Apple: Speed up iPhoto, ASAP

iPhoto’s slowness is turning a great iApp into the Achilles heel of Apple’s digital lifestyle.

It’s just so easy to start using, that – amazingly enough – people actually use it. And what happens when you do? Frustration and disappointment, to a degree.

iPhoto is still cool, don’t get me wrong. It’s just dog-ass slow.

I happen to have a half-gig Memory Stick Pro in my camera, because I don’t like to have to debate myself if I can take another shot or ten. So it’s not unusual for me to have 160-200 photos (at 5 megapixels each) that I need to get into iPhoto.


That is a recipe for masochism. After iPhoto launches, obedient to the siren call of the camera being plugged in, it sits. And sits. And sits. That spinning psychedelic beach ball must be the most hated icon in the history of the Mac OS. iPhoto CPU utilization hits 80, 90%. Nothing happens for minutes. No messages pop up to tell the pained user that iPhoto is sitting on it’s ass twiddling it’s thumbs while your photos drip, drip, drip over the amazingly un-fast USB 2.0 connection.

And while I don’t have a totally screaming machine, it’s not like my laptop is a dog, either: it’s a 1.25 GHz G4. Some insight can be found here on this same issue … and the culprit appears to be iPhoto’s insistence on performing all kinds of complex actions on photos as they are coming in … prepping them to be thumbnailed, probably, perhaps applying drop-shadows … who knows what.

Whatever the case may be, it’s unimpressive. And scrolling through your photos after the import is usually so painful the first time as well, particularly if you want to apply the simplest effects to them – such as rotating them to be right-side-up.

This needs fixing, if iPhoto is going to be more than demo-ware and actually be useful software for real people who have a couple thousand photos, and are planning to shoot more.

But hey, at least I have the shot of my son Aidan luxuriating in stolen sweets:

(BTW, I am using iPhoto 4.03. From what I hear, 5 has some improvements, but speed is not one of them.)