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Apr 12, 2001
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image-capture-icon-mac-200x200.jpg
A bug has been discovered in Apple's macOS Image Capture app that needlessly eats up potentially gigabytes of storage space when transferring photos from an iPhone or iPad to a Mac.

Discovered by the developers of media asset management app NeoFinder and shared in a blog post called "Another macOS bug in Image Capture," the issue occurs when Apple's Mac tool converts HEIF photos taken by iOS to more standard JPG files.

This process happens when users uncheck the "Keep Originals" option in Image Capture's settings, which converts the HEIC files to JPG when copied to Mac. However, the app also inexplicably adds 1.5MBs of empty data to every single file in the process.

image-capture-bug-macos.jpg
"Of course, this is a colossal waste of space," said the NeoFinder team, "especially considering that Apple is seriously still selling new Macs with a ridiculously tiny 128 GB internal SSD. Such a small disk is quickly filled with totally wasted empty data.

"With just 1000 photos, for example, this bug eats 1.5 GB off your precious and very expensive SSD disk space."
NeoFinder's developers say they discovered the bug by "pure chance" when working on improving the metadata capabilities of NeoFinder using a hex editor, and provided an example shot of what the end of individual JPG files look like in hex, post-transfer.

wasted-space-image-capture.jpeg
Hex data of a JPG file viewed using Hex Fiend

MacRumors was also able to replicate the issue in macOS 10.14.6 and later using an online hex editor. It's worth noting that the bug only occurs when transferring photos from Apple devices, not when importing photos from digital cameras using Image Capture.
NeoFinder's team says it has notified Apple of the bug, and the developers suggest anyone plagued by the issue can try using a new beta version of the third-party utility Graphic Converter, which includes an option to remove the unwanted empty data from the JPEG files.


Article Link: Newly Discovered macOS Image Capture Bug Can Fill Up Hard Drives With Empty Data
 
Last edited:

cerberusss

macrumors 6502a
Aug 25, 2013
927
361
The Netherlands
Personally, I have never used this app. I would suggest simply removing it outright until Apple fixes it.

If you've never used this app, then this doesn't affect you, and you don't need to remove it.

Would this also eat up icloud storage if you are using icloud Photos?

No. It happens when people use the macOS Image Capture tool, to manually move pictures off their phones, onto their Mac.
 
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NightFox

macrumors 68030
May 10, 2005
2,641
2,770
Shropshire, UK
I only ever use Image Capture when scanning a document from my printer.
Otherwise I transfer any images or videos from my iPhone using Airdrop.

Doesn't AirDrop still remove key metadata from images by default? I've also seen suggestion that at one stage it reduced or resampled larger images, not sure if that's still the case though.
 
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phenste

macrumors regular
Sep 16, 2012
187
644
Ahh, can’t remember the last time I even touched this app…not surprised that such a bug went unnoticed. Wouldn’t be surprised if this gets worked into some miscommunicated hysteria about Apple and QC though…this app is beyond niche and a solid 90% of people don’t use it and won’t be affected in *any way* by this, whether the app is even on their computer or not. Simple as that. Hope Apple fixes it in a prompt manner.
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
68,454
36,150
Boston
Personally, I have never used this app. I would suggest simply removing it outright until Apple fixes it.
If you have a scanner you have no choice, I have an older epson scanner that stopped developing drivers and forced me to use that app. I opted to use windows, as the epson software was more robust then Image Capture ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
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Birincsik József

macrumors newbie
Feb 24, 2020
2
5
Image Capture is also a great app for data loss.

1. Create a folder in Finder.
2. In the Import to menu choose your newly created folder.
3. Perform an import.
4. Quit Image Capture.
5. Delete the folder.
6. Open Image Capture. As you open the application, it displays the already deleted folder in the Import To menu. When you chose images and click Import, it performs an action: it imports your images to the folder that does not exist, because you have already deleted it in step 5.
7. If you choose the delete the files after successful import, Image Capture removes the data from your card or iPhone, but the files will disappear forever, because the Import To folder did not exist at the time you started import.

That is also a serious bug in the application which is present for 4 yours now.

