iPhoto 2.0 -- It's Mostly Good News

by Derrick Story

Apple released iPhoto 2.0 for download today, and I've had a chance to run it through a few preliminary tests. I've been receiving lots of questions about its new data structure. Hopefully this blog will provide you with a few top of mind answers.

First of all, this upgrade seems like mostly good news. iPhoto 2.0 has a hefty list of new features and improvements such as the Enhance and Retouch tools. They are very intuitive, and you'll be up-to-speed in no time. But we already knew about those goodies, right?

The Upgrade Process

The burning question has been how 2.0 restructures your iPhoto Library, and what will break as a result. Before I get into those details, let me quickly outline the procedure you should follow for this upgrade.

  • Before you do anything, back up your iPhoto Library (or libraries) located in the Pictures folder in your Home directory. I used the iPod for this since I keep it with me in my backpack.

  • If you have multiple iPhoto Libraries, select the smallest one for testing 2.0. You may even want to create a test library just to be super safe.

  • Download version 2.0 from Apple's iPhoto page. It's a 32 MB transfer, but the Apple servers seem to be in good shape, and it only took a few minutes (if you have bandwidth to begin with). You can also use Software Update for both iPhoto 2.0 and iMovie 3.0.

  • Check out the documentation in the Read Before You Install folder, then double-click the iPhoto.pkg installer.

  • After the installer has updated your existing iPhoto app, launch iPhoto. It will notify you that it has to update your existing Library. Click OK.

  • Check your preferences to make sure they're set correctly, and start enjoying the new iPhoto!

Library Folder Structure and iPhoto Library Manager

The first thing I did after the install and Library update, was go to my Pictures folder and see what 2.0 did to my iPhoto Library. On the surface it appears that everything is the same. Apparently all the changes are internal.

I then decided to test iPhoto Library Manager 1.0. If everything was the same on the outside (file names, folder structure, etc.), then why wouldn't the existing version of iPhoto Library Manager work?

Lo and behold, Library Manager allowed me to quit iPhoto, switch libraries, then launch iPhoto again -- just as always. (Note here: Be sure to QUIT iPhoto before switching libraries. No Exceptions!)

BetterHTMLExport 1.6.4 Didn't Fare as Well

Unfortunately, when I tried to create a web page using my favorite plug-in, BetterHTMLExport 1.6.4, it didn't work. And in fact, having it in the iPhoto 2.0 plug-ins folder seemed to disturb the default web page generator, so I recommend that you pull BetterHTMLExport 1.6.4 out for the time being. Once I removed it, the default generator seemed to work much better.


I'll continue to test iPhoto 2.0 over the next few days (and get to working on the update for iPhoto: The Missing Manual). But if you carefully back up your data, you should be able to upgrade to iPhoto 2.0 right now and begin enjoying its benefits, including still using iPhoto Library Manager. The exception is, if you need the BetterHTML plug-in, then you might want to hold off until an update for that package is available.

I want to stress that these are only preliminary findings. Please use the TalkBacks below to share new information as we discover it.


2003-01-31 15:45:09
First Impressions
When you click on a photo then drag the scale slider up to zoom in, the selected photo stays visible all the way up. Nice to have that fixed, it's very useful.

Where's the Export button gone? I'll have to use the Apple-shift-E key combo now I suppose. No big deal, but curious.

It still seems a little bit sluggish. It hangs about for a while on quit, and still insists on returning to the entire library when you start it up, rather than the last selected album. That one change alone would surely speed things up a lot.

I don't care about new features - it's already a great app. All I want is for it to be snappier. Why does my Powerbook 800 feel like a three year old machine already?

2003-01-31 16:02:00
iPhoto Mailer Patcher 2.0
Last May when Apple released iPhoto version 1.1.1 I posted a patch allowing users to send e-mail with Entourage, Eudora, Mailsmith, PowerMail and QuickMail Pro.

Now that iPhoto can send pictures with America Online, Eudora, Mail and Microsoft Entourage "out of the box", I've modified my patch to add support for Claris Emailer (yes, some people are still using it), Mailsmith, Outlook Express, PowerMail and QuickMail Pro.

It is available free of charge at:


2003-01-31 16:30:41
First Impressions
I want to comment about iPhoto 2.0 performance. I don't think you're going to see much improvement. So the same rules apply. Keep your library size to 650MBs if possible, and use iPhoto Library Manager to switch between libraries. Also, a good trick is that when you first open iPhoto, scroll up and down a few times to build up the cache. It will help performance as you work.
2003-01-31 16:43:08
BetterHTMLExport for iPhoto 2.0
I wrote BetterHTMLExport and have just released a new iPhoto 2.0 compatible version. It can be downloaded from http://www.droolingcat.com/software/betterhtmlexport/. The new version is shareware, not freeware. Those who donated money over the past year have been sent a registration key.
2003-01-31 17:00:43
BetterHTMLExport for iPhoto 2.0 -- More Detail
The BetterHTMLExport 2.0 plug-in is available here for $20. The 1.6.4 version is still freeware. Personally, I think BetterHTMLExport is easily worth the 20 bucks. But if you're on a tight budget and need this functionality, then you should consider this when thinking about whether or not to upgrade to iPhoto 2.0.
2003-01-31 19:30:28
Bad experiences in Apple Forums
Several reports of lost comments and titles, some reports of total loss of all data.

