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Update Fixes iPhoto ’11 Library Bug

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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.

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18 Responses to “Update Fixes iPhoto ’11 Library Bug”

  1. Matt Makens

    I have had nothing but problems with iLife 11. After the install it did corrupt my iPhoto library which is my primary use of the suite and then proceeded to crash my system and render iPhoto completely unusable. After a retry and a gift from God of finding a backup of my library I tried again and got it to work for about 4 days before I m not at iPhoto being completely unusable again. i am going to go to the Apple store and demand a refund. I paid a premium for apple products so i would not have these problems and here I find myself with these problems.

  2. I wish I hadn’t upgraded to iPhoto 11. I can no longer easily email photos. In the past, when I was in iPhoto, I’d click on the photos I’d like to share, then click “share”, and I’d get an inquiry as to which size I wanted to send them (small, medium, large), and then they would appear in an email and allow me to include comments for each one, as well as any other messages. Now iPhoto automatically choses how to crop them (in the middle of the head, etc) and pastes them all in a convoluted collage which the receiver cannot use as it goes out as one picture, rather than separate ones. I hate it!

  3. I do not like it. I have been using Eudora email but there is no option for it in iPhoto 2011. Now there is a very limited font menu to select from and my favorite is not on it.
    How do I get a refund?

  4. Rutger Blom

    I, and many others, are having a problem with the book creation and not being able to add or delete pages. I’m stuck at 77 pages and can’t add or delete any pages. There’s a discussion going on about this issue on the iPhoto forum at

  5. I’ve upgraded from 09 to 11 version and worked nice. During creating my album on the screen appeared “There is a new version of iPhoto 9.01” which I installed. After the installation I couldn’t find my pictures any more (Photo Calender-thubnails-on the right side of the screen. What I saw was just white field . I reinstalled ipHoto 11 but without success.

  6. I just installed the bug repair of 9.1 for iphoto and now I can’t open my photos. I can see the image in event or photos, but nothing happens if I double click to enlarge the photo.

    I also have had trouble with the the jerkiness (is that even a word?) in the edit feature for exposure.

    I recommend not upgrading and I intend to ask for a refund and instruction on how to uninstall the ilife 2011

  7. I’m definitely having problems upgrading my iPhoto library after the ilife’11 installations. It keeps crashing and I kept trying 3-4 times before realizing there has been a software update for iPhoto. It’s a bit confusing if you ask me but I’m still a fan of iPhoto. All I have to say is my library better not be corrupt or I wont be happy. I do have Time Machine running in the background so hopefully it’s a safety net.

  8. Bruce Stottrup

    I find moving the slider up and down on the right side of the page to move throught the photos is not a smooth move. It feels “jerky”.

    I also want to send an email with a photo without a frame and Iphoto does not allow me to do so.

    I bought the last update and was very frustrated with it. I am using Iphoto ll seeing as I purchased a new Mac Pro and it was on the new laptop.

    I was pleased with my previous version.

    • Joe Mendes

      Same here the slider is not smooth at all.
      The update 9.1 is not helping very much.

      Questions :
      How I get the previous version back ?
      Is er a possibility to rename the missing pictures?

  9. After upgrading to Iphoto 11 there is a problem to see the miniatures.
    Even some events not show up ( all the miniatures are empty)
    Command/option and start Iphoto = also no “option”

    after the bug update still the same problem
    The pictures i can find back in Finder Iphoto/Library
    But “file could not be imported, the file is in the Iphoto Library”

    anyone have a idea ??

    • Patrick Foy

      Yea, I have an idea. Apple has got to come up with another update and soon! That first update did not help me either. I’m having freezes and crashes. For me iPhoto 11 is unusable. Apple has got to fix it, or I gotta bail out of it. I’ve not lost any data, but I can’t keep restarting the computer every 5 minutes.

  10. George Ellis

    I had no problem with my library but I made a Book on iPhoto with more than 100 pages and I cant delete 1 or 2 pages so that I can buy the book ( apple dont accept more than 100 pages in each book that you want to order online).

  11. When I upgraded from 6 to8, I lost about half my keywords and other metadata. the key words could be and were replaced, the exposure data etc is gone forever. Since then, my libraries have expanded to some 700+ GB and there’s no way I risk that with iphoto 11.

  12. Massimo Allen

    Apple is at it again with empty promises. If you bought an Apple Mac on or after october 22, 2010 you should get an updated version of iLife 11, instead Apple is dinging you for $6.95 + Tax to get the software.
    As if Apple is providing an upgrade! The iLife 11 was introduced on October 20, 2010 needless to say Apple wants another $6.95 just because they omitted to put the right disk in your Mac purchase.
    What a scam! Worst yet when you call, after being on hold for about 2 hours, you get no where.