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Avoid a bad iPhoto5 'vanishing album' bug Apps
Be very very careful in iPhoto 5. Many people are having problems. Some are losing libraries, but most are losing albums. The pictures are still there, but it's easy to lose an album. Here's how I managed to stop album loss.
  1. BACKUP your library before you start. You undoubtedly will need to restore.
  2. Album loss seems to be associated with moving an album into a folder that contains other albums. I think this only occurs if the album was created prior to iPhoto 5, or if the album has not resided in a folder yet. The answer? Create an empty dummy folder. Move the album into the dummy folder first, then move the album to the final folder you want it in. Once the album is moved into the dummy folder, I think some meta-data gets added tothe album and it's now safe to move.
  3. If you move an album into a folder, make sure it's in the folder before you do anything else! If you can't see the album in the folder, hit Undo (Command-Z) right away, and you will get your album back. If this happens, try the trick in step two before you try dragging it again.
[robg adds: Reader allanmarcus originally added this in a comment to the Pages review story, but I felt it was well worth publishing as a tip of its own. This actually happened to me last night, and I thought I was going crazy -- I'd move an album into a folder, and it would vanish. I'd hit Command-Z, and it would come back. I'd try it again, and this time it would work. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't ... frustrating! Today, I spent some time on it, and figured out what's happening ... so while the above method will work, I believe the following solution will also, and it's a bit easier.

First, how it happens: I'm not sure why this happens, but I do know when it happens. The conditions are: a folder with at least one album already in it, and another album being added -- and as noted, that album has not previously been in a folder, and must have been created in iPhoto4. The reason I was getting spotty results last night was due to how I was dropping the albums:

When I drop an album as shown on the left side of the above image, it will vanish (assuming it meets the above conditions). When I drop an album as shown on the right side, it works 100% of the time -- even for albums that should vanish according to the above rules. So, the easiest workaround is: always drop dragged albums onto the containing folder, not into the hierarchy of albums within the folder! Once it's been placed once, you can then drag it around inside the folder to place it.]
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Avoid a bad iPhoto5 'vanishing album' bug | 21 comments | Create New Account
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Avoid a bad iPhoto5 'vanishing album' bug
Authored by: exsilio on Jan 25, '05 06:52:42PM

Thanks for the tip.

I would just like to comment that I have not had this issue. I created over 20+ albums and dropped them the "bad" way, with zero vanishing files or folders.

So my thinking is that the problem might be something other than solely within iPhoto 5.

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Avoid a bad iPhoto5 'vanishing album' bug
Authored by: pglock on Jan 25, '05 08:56:31PM

There will probably be a long thread on this, judging from the traffic on the Apple Discussion Board:

My contribution after suffering the 'lost thumbnails' issue and some corrupted pictures is to give a brief hint on how to import pictures into iPhoto 5 from 4 if all else fails:

  • Before firing up any version of iPhoto, duplicate your iphoto library and rename the copy to "iPhoto Library4" or anything else you like.
  • Follow the other hints on upgrading given in the iPhoto forum.
  • If you run into upgrade problems then:
  • Quit iPhoto
  • Delete the iPhoto Library in your 'Pictures' folder Not the backup "iPhoto Library4"
  • In the finder, press 'Command+F'
  • Click the 'Add' button next to 'Search in specific place' drop down
  • Browse to your backup "iPhoto Library4", select it then 'Choose'
  • Run a search for files with extension '.jpg', size greater than 50k. This should bring up all of your photos, but without the thumbnails.
  • Start iPhoto5 and select 'Create new library' option.
  • Select the find window with all your .jpg and press 'Command+A' to select all pictures.
  • Drag and drop into the blank iPhoto window
  • Limitations: If you've done any editing you will end up with two copies of your picture, original and edited. Also, you'll lose all your albums. Ho hum...

    Too lazy to think of an original signoff...

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    Frozen with Fear
    Authored by: Spiritman on Jan 25, '05 09:46:44PM

    I have 15,000 photos in iPhoto 4......which seems to be totally bug free aside from the export command, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't but you can sometimes drag originals out.....I wonder if there is a performance improvement in iPhoto5 and I also need an approach to deal with the issue that I may be adding 6-8000 a year. Supposedly there is a 25,000 limit.....although Jobs at the Keynote said he had 25,000 in his computer....Picasa will handle 250,000!!!

    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Frozen with Fear
    Authored by: taxi on Jan 25, '05 11:26:45PM

    I'm looking forward to iPhoto 5, simply for the heirarchical album feature. I want to be able to have all of the Wedding photos grouped together, and then split into individual weddings, for instance.

    And I hope it doesn't crash as often. It just brought down my whole system - as I was trying to write this comment the first time around!