I'd wait on upgrading for at least a week! (Derrick has no choice, he's a pro!)

The burning questions:

1. Have the 1.x performance issues been fixed?
(There's one report that performance is WORSE than 1.0!!!)

2. If iPhoto 2 actually scales (unlike, say, iPhoto 1.x) correctly with album growth, is there a way to merge iPhoto 1.x libraries into one library without losing the titles, comments, sort order, albums, etc?


2003-01-31 19:36:28
First Impressions - no performance improvements

1. Why does iPhoto scale so poorly? We're not asking much of it really. There's no reason we should have to scale 2000 photos simultaneously. Other than that odd capability, all we're doing is following a pointer to a file and handling a very limited amount of metadata. A vintage Apple II should be able to handle the metadata for a 25,000 picture album, and as long as the images are partitioned into folders of < 800 files the OS shouldn't be strained at all. So how could anyone create a piece of software that scales so poorly?

2. Why didn't they do anything at all to fix performance? It's not like iPhoto's performance issues are a big secret. At least they could have implemented default opening in the last open album.

3. Is there ANYTHING we as customers can do to get Apple to fix the performance problems? What does it take to get their attention?


2003-01-31 23:02:52
Did you see the TRASH CAN icon?
I just upgraded the iPhoto application on my 17" iMac and low and behold Apple has included a trash can icon in the list of albums that I've created.


Now for the first time, I will be able to cull some of the excess photos out of my library (6,000+) without having to wait a zillion seconds for iPhoto to return to work.


This will make Apple Life a bit easier.

2003-02-01 08:48:29
Bad experiences in Apple Forums - Data Loss
I went through 5 libraries last night and everything seems to be there, including my custom titles and comments. In other forums, some people are reporting partial data loss. We'll have to keep an eye on that. If anyone files a data loss report here, please give us enough details to enable us to check our own systems.

One note, you can rebuild the iPhoto 2 Library by holding down SHIFT OPTION during launch. That seems to help recover missing rolls of film. I haven't tested this personally.

2003-02-01 08:49:58
Did you see the TRASH CAN icon?
Not only that .,. it's a nice looking trash icon! :)
2003-02-01 19:41:03
Burning issue
I made two coasters trying to burn from iPhoto.

I went ahead and burned the libraries in the traditional manner and it worked.

2003-02-02 07:13:59
iView MediaPro instead of iPhoto 2?

Needless to say, I'm not thrilled with iPhoto 2 [1]. I'm looking closely at iView MediaPro [2]. I love the way iView MediaPro exports metadata in tab delimited files, and the way it scales easily to a bazillion images with blazing performance on my iBook 600Mhz. I'm warming to the idea of storing the mass of my photos on my household Win2K server (need more storage, slap another ultracheap 150GB drive) using iView MediaPro.

In this case I'd keep my photos in iView MediaPro, but if I needed to use some special feature of iPhoto I'd dump them in iPhoto. [3]

When you compare iView and iPhoto, what are the things iPhoto 2 does that iView/GraphicConverter don't do? Do you see sets and subsets as comparable to libraries and albums (yes, iView is geekish in comparison to iPhoto)?


[1] It says something ominous about Apple development that they didn't consider the performance issues sufficiently important to address in this major release. On the other hand, it's to Apple's favor that iPhoto 2 allows metadata export via AppleScript, though I don't know if sort order is accessible via AppleScript.
See my usenet posting:

[2] http://www.iview-multimedia.com/products/index.html
Scales to bazillions of images, stores offline on any media addressable by Mac, maintains local thumbnails, works with GraphicConverter and OS X image import, has generous evaluation model, great documentation, tiny application, costs $80 or so with a printed manual.

[3] How to pass metadata (title, comments) into iPhoto is still a challenge, but one wonders about AppleScript. My next fun project will be learning AppleScript -- I last looked at AS about 8 years ago.

2003-02-02 10:11:18
ColorSync now supported in iPhoto 2: Implications
I received the following message from Apple ColorSync support:

"iPhoto 2.0 does use ColorSync. It honors embedded ICC profiles. But, since it's a consumer application, there are no tools for embedding profiles. You would need to use AppleScript or an application like Photoshop or even GraphicConverter.

