantee faster results in any case. I don't really know how Photos is coded specifically, but it surprises me that the size of the library impacts the editing speed to this degree. In any case, if you're not RAM limited - and I'm assuming it's not CPU or GPU limited operations either, increasing the storage speed for the library drive will definitely be a performance win. Whether that be the internal drive (assuming it's a fast one like the SSDs or a good Fusion Drive) or a nice external SSD or something.



    Splitting the library is less than ideal, because, well, it splits up your photos and videos, and the whole point of an app like Photos is to keep it all sorted in one convenient place. I really wish there was an option to split the data among two drives (without using RAID or similar to make it a single logical volume) and have the Photos app read two libraries at once and treat it like one. That way, having one half on your internal and the other half on the external could speed up performance a good chunk by reading from multiple drives at once. Currently not a feature, but it ought to be.

    I remember back in the iLife days, when increasing the performance for large libraries was a key feature presented for iPhoto... Sounds like we need another event like that.
     
  8. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

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    #8
  9. swandy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #9
    The photos are managed inside the Library file and it is on an external drive.
    --- Post Merged, May 5, 2019 ---
    Might have to look into either a faster external drive or a new iMac with a faster internal one. But as I said my library is almost 700GB (must larger than yours). Might be because a lot of my photos are JPEG+RAW combos to have that much larger a library with only about 45% more photos/videos than you have. So a 1TB internal might not work for me.
    Thanks.
    --- Post Merged, May 5, 2019 ---
    Yep - general consensus is a faster drive - probably external because even getting a new iMac the cost of a much larger and faster internal drive would drive the cost up I would assume.
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    #10
    OP wrote:
    "The photos are managed inside the Library file and it is on an external drive."

    Is the external drive a platter-based hard drive, or is it an SSD?

    If it's platter-based, you might consider a 1tb SSD.
     
  11. swandy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #11
    That was suggested previously, but thanks. That might be the way to go.
     
  12. am2am macrumors member

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    Oct 15, 2011
    #12
    Have 80k+ RAWs photos (1,5TB of my current icloud storage) and the app has enough power to manage them all. Don't see much difference in DAM aspect between LR and Photos here (photos having an edge for me)
    Editing is a different story, but for photos management the app is more than adequate.


    I agree SSD makes a difference - significant difference
     
  13. now i see it macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    #13
    An 85,000 photo library is going to slow any app to a crawl. Soon you'll be at 100,000 and beyond. There's no end until you die. No app can effortlessly handle that kind of data quickly.
    I'd invest time in culling your photo library WAY down. There's doubtless countless duplicates or near duplicates that easily could be trashed. I'll bet you could delete at least half of them and not miss em one bit.
     
  14. spiderpumpkin macrumors regular

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    Oct 27, 2014
    #14
    I wish there was a setting in the Photos app to only store photos locally and keep the videos in iCloud.
     
  15. swandy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #15
    Funny because you don’t know what you are babbling about. And your comments without actually seeing the content of my library are way off also. I have been taking and saving photographs for over 50 years - you do the math.
    I have had responses from others with as large or larger libraries and they had no performance issues. Mine was apparently using a slow USB 3.0 external drive. Now that the library is on a SSD/USB-C drive it works perfectly. Only issue with a larger drive is if you have to copy/backup or repair the library - then obviously the size does effect it.
     
  16. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

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    #16
    I am looking for a digital photo library management system. I see a lot of photo editors with light "management" but I really need a photo management system that can handle >100k+ photos. I've got 60k+ in my library right now and Photos isn't doing a bad job, but it would be nice to manage these outside of Photos. (I don't like being locked into something).

    I bought Luminar 3 recently only to find it won't touch photos inside of the Photos library (doh). I really like the app. Not sure if I want to export 60k photos out of my library just so I can view them in Luminar 3. (130+GB).

    I've spent about 7 months (off and on) going over 120,000 photos I had collected over my life, deleting duplicates (thanks Google Photos...) and removing bad pictures - got it down to 60k. Took a 200GB+ library down to 96GB (with Photos working on it, it is at 130gb now).

    With technology the way it is, we should be able to handle 800k libraries like nothing.
     
  17. swandy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    This is why everyone missed Aperture. It had a great - much more advanced than Photo DAM - and better adjustments.
    I don’t think there are any programs that can manage within the Photos library. There is a program called Power Photo in the App Store that does management of libraries but not sure if it would do what you need.
    I am pretty happy with Photos - but I am not a professional. Most of them have either moved to Lightroom or similar programs.
     
  18. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

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    #18
    I never had the privilege of using Aperature. Wish I had :).

    I am pretty happy with Photos. Managing my 60k photo library on my MacBook, iPad, and iPhone is really nice - and taking a photo on any 3 is instantly available on all 3 devices. I'm spoiled.

    Glad to hear your SSD is working. My library is at 136GB at the moment - so I have it on my internal MacBook drive. Works very well.
     
  19. swandy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #19
    I agree. I initially went to LR but liked the idea of all the photos and videos being synced to all our devices and my better half loved it also. But my library is almost 700GB so a bit larger than yours. But the new drive seems to be the answer.
     
  20. am2am macrumors member

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    Oct 15, 2011
    #20
    I agree - Aperture was great. The best photo related product I’ve ever used. I’ve moved to Photos later as I couldn’t find my way with Lightroom and was missing integration with OSX/iOS. Have 20 years worth of photos in the cloud (being disciplined and deleting approx 70% of every imported photo set) and I’m quite satisfied with Photos. Advanced editing is not a problem with plugins. DAM and OS integration is really good.
    The only two things I’m missing and hoping Apple will fix is real RAW editing in iOS and applying edits on multiple images. For now iOS version is mediocre, only jpeg editing, no white balance. I’m using iPad only for consumption, editing exclusively on Mac. When they fix it il be really happy Photos user.
    --- Post Merged, May 18, 2019 ---
    Don’t do this. With ML/AI (machine learning/artificial intelligence) you can really see the advantage of one large multi year library. I love to see memories of anniversaries over the years observing how people/environment are changing. Using faces to build funny slideshow with individuals over years. You can do this only if you have all your photos in one library.
     
  21. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 8, 2014
    #21
    I/O. I have a 1 tb ssd internal on a 5 year old rMBP plus 1 and a .5 tb ssd externals on T-bolt I. I probably have around 60,000 images stored. No issues with performance.

    I think you are asking way to much from any image processing software is you’re still running spinners. The developers assume you have ssd and will write code accordingly (ie. bloatware).

    At the least: Are your usb sleeping constantly? Most do. Most cause spinners during the wake period.
     
  22. swandy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #22
    Update. Ended up getting a 2TB External SSD - USB 3.1 drive and had Photos create a totally new library on the drive. Yes, had to wait for the updating and downloading again but everything is running great. Can't believe the difference that the faster drive using the faster Thunderbolt/USB 3.1 connection made.
    Thanks for all the suggestions.
     
  23. SkiHound2 macrumors regular

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    Jul 15, 2018
    #23
    I may be late here but have you looked at Photo Mechanic? I've not used it but it is not infrequently recommended by high volume professional photographers. Fastrawviewer might be another option, though it's kind of intended to display full raw data for culling; not sure what it does if fed jpegs?
     
  24. BigMcGuire, Jun 12, 2019 at 12:22 PM
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019 at 2:33 PM

    BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

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    #24
    I have not but will do. Thank you.

    I bought Luminar 3 and found out it couldn't touch photos inside of Photos without me exporting it out to the app temporarily. Frustrated. lol
     

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23 May 5, 2019