iPhoto performance / Macbook Mavericks / Disk Full

Hellox

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 15, 2015
6
0
Hi,

I'd like some advice please on the best steps I can take to get past a dilemma with iPhoto performance vs photo management.

I am running a 2009 Macbook white on OSX 10.9.5, with 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB memory, and 120GB storage (with 71GB taken by photos, the rest by music).

I have over 10,000 photos stored on this notebook using iPhoto. I noticed that iPhoto performance became significantly worse once I got past about the 7,000 mark. I've read that it is not capable of managing large libraries.

On top of that my notebook disk is FULL. General performance of the notebook has also deteriorated in recent years - a combination of OS updates and decreasing storage, I think. I daren't upgrade to Yosemite.

Here are my questions:

1) If I were to upgrade to Yosemite would Photos be able to handle a 10,000 picture library better than iPhoto can? I guess my storage issue/processing power would still be a problem though - if I were to store my photo library externally can I still use Photos or does that require the photos to be stored locally?
2) If I were to upgrade to a new Macbook with more storage and processing power would Photos be able to handle a growing photo library of over 10,000? Does Photos lock in your photos in the same way iPhoto did?
3) If I were to extract photos from my iPhoto library and store them externally what software would be recommended? I'd like something that displays my albums in the way iPhoto does. Does Aperture offer anything similar, or is that just for editing?

I am trying to weigh up between these options:
1) Removing my photos to return my notebook to a (hopefully) a useable state, but then what else would I use to view/edit photos?
2) Buying a swanky new Macbook, but will I end up in the same situation with Photos not being able to handle a large library?
3) Or dare I say it - move back to windows - so I can get more storage/processing power but for less money. That said, I am reluctant to do so because I've really got used to not having all the Windows irritations.

Advice on both hardware and software much appreciated.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,390
33,009
Boston
I recommend that you avoid photos, and go with a more robust product like LightRoom, you're not the type of user that apple us gearing Photos towards. Aperture is dead, I'd not even consider going to that, it was a great program but apple stopped caring about it years ago. They only made it official this year.

Second, if you don't already have it set up, I highly recommend a good backup solution.

I store my current year images on the local drive and the older year images on an external drive. When the new year rolls around I move what was the current year to the external drive. That way I have the current stuff available when I travel but I don't need everything since I'll not need to see/work on my pictures that were taken in 2012 or 2010. That's just me, my work flow may not fit yours. I find moving the folders within LightRoom to be easy so managing the locations is not a hassle with LR.

I don't see why you would need to go back to windows when there are solutions in OS X that are more robust then what Photos offers as I mentioned above.
 

Hellox

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 15, 2015
6
0
I recommend that you avoid photos, and go with a more robust product like LightRoom, you're not the type of user that apple us gearing Photos towards. Aperture is dead, I'd not even consider going to that, it was a great program but apple stopped caring about it years ago. They only made it official this year.

Second, if you don't already have it set up, I highly recommend a good backup solution.

I store my current year images on the local drive and the older year images on an external drive. When the new year rolls around I move what was the current year to the external drive. That way I have the current stuff available when I travel but I don't need everything since I'll not need to see/work on my pictures that were taken in 2012 or 2010. That's just me, my work flow may not fit yours. I find moving the folders within LightRoom to be easy so managing the locations is not a hassle with LR.

I don't see why you would need to go back to windows when there are solutions in OS X that are more robust then what Photos offers as I mentioned above.
Hi,
Thanks for your help. Does Lightroom lock the files away in the same way iPhoto does? I didn't realise that was the case with iPhoto until it was to late, and it was a feature I didn't really like.
I'd forgotten about Aperture being retired!
Thanks.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,390
33,009
Boston
What do you mean lock the files away?

The images are stored in a folder structure you define, but you manage them within Lightroom, that is you use LR to manage the file structure, though you can see them in the Finder - does that make sense to you?
 

ftaok

macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
6,199
1,220
East Coast
My suggestion would be to buy a new hard drive or ssd for your MacBook. They're pretty easy to replace and the ssd should speed up general performance.

If I had to guess, I would say that your macs performance deteriorated around the same time your hard drive got to 90% full. Buy a nice 256gb ssd and swap it out.

You'll be able to coax another year or two out of that MacBook.

Btw, iPhoto should be able to handle libraries up to 25,000 and more. But YMMV.

