This Blog Has Moved

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Aperture 3 - Quick Performance Tips

No doubt most Mac users have been trying out Aperture 3.0. On Twitter and some forums, there has been the occasional users who have upgraded to version 3 reporting slower performance to what they expected. The majority of what I've read though is reporting faster performance, which is something I totally agree with.

I have two tips to help out those who may be experiencing slow systems; before that though, you should ideally upgrade to 4Gb of RAM. Being a 64-bit program it can manage extra RAM extremely well, so the more loaded your system, the more obvious speed gains you will see.

Tip 1: In Preferences go to the Previews tab and only tick "Use embedded jpeg from camera when possible" and if you don't need it, choose to 'Never' share previews with iLife and iWork.

Tip 2: Aperture 3.0 now has the Faces feature. It has to be seen to be believed; it still amazes me how it can pick out faces throughout my Library and start to recognise people after they have been tagged a few times. Whilst this feature will be of great use to some, you need to realise that it's a very computer intensive process the first time it runs after an upgrade, or if you are using a trial and have imported many thousands of images. My suggestion would be to switch off the feature when you're using the program and then switch it on to run over night. Once it has catalogued the many thousands of faces, you won't notice a performance hit.

During my beta testing period, I used a 15" MacBook Pro with 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 4Gb of RAM. It's definitely not the fastest in Apple's line-up but by following the above suggestions, runs extremely fast with Aperture 3.0.

Lastly, check out Mac Create for some great information on Aperture 3.0.


  1. I always manage to miss the free tutorials in Perpignan. Are there any good online tutorials for apertiure virgins??

  2. Thanks for the tips. After I saw your announcement of Aperture 3 the other day I ran over and downloaded my trial. Finally an Application where I can manage videos. I have been using LR 2 for awhile, so we will see how this 30 days goes. Thanks for the tips I will try them out today. I have Aperture2 but hardly use it, so can't comment on speed performance but it's better than LR in most respects. I have had it crash on me a couple times and also it does not seem to be holding my settings ie. Color Proofing in ProPhoto RGB or custom commands (to make my LR experiace similar for commands)

  3. Hi Steven,

    Hope the tips help out. When it's cataloguing Faces, its processing tens of thousands of faces which is quite processor intensive. My advice would be if you're using the machine, switch it off - it's possibly why you had a crash, and because of the crash it probably lost your colour settings. I'd suggest making your settings etc then quitting the program so everything is saved. I tried LR but for me Aperture is by far a better program and with all it's multimedia abilities, Aperture 3 is lightyears ahead.

  4. Anon - there are a load of things on the Apple sight and also look at the Mac Create link at the bottom of the story.

  5. Edmond, Thanks for the tips, interesting and informative as ever. I was really hoping that Aperture 3 would at last be stable enough to use fast & extensively but sadly not. Running on a late 2008 Mac Pro Core 2 Duo 2.8 with 8 gigs of memory and Nvidea GeForce 8800 GT graphics card I would have thought I'd have no problems but after installing the Ap3 trial, importing a small library, (Faces off and waiting for previews to complete) I was hit by about 5 crashes, more beachballs than a long day at the seaside and about 7 or 8 hangs and freezes. Exporting was pitifully slow and a number of brush tools crashed the app. I've ended up using Lightroom for the last year or so after having similar problems with Ap 2. Which was really a pain as it doesn't do too good a job on Nikon files without loads of fiddling about and it isn't nearly as intuitive and nice to use. To add insult to injury, I can't recall an LR crash and it is extremely fast and stable. And all my other apps run perfectly. Could it be the graphics card? And as for running any version of Aperture on my MacBook Pro 2.33 C2D with 3Gb RAM - not a chance. I so wanted Aperture 3 to work as it should. Just one user's experience so far of what should be a brilliant tool which,when working, blows LR away at just about every level.

  6. Richard,
    Many thanks for the kind words :-)
    That doesn't sound right at all; there has to be a problem in there somewhere. My MacBook pro which has a lower spec has been running smoothly without any of the hassles you mention. Maybe it's a graphic's card driver issue? Aperture makes a lot of the graphics card. I'd post this problem on the Apple Support site and maybe post a copy it back as feedback to the Aperture team.
    Unfortunately I can't diagnose what the problem would be, but there obviously is one - it's definitely not the program as 90% of the comments I've read from the forums are about how smooth and fast it it. I wish you luck in getting it fixed.

  7. Edmond,
    Thanks for your quick response and suggestions. I certainly wasn't expecting a diagnosis from you :-) I'm beginning to suspect the graphics card could be the culprit. I'll check it over as well as scout around for advice on what might be better than what I'm currently using. I'm sure this can be fixed, especially in light of the positive comments re: Aperture 3 from you and many others. Thanks again.

  8. Hi Richard,

    Good luck with finding what the culprit is!

    It's a sensationally good program, so the effort would be well worth it.



  9. Hi Edmond,

    Unfortunately this time Apple did something that is not working as expected, and worst of all they do not even acknowledge that something went really bad and their customer representative are honestly appalling.

