Most of us agree that iPhoto sucks, but for many of us it’s a necessary evil. As time goes on and your iPhoto database grows, it can start to experience issues. These issues can include missing photos, missing thumbnail images, and the database being completely unreadable.
iPhoto will prompt you to repair the database if things get really bad, but if they’re just annoying you can repair the database yourself. If you’re stuck using iPhoto you might as well make it work as smoothly as possible, so here’s how to fix most common iPhoto issues by rebuilding the iPhoto library.
If iPhoto is open, quit the application by selecting it and hitting Command + Q. If it’s being testy with you, you may have to Force Quit it by going to the Apple Menu, selecting Force Quit, then choosing iPhoto.
Next, open up the Applications folder and find iPhoto. Hold down Command + Option and open iPhoto. Keep holding the buttons down as iPhoto loads, until you see the Rebuild dialog box appear.
Note: This will look different based on the version of iPhoto you have. This is being written with version 9.5.1.
Depending on the specific issue you’re experiencing choose one of the four options. (On earlier versions there are 6 options)
Fixing the iPhoto Library
The four or six options you should now see run the gamut of iPhoto library fixes. They are organized from simplest to most obtrusive. None of these require any more or less work from you, but they do progressively more work on the database. It’s smart to only work on a database as much as necessary and no more. Use these guidelines from Apple to decide which you should use:
- Repair Permissions - This should be the first fix that you try. If iPhoto isn’t opening or if you get an error telling you certain photos can’t be edited, use the Repair Permissions feature to fix them.
- Rebuild Thumbnails - This pretty much speaks for itself. If your thumbnails in iPhoto aren’t showing correctly or if gray boxes are showing instead of them, use this option.
- Repair Database - Using the repair feature is a little less obtrusive than rebuilding it, and should be used if you believe you’re missing images or if iPhoto as a whole isn’t working well.
- Rebuild Database - Use this as a last resort if the others fail to fix your issues. This is useful if iPhoto quits unexpectedly, won’t load at all, or freezes in loading.
For older versions of iPhoto (before version 9.3) check out Apple’s help documentation here.
Each of these options will take varying amounts of time to complete, with rebuilding thumbnails and the database itself taking the most time. Once they’re done however, you should be up and running as smoothly as possible.
iPhoto might not be the best app out there, but if you need it to sync photos to your iPhone correctly or anything else, try the fixes above and see if they can make iPhoto behave a little better.