Apple Disappointment – Photos

Being a long time Apple fan, I have often sung their praises. Products that work, fit in with my natural workflow, and in general delight. That said, a recent experience has tarnished the gleam.

About 6 years ago, I realized that the built in photo management tool, iPhoto, was completely unsuitable for the task. I had graduated to a decent DSLR, and started shooting in RAW format. iPhoto did read the files, but the size of the files, and the huge quantity of files brought it to its knees. It really was painful.

I jumped to Aperture, a "Pro" application that had a decent workflow. It was that or the Adobe product, Lightroom.

Aperture worked well for a long time, but about Mavericks timeframe, it was reworked to add in the photostream, and the quality of the experience was diminished. I had made the decision to bolt to Lightroom, knowing the end was in sight.

Recently, Apple deprecated iPhoto, replacing it with "photos" that more closely works like the photos application on the iPhone. Meh, but whatever. However, the path was to migrate from iPhoto or Aperture to Photos, a one way migration.

It went OK for my aperture library, but the wonkiness was helping a friend migrate her iPhoto library.

She had a well aged (but quite serviceable) MacBook Pro. It was bought in 2009, and works. She had about 38Gigs of photos from her digital camera, in iPhoto. the '09 version that came with the computer.

A hard disk failure, and the genius bar upgraded her to 10.10.3 when they replaced it. iPhoto is not supported so she must go to Photos.

But it hung up at 24% in migrating. She brought it to me, and I tried all my magic.

  • Used an external drive and a clean copy of the iphoto library – no dice
  • repaired the library with my wife's computer – still running the same version of iPhoto (the advice from the support forums). No dice.
  • Disk warrior – rebuilt and optimized the directory structure – no dice
  • Repaired permissions – No dice.

After about 10 hours of fiddling, nothing would get past the 24% hump. I had to admit defeat, and advise her to make a Genius bar appointment.

Yesterday, I heard that after 4 hours, the genius bar tech was importing a year at a time. Painfully slow.

From reading the forums on apple.com, it is clear this is not an uncommon problem.

My suspicions: Apple didn't test enough variants of iPhoto, assuming that people upgraded as it was available (a faulty assumption), that minor glitches in iPhotos databases can fatally halt the migration.

There really needs to be a built in database check/rebuild that eases the migration.

In the mean time? I am moving all my photos to Lightroom. At least Adobe just uses flat file system folders for storage, so future migrations will be simple tasks.

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