13 Easy Ways to Make Aperture 3 Run Faster

by Mike on May 10, 2010

Is Aperture 3 running too slowly for you?

I use Aperture 3 on an entry-level Macbook (note: this one is actually better than my 2008 model) and before I started tweaking, it just wasn’t getting the job done.

Aperture 2 ran nicely for me, but my Macbook just didn’t have enough muscle to handle Aperture 3 property. Image imports took forever, the new adjustments brushes were unresponsive, and just cycling through views was a pain in the butt.

So if you’re having similar issues with Aperture 3, you’re going to have to optimize your Mac and your workflow for speed. Each tip has a tiny bit of impact on its own, but when used together, you’ll see a nice boost in Aperture 3 performance. That means less time at the computer and more time for everything else.

1) Get the Latest Version of Aperture

Always update to the latest version of Aperture. With both Aperture 2 and 3, I noticed a bump in speed after updating to the latest version.

As time goes on, Apple fixes more and more bugs, which translates into better performance.

2) Cut the Widgets

Yes, widgets can be fun, but Aperture 3 needs every bit of memory it can get its hands on. Open the dashboard, hit the + sign to manage your widgets, and turn off anything that you don’t use every single day.

3) Turn Off Faces

Faces is a major resource drain because it requires a lot of processing power to figure out whose faces are whose. Keyword instead!

Go to preferences, and unclick the Faces box in the general section.

4) Clean Out Your Cache

Make sure you are running the latest version of Aperture, and then delete all the files in the following folders:

Hard Drive/Library/Caches
Hard Drive/System/Library/Caches
Hard Drive/Users/(Your user)/Library/Caches

Just keep in mind that you’ll need to restart your system to see changes, and it’s probably a good idea to make a backup of what you delete, just in case!

5)  Close Your Web Browsers

When using Aperture 3, you’ll notice a little bump in speed by closing web browsers like Safari and Firefox, which use up even more memory than those pesky widgets. Safari can an especially big resource hog.

6) Close Other Programs

Don’t stop with the web browsers. Macs are awesome at multi-taking, but processing digital photos in Aperture 3 can often be a heavy-duty task. So close iTunes if you’re not listening to music. Close all those Preview windows, and anything else you’re not actively using at the moment.

7) Clean Off Your Desktop

If your desktop is cluttered with files and folders, get rid of them. They suck up additional memory and it’s far better to have them organized in other place on your hard drive. Photos belong in Pictures, not on the desktop, just like your resume belongs in your personal documents space.

8) Clean Up Your Dock

The dock is another potentially memory-sucker, so eliminate programs you don’t use every day from the dock. Hold the control button down and click on each item you don’t want to remove them.

9) Turn off Bluetooth

Bluetooth isn’t as much of a system-hog on a Mac as it is on a mobile phone, but if you don’t use it, lose it. Click the Mac symbol, go to system preferences, and you’ll see an option for Bluetooth under Hardware. Turn if off.

10) Cut the Crap

Aperture 3 is amazing for keeping your image library organized, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep it as small as possible. If a picture is out of focus, delete it. If the composition is bad, delete it. If you have 10 versions of the same subject, delete 8 of them. Aperture 3 works faster and more efficiently with a smaller image library, and you’ll save yourself some hard-drive space.

11) Back Up Your Stuff

This is more of a general productivity tip and not Aperture-specific, but you must back up your hard drive as often as possible. Aperture 3 is no fun when your primary drive dies and leaves you with no pictures.

Every hard drive fails. It’s not a matter of if, it’s when. So have a contingency plan in place. I recommend Lacie’s rugged hard drives, which are fairly expensive, but way tougher than the competition’s models.

12) Upgrade Your Memory

Aperture 3 can run on a machine with just 1 gigabyte of RAM. However, it will be slower than a dead three-legged slow turtle so you can forget about things like RAW files and slideshows and adjustment brushes. You’ll be looking at spinning beach balls more than your photos.

I highly recommend upgrading to 4 gigs of RAM. Upgrading memory is much cheaper and easier than installing a new processor, and goes a lot further in terms of boosting performance. I just made the jump to 4 gigs and Aperture now runs way, way faster for me, especially when I’m dealing with large RAW files.

If you need more memory, I can’t recommend Crucial enough. It takes just a few clicks on their site to figure out what you need to buy, and they ship FAST.

Here’s a link that will get you a discount at Crucial: Get 5% off at Crucial

13) Shoot Smaller Files

For non-essential, casual shooting, set your camera to shoot lower-resolution JPEGs. If you’re not printing big, you really don’t need more than 5-6 megapixels anyway anyway. Smaller files means faster imports, faster processing, more space on your hard drive, and a smaller image library.

P.S. If you want to become an expert, pick up one of the new Aperture 3 books.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

mackeeper April 21, 2011 at 11:13 am

The situation of working multiple software designed to resolve most of the Mac pc issues is more and more obvious for me personally. Applications tend to be swarming all over the computer and often it drives a person insane when attemping to understand what exactly is necessary to carry out selected activity. The key element to earning this system pretty much effective is installing a software program item effective at executing all of the duties through a a single location and so capable of decrease time period necessary to execute all your duties.

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