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Metadata Search Not Working? Rebuild Your Aperture Database.

PhotoJoseph's picture
June 22, 2012 - 4:46pm

Some users, myself included, had noticed after the 3.3 upgrade that metadata searches weren’t completely reliable. For example, I had a project of 461 images all starting with the same name, yet a search for that name was only returning about 50 of the photos. Similarly, searches for “Canon” in EXIF > Camera Make were turning up nothing, even though they were all Canon files.

I repaired the database, but that didn’t fix it. I put off doing a full rebuild of the database but finally kicked that off last night, and I’m happy to report that all metadata searches are now working as expected.

So, if you are having any issues searching, try a full database rebuild. You should backup before doing this, by the way.

If you aren’t sure how this is done, check the ApertureExpert FAQ, and look for the entry “How do I repair or rebuild my Aperture library or permissions?”. If you haven’t been in the FAQ before, poke around… there’s a ton of great info in there.

Apple Aperture

Interesting. Can’t say I’ve noticed any loss of MetaData search… but I don’t use it much so not sure what I should look for. I tried the Exif->Camera Make -> include Canon, and it seemed fine (when doing a search in the top right rules).

Would this affect smart albums then?

I often do full rebuilds. Repairing permissions tends to kick off an entire Time Machine recopy of my Aperture Library, and repair used to hang (although that might be ok now too, although I THINK it may have done some weird Time Machine stuff - can’t remember). So I tend to do complete rebuilds these days if I need a fix.

It takes about 40 minutes if i recall for my 500GB (47,000 images), and then spends ~ an hour after the library opens to update places.

If it affects one search, it will affect them all.


— Have you signed up for the mailing list?

Thanks for this Joseph. Good to know.

However, beware of the deleted keyword issue when rebuilding the DB. Based on my tests (under Lion with v3.3), if you have manually deleted keywords (i.e.: removed them from all photos AND from the keyword list) they will reappear if you rebuild the DB. The way around this is to delete the Aperture.plist file from your ~/Library before the rebuild.

"There is nothing worse than a sharp photograph of a fuzzy concept." Ansel Adams

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