Added - if you have an external hard drive, you can do some testing by moving your iPhoto library to the external and see if the freed up space helps speed things up. It may speed up iPhoto performance too. Then keep the external drive as a backup drive.
 

Hellox

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 15, 2015
6
0
What do you mean lock the files away?

The images are stored in a folder structure you define, but you manage them within Lightroom, that is you use LR to manage the file structure, though you can see them in the Finder - does that make sense to you?
Yeah, that makes sense thanks. It was the inability to see/access your files in Finder that was the nasty surprise for me.

I have just literally started exporting my photos to an extneral HDD and I have another nasty surprise - the file created is a copy such that the file date is today. I can see the original date is still there in the EXIF data in Preview, but I'd want to be able to sort my photos in sequential order (using file date). Does anyone know a way around this?
 
Last edited:

Hellox

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 15, 2015
6
0
My suggestion would be to buy a new hard drive or ssd for your MacBook. They're pretty easy to replace and the ssd should speed up general performance.

If I had to guess, I would say that your macs performance deteriorated around the same time your hard drive got to 90% full. Buy a nice 256gb ssd and swap it out.

You'll be able to coax another year or two out of that MacBook.

Btw, iPhoto should be able to handle libraries up to 25,000 and more. But YMMV.

Added - if you have an external hard drive, you can do some testing by moving your iPhoto library to the external and see if the freed up space helps speed things up. It may speed up iPhoto performance too. Then keep the external drive as a backup drive.
I have just started exporting some Events to an external HDD. Is there a way to export the whole library? Also see above for new problems with the exporting process!

Many thanks.
 

ftaok

macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
6,199
1,220
East Coast
I have just started exporting some Events to an external HDD. Is there a way to export the whole library? Also see above for new problems with the exporting process!

Many thanks.
If you Ctrl-click the iPhoto library file, you'll get an option to "show package contents". This will allow you to explore the iPhoto library file structure. You could go through each folder and copy the files that you want, but don't delete or move anything. Do all deletes within the iPhoto app itself, or you'll mess up the database.
 

Hellox

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 15, 2015
6
0
If you Ctrl-click the iPhoto library file, you'll get an option to "show package contents". This will allow you to explore the iPhoto library file structure. You could go through each folder and copy the files that you want, but don't delete or move anything. Do all deletes within the iPhoto app itself, or you'll mess up the database.
I just took a look at that but unfortunately it's a mess of folders and subfolders, sometimes with just one photo inside 3 levels of subfolder. Is that the only other option?
 

ftaok

macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
6,199
1,220
East Coast
I'm not sure why you need to export the files in the first place, but who am I to comment. Anyways I suppose that you could do a spotlight search on any jpg files that use your camera's naming convention. My canon produces photos with file names like IMG0001.jpg.

Just sort on those and drag drop onto the external drive. Only thing is I'm not sure if spotlight can dig into the library file.

Worth a look
 

simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
4,850
734
Auckland
Connect your external drive. Drag your iPhoto library to it. Wait for it to complete the copy.

iPhoto is capable of managing large libraries perfectly well if running on suitable HW (I had over 50k images in mine when I moved off iPhoto). Fix the drive space issue first, you can't tell how anything performs with a full disk.

iPhoto will be slower running with the library on an external drive compared to having it on the internal. As above, swap out the full drive for an SSD then copy your library back to the SSD and it should be way faster than you have now in every respect when using iPhoto.
 

Hellox

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 15, 2015
6
0
Connect your external drive. Drag your iPhoto library to it. Wait for it to complete the copy.

iPhoto is capable of managing large libraries perfectly well if running on suitable HW (I had over 50k images in mine when I moved off iPhoto). Fix the drive space issue first, you can't tell how anything performs with a full disk.

iPhoto will be slower running with the library on an external drive compared to having it on the internal. As above, swap out the full drive for an SSD then copy your library back to the SSD and it should be way faster than you have now in every respect when using iPhoto.
Thanks, that seems a good way of judging the performance. What did you move to after iPhoto?
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
5,139
4,665
Denmark
You should have ~15 GB available space on your harddrive for OS swapping, otherwise you'll get a major speed decrease. I would recommend buying an external harddrive for you photos, or just a larger internal drive - They are really cheap now.
 

simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
4,850
734
Auckland
Thanks, that seems a good way of judging the performance. What did you move to after iPhoto?
I moved first to Aperture then earlier this year I moved my 70k image library to Capture One Pro due to the lack of outlook of Aperture development or replacement.
 
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