Update Fixes iPhoto ’11 Library Bug

On Friday, Apple (s aapl) released an important software update to iPhoto ’11, the newly refreshed poster child of their just-released iLife ’11 suite of home media management applications for the Mac. The update addresses what Apple described as an “extremely rare” problem. Here’s the line from Software Update:

This update addresses issues that, in extremely rare cases, could result in data loss when upgrading a library from an earlier version of iPhoto.

Data loss, eh? Sounds terrifying. On the surface, it is. A brief search through the Apple Support forum reveals users who, at first blush, apparently “lost” their entire iPhoto libraries after upgrading to version ’11 (which is actually version 9.0 of the product).

The most commonly reported problem is a frozen upgrade process. After installation, the first time a user launches iPhoto ’11, they must upgrade their existing library if they want to use it in iPhoto ’11. Sadly, for some users, the upgrade never completes. Instead, it never gets past a spinning progress indicator.

The problem isn’t all that common, nor is it irreparable, though for those affected, the fix is quite convoluted. Some have apparently even had to restore from Time Machine backups.

For the record, I haven’t had any problems myself, despite upgrading multiple libraries ranging in size from a few hundred megabytes to a 300GB. I have found that iPhoto slows down considerably as it churns through the Faces database.

Another reported problem with iPhoto 11 is missing help files. Once again – I couldn’t reproduce the problem on any of my Macs. But if you are having problems accessing Help in iPhoto 11, you can find a solution here.

iLife ’11 was, for me, something of a mixed bag. I expected more from Apple, and the few updates we got to some of the iLife titles didn’t set my world on fire. Even though I haven’t experienced any problems myself, seeing library upgrade problems like these cropping up only makes me even less enthusiastic about the suite.

Let us know if you’ve had problems with iPhoto 11… or whether you intend to upgrade at all.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):