Aperture 3 Performance Fix – Make Slow Aperture Run Faster

by Klaus on April 6, 2010

in Apple, Photography

Just a quick tip to you Apple Aperture 3 users out there, who are experiencing a (very) slow running Aperture 3 – like I did. Mine was so bad, I was about to go crazy. It could easily take 5-10 seconds to make adjustments, and that’s just not good enough. I figured Aperture 3 was buggy, since performance did improve a bit when version 3.0.1 was released.

Then when 3.0.2 came and nothing was changed, I decided that something must be done. Luckily, I found a tip that solved my issues.

Thanks to Matthew Bergsma at the Apple Discussions board, my Aperture 3 is now running fantastic and fast!! He suggests that you first make sure to have done all necessary software updates, then delete all files in the following three folders:

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

Also delete this file:
Hard Drive/Users/(Your user)/Library/Preferences/com.apple.aperture.plist

You might want to create a backup first, just in case. But there shouldn’t be any danger here, since we’re dealing with cache folders and a “settings”-file for Aperture 3 (you’ll have to modify settings again, if you’ve changed them in the first place).

Doing the things above and restarting my Mac, solved my Aperture 3 issues. I don’t know why I was suffering in the first place, it’s possible that it was because I imported my iPhoto library into Aperture 3, but I can’t say for sure.

If you’re not yet an Aperture 3 user, I suggest you check out the demo from Apple – you can also buy Aperture 3 from Amazon for less than $180.

Also read: Aperture 3 Brushes – A Quick Demonstration


{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter Kasbergen April 12, 2010 at 08:46

Just a quick heads-up. The following sentence…

Also delete this file: Hard Drive/Users/(Your user)/Preferences/com.apple.aperture.plist

…should read:

Also delete this file: Hard Drive/Users/(Your user)/Library/Preferences/com.apple.aperture.plist

…at least on my Snow Leopard MacBook.

Klaus @ TechPatio April 12, 2010 at 10:18

You’re right – thanks πŸ™‚

Joe April 19, 2010 at 04:52

You might want to add to this that you’ll los all of your faces, maps, and album data if you take these steps.

Joe April 19, 2010 at 05:07

Actually strike that.. (or moderate that!) it doesn’t.. you just have to open your exiting library because your preference for opening the last one is gone, so everything is there, you just have to open the library file.

Klaus @ TechPatio April 19, 2010 at 10:45

Hi Joe,

Yeah I wouldn’t expect Places and Faces to get nuked when clearing cache files – that wouldn’t make any sense πŸ™‚ Not sure about the settings (.plist) file though, I can’t remember if I lost any of my Faces or Places after doing this. Well, I’d rather go through my Faces again at high-speed rather than living with a “10-second per adjustment” Aperture from now on πŸ™‚

Thanks for your comment!
.-= Klaus @ TechPatioΒ΄s last blog ..TechPatio Post #500 – A Trip Down Memory Lane =-.

Pim April 30, 2010 at 21:21

will this work in aperture 2 as well?

Klaus @ TechPatio April 30, 2010 at 21:24

I don’t know, sorry. I wasn’t aware there were any performance issues like this, with Aperture 2 as well.

Lissa June 9, 2010 at 18:05

I seemed to have lost all of my photo’s I already had saved in Aperture when I did this. Can anyone give me instructions on how to get them back?

Klaus @ TechPatio June 9, 2010 at 19:25

Sorry to hear that, Lissa. That’s why I encourage people to have a backup first. Actually, everybody who values their photo should ALWAYS have a backup that’s not too old (max 1 week, I’d say, but the shorter the better).

Your photos should still be in the “Aperture Library” folder though, located in your Pictures folder. You can right click it to view package contents.

Lissa June 9, 2010 at 19:29

Haha thanks, I do have a backup but it’s about a week out and I did a bunch of work yesterday (of course!). Didn’t want to have to go there if I didn’t have to.
Got the ol’library back – thanks so much for your help – this worked very well for me!

Klaus @ TechPatio June 9, 2010 at 19:37

I’m glad it worked for you πŸ™‚ It would have been terrible if you had lost your photos in the attempt.

sameer chavan August 20, 2010 at 13:59

Aperture is damn slow even after doing these steps. I have some 5000 photos and it takes ome 10 mins to load the thumbnails. Its just a shame to apple to realease such product. My mac book pro finder loads thumbnails faster then this shitty aperture. I think i will shift back to Lightroom.

Alphonse Guardino August 28, 2010 at 18:30

I started to follow the instructions, but balked when I got to:
Delete Hard Drive/Users/(Your user)/Library/Caches

That folder contained preference info on just about every application on my machine! So, I scanned the folder and deleted folder “com.apple.Aperture” (after creating a back-up of course!!)

I followed the remainder of the instructions, and amazing difference.

Aperture 3.0.3 has still hung up occasionally on one thing, creating a duplicate version.

Klaus August 29, 2010 at 15:35

Hi Alphonse. The /caches folder only contains cache files but of course there could be some cache files based on preferences too, but nothing will happen if you empty *that* cache folder. The actual preference files are stored elsewhere so if necessary, the apps will just make a new cache file based on the stored preferences.

But I’m glad you managed to speed up your Aperture 3 anyway πŸ™‚

Jeffrey September 17, 2010 at 03:09

Hey, hope this helps others … I made the jump from iPhoto to Aperture, and did the import. It brought all my pictures (of course) and all the data, like faces and places. But within a few minutes Aperture came to a crawl, it was ridiculous. We’re talking 15+ seconds when adding a name to a face. I googled and found this fix, and it has restored the speed, its like turbo-boosted.

