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Aperture too slow #1
ian neilson's picture
by ian neilson
June 28, 2010 - 10:42pm

Hi All. What can I do to make Aperture faster when processing photos ie touch up, brushes in my workflow…? Furthermore, I have 4gigs in ram and 1Tbite in hard disk….Do I need more ram? Ian

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
July 10, 2010 - 4:22am


You’ve posted this question in a few places and we’ve also been conversing about this offline. I’m going to delete your other thread and post the response I just wrote for you here:


There’s no easy answer and speed can be affected by a lot of things. If it’s a new iMac, I’ll assume your external drive is FW800 and not USB2, and that you’ve connected a good, fast drive.

For best Aperture performance, make sure you have as few other apps running as possible, and also that you have a good chunk of free space on your internal HD (for virtual memory and swapping files—all invisible to you but a big part of memory management in the OS). The general guideline is 20% of your drive should be free. That can seem like a lot; on a 500GB internal drive, that’s 100GB that should be free. You can get by on a lot less (I regularly am pushing mine up to the FULL line), but performance definitely is affected when you do.”

I do see that someone else made a similar suggestion here, and you haven’t responded to that. Please let us know where you stand on your speed.

To all who’ve had speed issues…

I’m not going to pretend that Aperture is perfect; I’ve certainly had my share of issues over the years. But if your system is slow, and plenty of others are having no speed issues, it’s safe to say that while there may be some conflicts that are particular to your system, the software as a whole is working fine—so waiting for a future release to “fix everything” isn’t likely to happen.

Depending on your level of desperation in getting things back up and running, you can do things like 1) create a brand new library and see if that one behaves any better, 2) create a new user and then a new library, or 3) go as far as reinstalling the OS, with a new user and new library.

Insufficient free hard disk space can really slow things down. Also if you’re on a MacBook Pro, be sure you’ve put the graphics card in Higher Performance mode (Energy Saver System Preferences). I know it’s annoying that you can’t switch without logging out, and your battery life is significantly decreased by doing this, but it makes a big difference in Aperture speed. And finally, run as few additional apps as necessary. Also swapping between apps constantly will slow things down as it takes time for the OS to read and write the virtual memory to the hard drive.

Finally, I’ve found that background online processes (backblaze, dropbox, MobileMe Sync) can slow things down dramatically while they are working. I can’t explain why, but they do. If you’re doing serious Aperture work, you may want to pause those online activities to see if that makes a difference.

— Have you signed up for the mailing list?

ian neilson's picture
by ian neilson
July 10, 2010 - 8:15pm

Thanks all for the feedback about Aperture being too slow. I am going to purchase Lightroom 3.0 and just use Adobe Software to solve my problems….Ian

Morten Scheel's picture
by Morten Scheel
July 3, 2010 - 9:53am

I also have 4 gigs and a 1TB hard disk, but Aperture is running great! So I guess your problem isn’t the RAM. If you’re low on free disk space, that might cause some serious loss of speed. Also, the temperature plays a role. My iMac came to a near stand-still when it was in direct sunlight without proper ventilation. But a high temperature will make everything crawl, not just Aperture.
Is this always a problem for you, or only after importing huge amounts of photos? In the latter case, you could turn on Quick Preview (press P) if you don’t want to wait until Aperture is done making thumbnails and previews.
If this is still a problem for you, please provide some more details.


AdamJacobPhoto's picture
by AdamJacobPhoto
July 5, 2010 - 1:05am

I have a MBP running in 64bit mode, with 4 gigs of ram and about 10,000 photos in my Aperture library - Aperture runs slowly. Really slowly at times. Especially when making adjustments.

This is easily my biggest problem with Aperture. And though I’ll soon be upgrading to 8 gigs of ram, it’s hard for me to imagine Aperture running as snappily as Lightroom or Photoshop.

Jeremy Warnock's picture
by Jeremy Warnock
July 7, 2010 - 9:17am

I too am frustrated with the speed of Aperture 3, I get more spinning beach balls then with any other version. My main machine is a 2008 8 core Mac Pro with 16 Gigs of ram and a dedicated 2TtB just for my images, my system drive is also 2TB with 1 Tb of free space. I find nearly everytime I open Aperture before I get to do anything at all - not even enough time to hit the P key and the spinning ball apperas. My mobile machine is a 2009 Macbook Pro with 4 Gigs of ram and the same thing happens only worse. I have found switching the MBP to 32Bit does help but it is still very frustration. I am a wedding Pro and while I love apertures workflow I am thinking its time for lightroom. I have even done a clean install on the MBP which made little difference.
My last option is to remove all 3rd party plugins and see where I lie then. The only issues with it is I relay on Niks suite a lot for black & whites etc.

Really hoping the next update fixes the issue before my busy season starts, I do want to learn another application I want to take photographs!

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