The app should refresh the Import To menu to default value, if the selected import folder does not exist anymore. Or should display a dialogue, that it cannot perform the import, because the selected folder does not exist. It does not, which can cause painful moments.
 
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ram-it14

macrumors newbie
Dec 4, 2015
25
81
"With just 1000 photos, for example, this bug eats 1.5 GB off your precious and very expensive SSD disk space."

s
C'mon guys, with ONLY 1,000 photos you're using an extra 1.5GB of that 128GB you paid for!!! It's not like those 1,000 photos would have only used up 1GB of storage without this bug.
/s

My old Nikon D3100 is going to use a lot more storage space than Image Capture is wasting if I transfer all the JPEG and RAW files (19.8MB for each shot, and it's only a 12MP camera) from my SD card.

I realize it's wasted space and it's a bug in the software but do we have to make everything sound so extreme? If 1.5GB of space on your 128GB SSD is a "colossal waste of space" I suggest people look at their download folders as well as other files they have stored on their Mac to look for some space that can be recovered.
 
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ipponrg

macrumors 68020
Oct 15, 2008
2,262
2,033
"With just 1000 photos, for example, this bug eats 1.5 GB off your precious and very expensive SSD disk space."

s
C'mon guys, with ONLY 1,000 photos you're using an extra 1.5GB of that 128GB you paid for!!! It's not like those 1,000 photos would have only used up 1GB of storage without this bug.
/s

My old Nikon D3100 is going to use a lot more storage space than Image Capture is wasting if I transfer all the JPEG and RAW files (19.8MB for each shot, and it's only a 12MP camera) from my SD card.

I realize it's wasted space and it's a bug in the software but do we have to make everything sound so extreme? If 1.5GB of space on your 128GB SSD is a "colossal waste of space" I suggest people look at their download folders as well as other files they have stored on their Mac to look for some space that can be recovered.

You probably know this but a 128 GB drive doesn’t mean you have 128 GB of free space. So the 1.5 GB lost would probably have more significance
 
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jayducharme

macrumors 601
Jun 22, 2006
4,024
4,178
The thick of it
Since Image Capture isn't on the Dock by default, I wonder how many people use this app to import photos from an iOS device when Photos can do it automatically? As others, I use IC just with my scanner. So I haven't seen that issue yet.
 
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BaltimoreMediaBlog

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2015
1,115
1,991
DC / Baltimore / Northeast
I use this app every day and knew something was wrong with it and could see Apple has not updated it hardly at all. I know Tim Cook would like me to use his "preferred app", but I want to arrange my photos as I see fit, not how bean counter Tim Cook prefers me to. I was wondering why my Mac OS drive was getting bloated for no particular reason. Now I know. I'm the same way with iTunes. I do not want my music where Tim Cook wants it located. I have an entire music drive for that. Maybe I'm getting ancient in partitioning and such which many will say is no longer necessary. I rely on it for backups and such and use multiple HDs and SDs. If they were all grouped together in a RAID, I'd never know where the problem is or how to fix it and might lose it all. There might be newer ways, but I know mine works. I had an entire Toshiba HD shred itself to death in my sleep for no particular reason once, but my method saved most of my stuff.

FIX IT APPLE NOW!
 
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ram-it14

macrumors newbie
Dec 4, 2015
25
81
You probably know this but a 128 GB drive doesn’t mean you have 128 GB of free space. So the 1.5 GB lost would probably have more significance

Yes I know formatted capacity differs. I looked at the storage on my MacBook Pro with a 256GB SSD; it has a formatted capacity of 250.55GB, let's just say its the same for a 128GB SSD leaving you with 122.55 GB of formatted storage, and then system files and your apps take up a fair chunk of that, I get it. But, it's not 1998 anymore the statements made in that article make it seem like 1.5GB is a lot of space, it just isn't.

I'm not sure what you consider significant but that 1.5GB wasted on your drive that only holds 122.55 GB (theoretically) breaks down to 1.22% vs 1.17% if you had all 128GB available (which I know is not possible), so I'll take that 0.05% as insignificant in the world of data storage.
 
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now i see it

macrumors 604
Jan 2, 2002
7,040
14,637
I doubt it's a bug. Likely the guy at NeoFinder doesn't understand what's going on with the conversion
 
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