The Title says it all. If I start iPhoto while my iPhone is connected via USB, iPhoto simply freezes, showing the beach ball all time. The only way to revive it is to kill the iPhoto process via the task manager and then to launch it again. iPhoto works ok when the phone is not connected.

I run Mavericks 10.9.3 on a 2013 MacBook Pro Retina 13" and the phone is an iPhone 5 with IOS 7.1.1.

Edit 1: iPhoto is version 9.5.1

Edit 2: The behavior is the same when I connect my iPad

Edit 3: Deleting the iPhoto library does not change the behavior in any way

Edit 4: Deleting iPhoto, the photo-library and everything under ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.iPhoto/ does not solve the issue

Edit 5: Reinstallation of iTunes has no effect

Edit 6: Loading the photos works perfectly from the Image Capture app

  • Does it work with iPhone disconnected?
    – Rob
    Jun 14, 2014 at 15:49
  • As i wrote towards the end, yes, with the iPhone disconnected, it seems to work ok.
    – techshack
    Jun 14, 2014 at 15:52
  • Reïnstall iPhoto please
    – Rob
    Jun 14, 2014 at 20:44
  • Done, no effect. I deleted iPhoto from the Applications folder, deleted the Photo-Lirary and deleted everything under '~/Library/Containers/com.apple.iPhoto/' and reinstalled iPhoto from the AppStore.
    – techshack
    Jun 15, 2014 at 7:46
  • 1
    Oh, and just for the protocol, I did reboot after each reinstallation test to make sure everything is restarted correctly
    – techshack
    Jun 15, 2014 at 12:23

3 Answers 3


How many photos are on your camera roll?

iPhoto is dynamically loading all the photos on you iPhone/iPad into your MacBook's memory. This is more-or-less the same thing as loading lots of very big picture files off a USB flash drive, so don't be surprised if it takes a (some times very) long time for large camera rolls. To be sure it hasn't choked on the huge number of files you have, open activity monitor or type top in a terminal window. You'll see a list of (almost) all the tasks currently running on your system. So long as iPhoto is taking a semi-significant amount of CPU time (it takes about 10% at idle on my 15-inch MBP), the process isn't hung and you're fine.

  • There are some 500 Photos on the phone and 0 on the iPad. Oh, by the way, loading the photos off the phone works perfectly from the Image Capture app.
    – techshack
    Jun 16, 2014 at 5:18

If agentroadkill's answer does not satisfy you, try this…

  • First off, change the app to open when an iOS device connects to OS X's default (Image Capture).
  • Second, track iPhoto's external files with AppZapper. In AppZapper, [Left click] on iPhoto and [Right click] on each of its files to open a Finder window to their location. And manually nuke 'em all.
  • Third, do the same for Aperture, if installed.
  • Fourth, try removing your entire iTunes library.
  • Fifth, shut your Mac down (uncheck the box that asks if you want to reopen the apps).
  • Sixth, restart your Mac.
  • Seventh, if this did not work and you don't want to reinstall OS X, do it again and reset your Mac's RAMs (though I don't see how this could be of any help).

But if all fails, you can still use the good ol' fashioned way and reinstall OS X… Good luck with that.


After upgrading to Yosemite everything seems to work again. I guess the reason for the problems I had will remain hidden for all time :)

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