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I worked with iPhoto for a while, tagging photos with faces. Now when I view my own faces, I see "Steven Fisher may be in 8 additional photos."

I click Confirm Additional Faces, then click to confirm each additional face. I click Done. There's no error message, but I still see "Steven Fisher may be in 8 additional photos." And when I click Confirm Additional Faces, I see the same eight photos.

I can repeat this over and over again. I've recursively changed the permissions on the photo library to 777, changed the owner, rebuilt the library (letting iPhoto change the permissions), but nothing's helped. I once fixed this by completely deleting the library, re-adding all the photos to it, but it died again within a few weeks (and, of course, I lost a ton of metadata I'll never get back). What else could be wrong?

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  • Is iPhoto reporting any errors to /Applications/Utilities/Console.app?
    – bneely
    Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 20:20
  • No, nothing from iPhoto in Console at all. Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 22:12
  • I have the same problem. It only appears in a huge iPhoto library (more than 15K pics) and hasn't yet appeared in a smaller (~1K) library.
    – user15781
    Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 17:05
  • I have about 9k photos, which I never considered "huge." But I guess it's closer in magnitude to 15K than 1K. :) Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 22:00

1 Answer 1

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It didn't happen to me with the latest version of iPhoto yet. But the only solution I found to fix this kind of issues in iPhoto '09 without trashing the entire iPhoto library was to remove only the Faces related files. With the '11 version the procedure would be:

  • Close iPhoto
  • Find your iPhoto library
  • Right click on the photo library and chose "Show Package Content"

Show Package Content on your iPhoto library

  • Navigate to the Database directory

Navigate to Database


Edit: If you save your iPhoto library regularly you can restore the files instead of deleting them. To open the iPhoto bundle in Time Machine follow the instructions in this answer.


  • Depending on your version of iPhoto you might have to right click on Faces.db and "Show Original"

Show Original on the Faces.db link

Delete the original Faces.db in the newly opened folder.

Delete the Faces.db

  • Delete the 2 Faces files in the Database directory

Delete the 2 Faces* files

  • Relaunch iPhoto
  • Go to your Photos library

Go to "Photos"

  • Select all the pictures (click on a picture then +A to select all pictures).
  • Then in the "Photos" menu select "Detect Missing Faces"

enter image description here

You could also try removing only some of the files in the Faces directory before and relaunching iPhoto to check which file might be corrupted in your case.

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  • This is more destructive than I'd like, obviously, but at least it keeps the other metadata intact. Thanks. Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 2:13
  • @StevenFisher I know, I am not entirely satisfied either... Good luck!
    – Coyote
    Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 8:26
  • For whatever it's worth, these files seem to be part of a Time Machine backup. So it might be possible to fetch a version from before they became corrupted. I don't know how practical this is, but I'll try it next time. Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 19:31
  • @StevenFisher to retrieve the files from time machine there is a simple way to access the bundle, instructions are here.
    – Coyote
    Commented May 31, 2012 at 11:50

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