    Where to start? I tired the importation of my library 3 times, as the importation process simply blocked my laptop and it finally worked only when I used an external HD with 300GB free for a 30GB library.I thought the worst was gone, but everything started going banana: I realised that working on my photos was impossible: the RAM got filled in few seconds, the processor went to 190% and the swap file started to grew without end. The only solution was to kill the process every 2 minutes.
    I understand the first version may not be perfect, but the number of times the app hanged my laptop (MacBook Pro, 2.66GHz, 4GB RAM, 512MB Video RAM) are countless. Another nice thing is that my laptop (Oh, no, Apple told me NOT to call it laptop: it is a PORTABLE COMPUTER... they don't want to be sued for what I am going to write) with the fan at 6k RPM got well over 100C. 109C has been my record, a temperature that started making my left wrist overheated as well!

    Then I called the Apple support, and this is where I started regretting having bought Aperture. I was treated like an idiot, I was told that I cannot say that the problem is on Aperture3 as many people have no issue with it. I was told that my images may easily be the cause as the representative's application worked perfectly and that if I was concerned about the fact that I had to deliver photos to my customers (and I quote) "YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE SWITCHED TO APERTURE 3 ON YOUR PRODUCTION MACHINE DIRECTLY, YOU SHOULD HAVE WAITED, DON'T YOU THINK..."

    Since then I started doing hundreds of tests, moving my library in different disks, using different 32/64 bit configuration, rebuilding stuff, deinstalling completely apps and reinstalling them and god knows what else. I also installed a fresh copy of OSX on an external hard drive to make it work... it simply does not.

    Then yesterday I decided, amongst the many stupid things, to swich off the primary video card (my MBP has two, one normal and then the powerful one): the result is that AP3 does not eats my RAM and HD in a heartbeat, but I have a "time to live" of less than 5-10 minutes between one crash and another. Tough, but I needed to deliver some images, therefore I had been using every drop of my patience.
    I managed, between numerous crashes, to edit my photos and today, when I tried to export them, I realised that my Aperture3 doesn't feel like exporting anything at all. It simply starts exporting one, fills the memory up to the last available bit and starts swapping like an idiot.

    Now, I have paid my copy of Aperture, I have spent a lot of time because the transformation process between version 2 and version 3 is badly designed and implemented, I have done hundreds of tests Apple asked me to carry on, I was bull****d by their customer support, I have to be quick to edit my images before everything collapses and I cannot export my photos.
    All of this without hearing ONCE someone from Apple saying: I am sorry.

    I honestly have NO IDEA how to ship my images and the only thing that saves is that I can take some more time before I my clock will start running late.

    I know many people are happy with AP3, and WHEN it works, IF it works, I like it, but it is unusable, unstable, it kills my computer and it has kidnapped all my photos not allowing me to export them. Yes, I could go back to AP2, reimporting the thousands of photos that I have only in AP3, reapplying the editing on some dozens of them and exporting them, but I have paid for an application that is NOT a beta version and I expect it to WORKS, for me as it is working for every other.

    I am happy that it is doing exactly what you expect, for me it is a huge blow to Apple's credibility and reliability to my eyes.



  10. Hi Carlo,

    Oh dear; sorry to hear you're having issues. I'm by no means an expert on troubleshooting, but from my experiences and what I've read, I'll try and help out as much as I can.

    Firstly, the computer I used for several months of beta testing was also a MacBook Pro and I didn't come across your problems. I do need to add that I was working with a fresh library which I then populated from new imports of work, so there is a difference there. Since the beta though, I have upgraded my MacBook Pro fully with the complete version of Aperture 3 and also upgraded my MacPro which has a bigger library; they have both gone without hitch.

    From my understanding, some are reporting that fixing Library permissions and the database in Aperture 2 and then trying the upgrade works and fixes issues with upgrading. Also, switching off Faces is a good idea after upgrading the library as Aperture first needs to rebuild thumbnails and previews - on a large library this is a huge task; Faces is also a hugely intensive procedure so I'd suggest to let them do their things at separate times. Once everything has been done (background processes as mentioned), you can leave it on. With my Mac Pro upgrade, I just left it running overnight and didn't touch it. Aperture 3 brings with it a huge number of new things and to take advantage the library goes through a major upgrade - this takes time.

    I'm surprised by the high temperatures you mentioned; could that be a hardware fault - has it ever happened when doing any other intensive tasks?? I've never measure the temperature in mine but am pretty sure it's never reached that!

    So where are you now? You've installed the OS and everything fresh and still have issues?
    Did you use the same library or import Projects in and work that way? It sounds like the Library might be your issue (maybe because in v2 there was broken permission or links?). Maybe try importing Projects in small batches (if you have them with consolidate masters) into a new Library and see how you get on?

    In fact to help you with your deadline, I'd suggest you export the Project (with consolidating masters) and switch to it as a library - see how you get on with processing your work.

    You mentioned that Faby's computer works fine with it - what do you think the major differences are?

    Hope this is of some help.



  11. Hi Edmond,

    Thanks for your replies and suggestions. I do not hope you have the solutions, I am just trying to find other sources for good ideas... but believe me that I tested MANY different things and I am no stranger to IT techniques.

