I started the process of importing my iPhoto library from an external hard drive to my Mac with a newly replaced hard drive. I have roughly 180,000 photos and it looked like it was uploading all day. Now it seems to be stuck on "finishing import". Do I just wait? Is this a lengthily process, too, or is it really just stuck?

  • 1
    If you end up canceling this current import, I recommend the second time over importing the photos incrementally - say 40K at a time. That is a huge collection of photographs and the machine could get easily hung importing, caching, and indexing all the data being processed.
    – njboot
    May 31, 2014 at 15:09

2 Answers 2


If you are not sure if the process is actually doing something or just stuck, you can get an idea from the following

Activity Monitor
/Applications/Utilities/Activity Monitor.app

  • See if the process is frozen. In that case activity monitor should show the process/App (iPhoto in your case) in red color. If it is red, there is a high probability that the app is "hung".
  • See if the process is actually doing something on the CPU or Hard Drive.

If you see something going on there, it is highly possible that it is still doing something.

If you don't see anything, you may want to check Console:

/Applications/Utilities/Console.app Console shows error messages that the app may have generated to give some idea on what is happening.

Note that both these are indicative and may not be 100% accurate. In the worst case you may have to import again (I would search Google for any issues with importing large iPhoto libraries before trying again)

This is a snapshot of my activity monitor, I have selected QuickSilver and it shows 59.0 MB Bytes Read and 27.6 MB under Bytes Written. This data is dynamically refreshed so you can get a fair idea of the disk usage of an app. The same for CPU. Memory may not be a very good indicator though, even if an app has frozen it may still use memory. Activity Monitor


I found this post because my large Photos import appeared to be stalled too. The Activity Monitor is a good way to at least see that Photos was doing something. But it's a bit frustrating not being able to see why it's stopped at one specific file and that there's no telling how much time it will take - there's just no basic way of seeing the problem.

I closed all other apps and processes and let my iMac chew through it for about two hours. When I came back there was an error window that said it couldn't import 16 specific files, which all turned out to be .pdf file types.

So I think the lesson here is to verify the only file types that are being imported are acceptable formats.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .