iPhoto Speed


macrumors regular
Original poster
May 15, 2005
Wherever the water flows
I have over 11,000 pictures in my iPhoto Library and it takes about 1-2 minutes to open and close. I have included screenshots of iPhoto opening, closing, and while it is open. All of them show that iPhoto is using al least 1 gb of Virtual Ram. I have 1 bg of ram already would it help to speed up iPhoto by adding more. My computer is a dual 1.8 ghz G5 whith 1 gb of ram



macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
The Cool Part of CA, USA
Probably a little, although from the screenshots you posted you've still got some RAM left even when iPhoto is loaded (assuming that it's finished in the one with 1.7GB VM). Keep in mind that A) "Virtual Memory" doesn't mean a whole lot in this context, and B) as long as you have either some free or inactive memory left, you're ok, which you do in that image--300MB of it.

More RAM would probably allow it to cache a little more, and will give you more headroom for other apps, but it doesn't look like you're even maxing out what you've got.


macrumors G4
Jul 4, 2005
Do you need them all in the one library? If not, you could download a program called iPhoto Buddy that will allow you to open iPhoto using multiple libraries, it'll speed up a hell of a lot if you're only dealing with a few thousand rather than eleven thousand in one hit.

RAM couldn't hurt though.


macrumors G4
On the iPhoto Apple boards, someone has currently figured out that the relative speed (or not) of your iPhoto when otherwise there's enough RAM/HD space etc, depends on the size of your iPhoto.library file within your iPhoto library since this is what iPhoto uses when it loads the images and writes to when it closes.

Mine is only about 40MB (from memory) and my iPhoto (with 8000 images) opens/closes within seconds (on a 1.25Ghz Powerbook). Some of those on the discussion boards were reporting sizes of 200MB+ and subsequently very long opening times.

From further research that one of the regulars, Eric Lindsay, has posted, it appears that it has to do with certain makes of cameras and the size of their MakerNotes. On most cameras, these makernotes are between 1-4K, on certain models of Nikon, Casios and Pentax, they seem to be coming in at closer to 40K. Add an extra 36K of info per photo and you can start to see where the silly iphoto.library sizes are coming from.

Unfortunately at the moment, there doesn't seem to be a fix for this once the images are in the library since the Makernote data doesn't seem to be changeable once it's in the Library folder. There is a PERL script that you can run on images before you import them to the library which will reduce that Makernote size. Or, if you haven't done vast amounts of work in keywording/organising them all, you could export, run the script and re-import again.

If the extent of your endeavours in iPhoto is commenting and renaming then exporting and re-importing might not be so bad. You can export them with your iPhoto name (and hence re-import them with the same one) and there's an Automator script floating around that allows you to add your iPhoto comments to the Spotlight comments for a file.


macrumors G4
bloogersnigen said:
Thank you applespider but how can I get my hands on that script. My iphoto.library file is about 258 mb so I think that that script should help
Have a look here or on the Apple iPhoto discussions board (under Support tab)

Bear in mind that at the moment the suggestion is that you'd have to re-import the files that you've run through the script to get any benefit.
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