To produce JPEGs that will look the same on a Mac and a PC, you should embed the sRGB profile. We ship this profile as part of Mac OS X. It's in System/Library/ColorSync/Profiles/."

A few comments:

1. It's great that Apple's ColorSync support people responded to my inquiry!
2. It's good that iPhoto 2 will support ColorSync (by implication iPhoto 1 did not, which is amazing.)
3. I think some of the problems (dark images, low brighness) iPhoto users have with printing shots on consumer printing services and sharing with PC users are due to iPhoto's lack of support for embedding profiles.
4. I think Apple needs to get beyond using the "consumer application" excuse for some basic design flaws (such as lack of scaling beyond 1000 images with titles and comments, and lack of profile embedding). Just because consumers don't think about these things doesn't mean then don't need them.
5. OS X Image Capture can embed color sync profiles. It can also be set to launch on startup instead of passing off immediately to iPhoto. I'm going to set Image Capture to take my images first, then embed the sRGB profile, then pass them off to iPhoto.


[meta: jfaughnan, jgfaughnan, iPhoto, digital photography, digicam, Apple, OS X, Macintosh, iPhoto, ColorSync, ICC, sRGB, workflow, standards, Windows, display, 030202]

2003-02-02 19:26:46
iView MediaPro instead of iPhoto 2?

Unsolicited reply...

I find iView Media Pro a significantly better product than iPhoto.

There is simply no comparison in speed. iView is simply a speed demon compared to iPhoto.

Organization is completely in your control. My photos are actually sitting on an external firewire drive. iView has no problems, and no burning need to transfer them in its own mysteriously named folders.

Exports to various formats are much more superior to what I have seen iPhoto do... html templates are completely customizable, can export to database tables compatible formats, the usual contact sheets, quicktime movies, etc.

Limited amount of editing is possible, however, if you have GraphicConverter or Adobe PhotoShop Elements, you are set.

The full package may be $80, but I think I paid $45 or so a while back for a downloadable version -- you really don't need a manual. The program is really that easy.

Trust your instincts. iPhoto doesn't even begin to compare with iView.


2003-02-02 21:21:58
iView MediaPro instead of iPhoto 2?
I'm getting a good feeling about iView. I do find the subset (album equivalent) UI a bit klunky, but it seems to work. A few questions if I may take advantage of your kindness:

How would iView work if:

1. I put images on a drive and attached a lot of titles and comments to them.
2. I move the entire image directory to another drive.

Does iView have a function to handle moving the image store?

One reason iView appeals to me is that I'd like to keep many of my images on a home server that's backed up daily rather than my iBook.

I'd love images to have a unique persistent identifier either as a file name or as a JPEG internal attribute so we wouldn't have to worry about losing the connection to the image metadata when we move the image. Maybe in some future OS ...

I'd also like to see an AppleScript that would allow one to select images in iView and then pump them into iPhoto to order books, etc.


2003-02-02 23:24:41
Improve performance
I found that after fixing permissions using Apples HD Utility significantly improved the speed of both iPhoto and iMovie on my iBook 800.
2003-02-03 07:11:45
iView MediaPro instead of iPhoto 2?
> I do find the subset (album equivalent) UI
> a bit klunky, but it seems to work.

if you are referring to the catalog and index windows, yes, they are clunky. But they do work, and they are fast!

> How would iView work if:
> 1. I put images on a drive and attached a
> lot of titles and comments to them.

dunno what you mean by "how would it work"? It will work fine, and if you are concerned about speed, I personally have not seen any effect on speed. Keep in mind, the iView-way is to not look at all the millions of images you might have. iView deals with only the images in your catalog, and hence, it is more organized and manageable.

I have personally not entered a lot of metadata in my image catalogs primarily because all that organization is not worth the effort for me. But to the extent I have, iView is simply very, very fast.

> 2. I move the entire image directory to
> another drive.
> Does iView have a function to handle moving
> the image store?

if you simply up and move the image directory then the path to the images will break. The thumbnails will still appear just fine because they are stored inside the iView catalog. However, the full blown image will not show, but a broken path will show. The fix is simple and easy. There is a menu item for rebuilding the path. Really easy.

There is a way to copy of move selected images to other locations. I have not tried it with entire catalogs, but it works fine with the selected images.

> One reason iView appeals to me is that
> I'd like to keep many of my images on a
> home server that's backed up daily rather
> than my iBook.

as long as the path to your home server (from your iBook) does not change, iView will have not any problem. I do kinda same thing -- images are kept on an external, firewire drive connected to the iBook. No problem.

> I'd love images to have a unique
> persistent identifier either as a file
> name or as a JPEG internal attribute so
> we wouldn't have to worry about losing
> the connection to the image metadata when
> we move the image. Maybe in some future OS ...

see comment above about rebuilding path to images.