I’m new to Mac, I was a bit skeptical because I was going through the caches and the files I was deleting weren’t big, they were like 8kb.

Seriously, so happy its back up to speed. thanks.

Klaus September 17, 2010 at 10:52

I’m glad it worked for you Jeffrey – and thank you for your comment πŸ™‚

Andy November 15, 2010 at 16:52

Nice one sir. Aperture now behaving like it should. Can’t believe the difference although damn near soiled the pants when my old library didn’t appear until I added it manually.


Edward To December 3, 2010 at 12:26

Before I attempt this solution, could someone please clarify exactly what settings will be lost/reset from deleting these files?


Klaus December 3, 2010 at 15:10

I don’t remember, sorry. The cache libraries are just caches, they will be rebuilt. The preference file, I can’t remember about – but just drag it to your desktop first, then you have a backup – and it’s deleted from its location as well.

Claire Bright December 7, 2010 at 19:06

Nice fix. It run a bit faster afterwards. But it still is relatively slow. Its funny how the powerful processors & dedicated graphics on my Mac can’t help. Apple should take a serious look at this issues.

Jonathan Fleck December 29, 2010 at 01:10

Just wanted to say how grateful I am for this tip. I’d just upgraded from Aperture 2 to 3 yesterday, using a dodgy serial (so I could properly test), put was seriously put off a purchase by the fact that Aperture was taking, what felt like, a couple of minutes to start. Cleared out those caches, deleted the preference file, and startup time dropped to a couple of seconds. It’s now running faster that Aperture 2 ever did, so an upgrade purchase, I think, is imminent!

Rocco January 1, 2011 at 18:59

Very well! It worked for me, and now the program runs faster. Thanks a lot!

Donna February 2, 2011 at 06:47

Worked for me, too. Actually, my whole Mac is running faster. Thanks so much! I had been afraid to mess with anything, but the sluggish performance got me so frustrated I did a Time Machine backup, held my breath and went for it. I did have to reset my custom Command set, and tell it not to look for Faces (too slow). But it kept my custom presets and some other tweaks I’d made. Anyway, thanks for sharing this!

Matthew Bergsma February 4, 2011 at 07:29

LOL, I just came across this post on google while looking for information on why it seems my 9400m is running aperture better than the 9600 in my 08 macbook pro.

Well, I’m glad this simple “user-land” fix to an oversight by the QA team is still helping people who are upgrading from aperture 2 now.

David Crow February 8, 2011 at 19:54

Hey, I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for writing up this article. Your instructions literally turned Aperture from a burden to a blessing.

Klaus February 8, 2011 at 22:13

I’m glad it helped you out, David πŸ™‚

Caitlyn April 6, 2011 at 05:01

Wow, I’m genuinely impressed. This actually worked! I can finally make adjustments without ripping my hair out. Not only did it speed up Aperture, but it’s helped a few of my other programs as well.
Thanks a bunch for this tip!

Klaus April 6, 2011 at 10:23

Awesome, Caitlyn, I’m glad you can stop ripping your hair out now πŸ™‚

Bernhard Rode April 7, 2011 at 00:19

You just made my day! Thank you very much… i was just thinking about splitting my library or moving back to iphoto or whatelse…

Now I’m just happy! =)

Rosie April 12, 2011 at 19:46

can’t wait to try this when i get home today. Aperture 3 has been driving me crazy. at least 15 seconds for adjustments to finish… i hope this helps.

El May 20, 2011 at 01:18

Thank you for posting this. Aperture 3 was running like a snail on my MBP. Now it is exponentially faster.

Teresa July 1, 2011 at 03:53

Wonderful. So glad my search turned up your post! Aperture is now back to normal for me. Not speedy but then again neither is Photoshop on my system. No idea why after using for a couple of years it decided to crawl, but this took care of the problem. Thank you!

KP July 24, 2011 at 22:28

Whaay! Great!! Have been trying everything, but this seems to work, at least for smaller libraries (max 5000 photos per library).

Still have to check our biggest library (50.000+ photo’s). I am a bit afraid that this won’t perform, but I’ll keep you posted πŸ™‚

scott August 11, 2011 at 01:47

Hmmm. It appears I don’t have/can’t find this library: Hard Drive/Users/(Your user)/Library/Caches

Anyone know where I can find it?

Klaus August 11, 2011 at 10:27

Hi scott, are you using Snow Leopard or Lion?

scott August 11, 2011 at 16:38

Hi Klaus, I’m using Lion. Sorry for not including it in my original post!

Klaus August 11, 2011 at 16:47


Just open up a Finder window, then hit shift+cmd+G (“go to folder”) and enter:


This will take you to your user library (which is hidden by default in Lion – a smart move by Apple, most users never need to go there anyway). Then navigate to the “Caches” folder and delete the folder or the content.

Scott August 11, 2011 at 20:27

…and there it is! Thanks, Klaus!

Platon Dior August 15, 2011 at 22:03

You don’t need to delete all chaches if you’re running OS X Lion. Just delete:
1) “com.apple.Aperture” folder in “User/Library/Caches”
2) “com.apple.Aperture.plist” file in “User/Library/Preferences”
3) “com.apple.Aperture.plist.lockfile” file in “User/Library/Preferences”


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