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Troubleshooting beach ball of death in Aperture #1
Todd Peperkorn's picture
by Todd Peperkorn
March 18, 2011 - 1:17pm

I have a 15” MBP (circa 2009), with 8gb of memory and a Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive. Generally speaking, it is a very snappy system.

Until I get to Aperture.

Right now I keep getting the beach ball of death when I do things. These are not processor intensive things like batch changes. It can be ticking a view, changing a preference, pretty much anything. Then I may get the beach ball for 5 minutes to hours (if I have that much patience).

how would y'all suggest going about troubleshooting what the problem is?

The library I'm currently working with is small. 2500 images.



Thomas Emmerich's picture
by Thomas Emmerich
March 19, 2011 - 7:19pm


The first thing I would do is have Aperture create a new preferences file. To do that, first open Aperture’s preferences and make note of all the settings you’ve changed from the default. Quit Aperture. Open up your user library preferences folder (home/Library/Preferences) and drag the following file to the desktop or trash: “”

Then restart Aperture. If the problem goes away then open Aperture preferences and make sure to reset everything the way you want.

A 2nd thing to try is cleaning up MacOS X cache files. There may be something corrupt. You can download AppleJack here:

Once you install AppleJack you need to restart in Single User Mode (hold down command-S during a restart) and type “applejack auto restart”. The computer will restart when finished and then you can log in and try Aperture again. AppleJack deletes system cache files and checks for corrupt preference files.

AppleJack fixed a weird problem I was having with Aperture in fullscreen mode.


PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
March 19, 2011 - 11:41pm


Please be sure to report back on how it goes following Thomas’s suggestions. I’m tracking some issues and am interested to see how you do with these tips.

-Joseph @ApertureExpert

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Roger Musser's picture
by Roger Musser
March 20, 2011 - 5:26pm

Thanks Todd, for bringing this up and
Thanks Thomas for the reply.

Here’s some followup that Joseph requested:

I, too, thought that I was seeing the old beach ball more than I should have been.

So, I did what Thomas said and wrote down my preferences, trashed the “…aperture.plist” then restarted.

I got two great results.
#1 I think that Aperture runs faster now (but I have not used it all that much)
#2 I learned why my slideshows were not being displayed on my TV (there is a Preference setting that must be changed)

My lesson was that learning about one thing solved a seemingly unrelated problem.

Thanks Joseph for this valuable forum.


Robert Sfeir's picture
by Robert Sfeir
March 23, 2011 - 3:35pm


I’d like to chime in and thank you for the suggestion of AppleJack. I’ve added it to my arsenal and ran it on my MacPro. In a previous post I had complained of performance problems on my MacPro and how things didn’t make sense. Joseph was kind enough to run some tests of his own and it clearly showed something wasn’t quite right. Well after AppleJack I’ve got some screaming video speed here now. Where I had to wait for SilverEfex Pro 2 to redraw slowly in 100% view, now it does it live for just about every change I make. The whole Mac feels snappier.

The other thing I did is I monitored the processes in Activity monitor to see what was sucking up horsepower while I was doing photography, and it turns out that some of my other apps, including audio engineering/recording applications, have been sucking up processing power. So what I’m doing now is reconfiguring my MacPro with different user accounts so that when I work on music or photography, only the tools and apps I need are installed and loaded. That will save a great deal of processing power in the end, and help me help my Mac focus on the tasks at hand.

I don’t know if this seems extreme to folks, but really when do any of us run 2-3 hobbies at the same time? :)

Hope that helps others as well.


PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
March 23, 2011 - 3:41pm


Thanks for the update. Applejack certainly seems like a great resource!

-Joseph @ApertureExpert

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