    (Bad enough crash that everything freezes, and I had to hard reboot!)

    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Frozen with Fear
    Authored by: MacDork on Jan 26, '05 08:33:54AM

    Try out iPhoto Buddy -- it lets you create several iPhoto libraries. This allows you to break up the photos into logical groupings and keeps the number of photos down to a more manageable (*cough* snappier *cough*) size.

    It's overall rating is 4.7 out of 5 at versiontracker, and i've been using it for a while now (since iPhoto 3).

    [ Reply to This | # ]
    25K Plus
    Authored by: mahuti on Jan 26, '05 10:55:58AM

    With iPhoto 4, I have about 25,500 pictures with no major issues. Perhaps I should back up if I'm going to keep adding more.


    [ Reply to This | # ]
    25K Plus
    Authored by: lavar78 on Jan 26, '05 05:57:23PM

    Um, you should back up anyway. Think of how you'd feel if you lost some or all of those 25,500 photos.

    [ Reply to This | # ]
    25K Plus
    Authored by: mahuti on Jan 26, '05 08:17:01PM

    I use iPhoto as a way to store client images in a place where I can browse them all. If it got damaged, I wouldn't really care. I don't do anything too special with them. If the file got damaged, I'd just re-add them.

    Thanks for your "concern"


    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Avoid a bad iPhoto5 'vanishing album' bug
    Authored by: robg on Jan 25, '05 09:36:03PM

    It's not for albums created in iPhoto5 -- only iPhoto4-created albums have this problem. I've edited the hint to further clarify this...


    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Slideshow 'black screen' bug
    Authored by: frogmella on Jan 26, '05 07:06:15AM

    Has anyone found a solution to the slideshow 'black screen' bug, whereby on starting a slide show the screen fades to black and then nothing happens (until you force-quit, anyway)? This is on an iMac G3 with a fresh install of OS 10.3.7 and iPhoto 5. I've rebuilt the library (and in fact removed all photos), deleted the prefs, reinstalled, fixed permissions, changed resolution... any other ideas?

    [ Reply to This | # ]
    G3 Slideshow disabled in iPhoto 5
    Authored by: mclbruce on Jan 26, '05 01:11:47PM

    My understanding is that the iPhoto 5 slide show does not work on G3 Macs. I could be wrong about this.

    [ Reply to This | # ]
    More Bugs
    Authored by: JaxMyers on Jan 26, '05 08:05:52PM

    I've noticed a few more bugs:
    When I try to edit a picture in "edit mode" in the same window, sometimes the picture is not centered and I have to close edit mode and re-open it to fix it.

    Also in window edit more, there is no longer a resize option. Any idea where it went? I can zoom to 100% by pressing 1 but I can't zoom specifically where I want to which makes window mode pretty much useless to me...

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    Avoid a bad iPhoto5 'vanishing album' bug
    Authored by: DougWilson on Jan 26, '05 08:04:52AM

    I have had another "loss of data" bug in iPhoto5. In my case, I created a NEW album, copied some pictures form other albums, in preparation for creating a Book. Created the book, but while simply editing some of the canned text to my own by double-clicking, iPhoto crashed. When I relaunched, ALL of my previous work, including creation of the new album and Book, were gone. I was able to reporduce this twice (glutton for punishment, I guess). My work-around now is to quit iPhoto5 after making signifiacant changes, so they won't be lost in event of a crash. There is really no excuse for a crash whem double-clicking on editable text!

    Also, has anyone else noticed that typing in iPhoto and Keynote is EXTREMELY slow!

    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Avoid a bad iPhoto5 'vanishing album' bug
    Authored by: jctull on Jan 26, '05 12:12:20PM

    Pages is plagued with the slow typing problem as well on my G4 TiBook (1 GHZ, 768MB RAM, 10.3.7). I have noticed this in general with Cocoa applications. Usually graphics intensive tasks cause massive slowdowns, generally when manipulating graphic items, but the typing thing may new.

    For instance, in OmniGraffle, if you select some items, then try to move them via the mouse, the action gets super slow and almost appears to freeze. It is more efficient to move things by dragging with the mouse. But this makes simple moves along a single plane harder to do.

    So my thinking has been that there are some problems with Cocoa rendering or a problem with Quartz, but this is only a guess. Regardless, it has been a sore point for me for some time.

    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Avoid a bad iPhoto5 'vanishing album' bug
    Authored by: robg on Jan 26, '05 02:41:18PM

    Odd; I haven't noticed a slow typing problem in Pages -- it keeps up with me, no matter how quickly I type. This is on my G4/1.33GHz PowerBook. What exactly are you seeing that you describe as slow typing? How long after you type do the letters show up?