    I cleaned up my library few days before moving to Aperture3, therefore I think it should NOT be the cause of my problems.
    One thing I should mention: even if I create a NEW library and I import 1 RAW file I still have the same issues of memory leak. If I export the project as a new library the same problems happens. I tend to exclude the idea that it is a library problem, or at least I exclude the hypothesis that it is ONLY a library problem, otherwise with new libraries created ad-hoc with just one RAW files the issues should not have come out.
    Moreover it is extremely strange that switching off my better memory card the leakage and the swapping is drastically reduced. I have already sent all these information to Apple, but I think they ignore how to send an email saying: thanks, we are working on it and we will let you know. It would be politeness.

    If I use my library on Faby's iMac the behaviour is the same (but I will try some more things tonight)... I honestly have NO IDEA how to solve these things, especially because with every kind of library, upgraded or new, exported or imported, the problems are the same and I cannot export my data... This is scary to me!

    The fresh OSX installation is temporary on a Firewire HDD as I cannot clean up my production/work machine just to test a bugged application, but still the issues are the same, another hint that points me to the conclusion that Aperture 3 has MORE than one issue, as the only link between one OSX installation and the other I have are the hardware.

    Thanks for your support, both moral and with your feedbacks! I will let you know if I will be able to crack something out of it.

    The worst thing, though, is not that I have a piece of software that does not work. The worst thing is the treatment Apple is reserving to the customer who have problems: Every software company works to fix bugs, but they are amongst those who never listen to complaints and never admit if there is something wrong. Am I going to trust them for other things? I wrote I feel that 1984 actually IS exactly like 1984 (with the reference to their famous ads)...

    PS: I had to "cut" my previous comment, as it exceeded the limit of 4096 characters... :D



  12. Hi Carlo,

    The point about the Aperture Library isn't that it should be cleaned out, but specifically if it's been cleaned out (e.g. deleting some files or moving things around) apparently it helps and solves some people's upgrade problems by repairing permissions and database in Aperture 2 - this fixes and broken links I guess and so on. After this the upgrade has reportedly gone smoothly for these users.

    However, if you're having problems with a brand new library, then the issue is something else. I'm no where near technical enough to comment on memory leakage and why switching off the more powerful graphics card makes things better; it may be a driver issue for the card or maybe your RAM might be faulty? I'm guessing though you would have noticed problems if you use other resource hungry power programs.

    I think writing feedback to Apple is a fantastic idea, even if you don't get personal replies. All this feedback definitely helps, I'm sure.

    Just for comparison, my MacBook Pro is a Unibody (the first version) with 4Gb RAM and I've always used it with the power graphics - I've not had a single crash with the full version of Aperture 3.

    Why don't you try exporting the project you need to edit to Faby's computer and see how you get on? Do let me know and definitely feedback to Apple too.



  13. Hi Edmond!

    The test I am going to do tonight, once at home, is to export a project and trying to export the jpeg from Faby's computer.

    As for the technicalities... no one can do anything else than guess, as the application in itself is extremely complex and touches too many hardware/software component. I really hope Apple will fix this, also because the number of people unhappy with the way they are managing this situation is growing hour after hour... I feel that they are serving a juicy number of angry customers to Lightroom or other competitors...

    Thanks (and I will definitely keep you posted) and catch up soon! :D



  14. Carlo..

    This memory leak is actually easily fixed. It has to do with upgrading from 2 to 3. you need to do a complete UNinstall of Aperture 3 and reinstall it. To do it fully download AppZapper, and use the trial of it to remove every item aperture3 installs. Then reinstall... Warning: it will now require both your A3 serial and your original A2 serial. Once this is done your memory leak should be fixed and it wont fill up RAM and Virtual memory anymore and crash it.

  15. Hi John,

    Unfortunately that was a test I already did early, but it did not fix anything. Luckily Aperture 3.0.1 is out and it seems issues are fixed! :)

  16. Carlo,
    I'm glad to hear that the issues you were experiencing are now fixed. Great news :-)

  17. I have a MacBook Pro 2.33 C2D with 3Gb RAM As well.. running light room cs3, and a bunch of music promograms and Aperture still works.. its sluggish as hell but it works.. just got to be gentle with it..But I havnt figure out like how to take of the auto correct evertime i put a image in it loads its own settings and ruins my lighting..

  18. David, I'd suggest shutting down the other programs (if you don't need them there and then) when processing and letting Aperture use as much of the RAM and CPU as possible.

    I haven't tried this, so I may be wrong, so give it a try if you have five minutes: You can change the RAW fine-tuning, so set these up as you like them and then save it as a camera pre-set. I think this will then automatically apply to the camera in question and will process the RAW file to your liking.

  19. Anybody know how to get the photos in numeric order ?

  20. You can use the sort field (just above the film strip when you choose to view a preview and teh film strip). Set this to date and it will show chronology.
    If you have downloaded two or more cards into a Project and renamed on import, the naming will be off, so choose to view by date, then select all and batch rename (cmd / shift / b).