It seems silly to go to all the trouble to assign "Face" data to thousands of photos, but not make it possible to use that data to locate them outside of that application.

Is there any way to get Spotlight or Media Browser in OSX (Snow Leopard) to index and recognize metadata (Faces, Places, etc.) contained in iPhoto or Aperture?

I know that that metadata is stored in the "library" database for Aperture/iphoto, rather than on the actual files (which is too bad). And I can even potentially see why it might create challenges for spotlight to use it, since spotlight is presumably a file index system, not a media organizer, but surely the media browser used across the other OSX apps is intended to use it? The media browser's whole purpose seems to be to let you easily locate and reference the items you organize in one of the ilife apps (iphoto or Aperture, in this case) from the others (say, imovie, or Mail).

It's particularly vexing since the photo app on the iphone sorts by faces by default. Additionally, the mac-based media browser does access smart albums and folders, so you could establish a workaround by creating a smart album for each "face" or place, or tag, and access them that way, but it seems like there must be an easier way.

Am I missing something?


Something like this would be brilliant, the best I have found so far is making an automator script to add, Spotlight Comments image files.

But I don't know of anything which you speak.


The metadata is actually stored in sqlite3 database file that resides inside the "library" - which is just a folder with special attribute. As long as indexing application understands the schema of that database, it can access the data.


It seems to work that way already. I just entered a name into spotlight and it found the image files relating to that person. The file name is generic (IMG1234.jpg) so it must be matching the faces meta data.

  • interesting. I'll try it again tonight to see if something's changed on my side.
    – Jaydles
    Jul 8 '10 at 19:16
  • @Jaydles - Which version of iPhoto are you using, 09?
    – Chris
    Jul 8 '10 at 20:03
  • I'm using aperture 3, and i did try a spotlight search for a name that is one of my "faces" again. No dice.
    – Jaydles
    Jul 9 '10 at 3:43

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