    I also haven't noticed any overbearing slowdowns in OmniGraffle; I can drag around 10 to 15 objects at once with the mouse with ease...


    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Avoid a bad iPhoto5 'vanishing album' bug
    Authored by: jctull on Jan 27, '05 11:55:10AM

    Well, this was happening Tuesday evening on a newsletter I am putting together. I returned to the project yesterday and did not notice the issue, but I was not doing a lot of writing this time. Perhaps there was something else going on with my system, or it was occurring for other reasons not easily discernible.

    I tested a large paste into Pages yesterday. I copied the text from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo from Project Gutenberg and pasted it into a new, blank document. It took about 3-4 minutes to process the paste. The text had forced line breaks, etc. I cut it and manipulated it in BBEdit to get rid of extraneous return carriages. (When I tried this in Pages, I got the spinning cursor for over ten minutes -- replace 2 carriage returns with 1 -- and force quit the app). The cleaned up document was over 1200 pages and everything seemed okay (1.3 MB file size). It took about 20 seconds to open with Pages not already open. If I go anywhere in the document and do rapid typing, the text falls behind my typing. This might be 60 wpm typing -- I am not a good typer. I will try to send you the document to play with.

    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Avoid a bad iPhoto5 'vanishing album' bug
    Authored by: robg on Jan 27, '05 12:36:49PM

    Glad Pages handling of smaller documents went back to normal; I still haven't seen any issues with the 'typical' filesizes.

    I got the file (and sent you a reply). That's a most interesting test; clearly it's beyond the scope of Pages' mission to handle something like that :). I was impressed that it did, but yea, I wouldn't want to work that way too much -- not so much the typing, as I found that acceptable. But searching, moving, replacing, etc. would all be troublesome.

    Just for grins, I tried opening the same file in Word (I exported it from Pages to Word). Differences? Word took a *lot* longer to open the file for me, and then took a long time to repaginate it. Once I finally jumped to a spot in the text, though, typing was notably quicker than in Pages. But if I jumped around in the document, I then had another small delay before I could type at full speed again.

    It's almost like Word somehow works on updating only the visible page in real time, then does the rest of the work in the background ... Pages, on the other hand, seems to update the whole document each time you type a letter.

    Mainly, though, what I learned is the reason why I write my books with each chapter in its own file -- no word processor wants to work with that much data, and no author wants to LOSE that much data in the event of a bad crash! :)


    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Avoid a bad iPhoto5 'vanishing album' bug
    Authored by: moliu on Jan 26, '05 08:16:21AM

    Too bad this hint only came out now... I had this problem a few days ago. I upgraded my iPhotos 4 albums and then tried to drag everything into a folder and then noticed that some albums were missing even though it said I had 55 albums in the folder, only 20 or so showed up. I did notice that the photos were still there. I was so afraid I lost some of my photos. Anyway, I end up delete the whole folder together with the albums and then recreating all the albums. It wasn't that difficult for me cos all my photos are like event photos, so I can easily search the date with iPhoto 5. I guess that's a plus for version 5. I haven't notice any performance increase though. Maybe just a little bit but not really noticable. I have a library of around 2700 photos. After fixing everything, it's been working pretty nicely.

    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Other iPhoto bugs...
    Authored by: Arlo on Jan 26, '05 08:39:17AM
    Though not data-critical like this one. There is an annoying screen re-draw bug, see here: Apple Discussion Board

    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Avoid a bad iPhoto5 'vanishing album' bug
    Authored by: gperks on Jan 26, '05 04:39:38PM

    I managed to lose a few albums in this fashion before I realized what was happening. Some I recovered via Undo, but it was too late for others.

    Now if I try to recreate the albums, iPhoto tells me that the album already exists.

    The missing albums are not found in AlbumData.xml, but are in the Albums folder. My guess it that hand-editing AlbumData.xml will restore the missing albums, but I haven't tried it yet.

    Has anyone recovered missing albums?

    iPhoto '05 is a blessing and a curse. It has some fabulous new features (way to go, iPhoto team!), but several easily found and serious bugs. It's hard to believe that it shipped in this state; very un-Apple like. I hope they get a patch out ASAP.

    [ Reply to This | # ]
    iPhoto -> iView
    Authored by: juusan on Jan 30, '05 06:25:24PM

    iPhoto 5 has killed my library six or seven times since I first installed it a week ago. I'm thankful that I had the foresight to back up my images, but I'm completely over it. I'd like to switch to iView, but given iPhoto's bizarre directory and database structure, I'm not sure how to go about moving everything from one application to the other.

    What is the most efficient way for a user to switch from iPhoto to iView? Is there a tutorial somewhere?



    regime change begins at home.

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