> I'd also like to see an AppleScript that
> would allow one to select images in iView
> and then pump them into iPhoto to order
> books, etc.

aaah, books. Yes, I looked longingly at them, until I saw the price. But, if you do need them (and hopefully not often), you could simply select your chosen images in iView and "copy" them to another temporary location (say a folder on Desktop called "temp_photobook"). Then import that specific folder into iPhoto and go ahead with ordering your book. Keep in mind, iPhoto will do its nonsense of copying the photos into its own database, so you will end up with three copies of the photos (you can delete the temp_photobook folder since you already have the originals via iView).

Otoh, you can explore oFoto -- I believe it is the same service by Kodak that Apple uses for its fulfilment. They may or may not do the nicely bound book.

Y'know -- iView vs. iPhoto is a classic example where a free software included/given away by the giant OS maker still does not compete with a payware made by a small vendor. iView is simply much more capable.

Apple has to understand one thing -- good looks are very important for the general aesthetics of computing experience, but speed is even more important. Sooner of later the good looks become a latent part of your experience, but speed always remains the issue in the forefront.

Also, this mysteriously numbered database that _has_ to be kept in a specific ordained place really is irksome. This is the kind of thinking that get Microsoft's Outlook Express or Exchange Server lose out over the standard Unix mbox approach to email messages. What do you do when you stop using the vendor's program, say iPhoto, in this case. You are stuck with a photo database that you can't make head or tail of. With iView everything is your way. The structure and organization imposed by iView is really just a view of what you have done to organize it. You are in complete control.


2003-02-03 07:25:09
Improve performance -- Anyone else?
There's a certain amount of logic to fixing permissions (via the Disk Utility) to improve iPhoto performance. Has anyone else tried a "before and after" test with this? Please post if you have.
2003-02-03 08:24:44
JPEG compression control yet?
I have a question about iPhoto 2.0. In version 1.x, I could not find a way to control the level of JPEG compression/quality that it would re-save the images after a manipulation (like rotate). It appeared to me that it was not using the highest quality option. So I stopped using it because I want to keep my digital photos as high quality as possible. Has 2.0 added that option? Thanks.
2003-02-03 14:31:25
JPEG compression control yet?
I'm working in iPhoto 2.0 right now at the O'Reilly Bioinformatics Conference, and Jpeg compression is a big deal to me because I send my images and captions to our producers right out of iPhoto.

After some informal testing, it appears that iPhoto 2.0 does save at a high quality compression. That's good news indeed, if I'm correct.

To be safe though, you can set Photoshop or your favorite image editor as the default for image adjustments, and set the compression to whatever level you want after working on the picture. The saved image will be stored in your iPhoto Library with all the other edited pictures.

2003-02-03 17:08:33
iPhoto Library Manager & iPhoto 2
I have something odd, where the Library Manger doesn't work fully with iPhoto 2. I can switch Libraries, and I see all the albums of the library I just switched, but there aren't any photos. What gives? Is anyone else having this problem? Am I doing something wrong?
2003-03-14 07:29:01
JPEG compression control yet?
I'm an iPhoto newbie, so perhaps I don't understand all the nuances of the suggestion above, but:

I'm not particularly concerned with the inefficiency of iPhoto compression within the photo library (i.e., how iPhoto resaves an image after rotation or some other editing operation).

Rather, where iPhoto is killing me is in its space inefficiency when exporting images. Even the no-name PC software which came with my camera does better than iPhoto, and the klunky Unix utility xv at its default settings produces an image 50-75% smaller than what iPhoto exports. Since I'm saving images for websites which are accessed in part by people using dialup, the bloated JPGs produced by iPhoto are killing me.

Is there any kind of a plugin or mass compression utility which I can use to correct iPhoto's sloppiness after export?

-- Prentiss Riddle riddle@io.com http://aprendizdetodo.com

2003-04-16 08:24:05
The nicest iPhoto-ish program on Windows is http://www.picasa.net (free trial, $20.00 or so to purchase). Very fast, very pleasurable to use, nice to look at (lots of former Kai employees worked on it).
2003-05-16 09:15:23
iPhoto Library Manager & iPhoto 2
Yes I ahve that to, how have you resolved the issue?
2003-08-12 10:15:30
JPEG compression control yet?
Hi Derrick,

I really enjoy working in iPhoto -- the slideshows, Quicktime exports, and cataloguing -- but I'm disappointed by the quality of exported images, especially when I reduce them below 400x300 pixels. Seems like the quality should improve, not degrade when I reduce. I see your note about Photoshop, but as an amateur, am not sure I want to invest at that level. Do you know if Photoshop Elements (or another program in the $100+/- range) offers the capability to determine the level of JPEG compression, and thus image quality?

Or, do you have any insight whether Apple is planning to offer such capability in an upcoming version of iPhoto?

Thanks in advance,

- Dave