When opening files in Mac OS X, you get in addition to the normal file system browser a media browser that shows Movies, Music, and Photos. The Photos entry (at least on my system) consists solely of the iPhoto library, you can see the albums and smart albums there (things like Last Import).

However, this can get out-of-sync with the real iPhoto library. Right now, Last Import does not show the last import, but a previous one (not sure if it is the previous one). Even after a few minutes, it does not catch up.

How does this work, how could it have broken, and how can I fix it?

It might be related to my iPhoto crashing all the time, but even after a regular shutdown I still cannot see my Last Import in the Open File dialog.

  • +1 for pointing this out. I'd never seen this before! – James Polley Jan 14 '10 at 4:26
  • Guys, this bug is really messing up my workflow here, I need an answer. Starting a bounty now. – Thilo Jan 23 '10 at 1:55
  • As a test, start a new iPhoto library (holding ⌥ when opening iPhoto) and use one import to add some pictures. What does the media browser show now? And, how often does your iPhoto crash and what are you doing when it crashes? – fideli Jan 24 '10 at 14:39
  • @fideli: it crashes close to 100% of the time during the "Import from camera" dialog when I insert my SD card. After the restart, it does the import without problem. I have not gotten around to start a new library yet, but as an extra data point, not only is Last Import off, the latest photos do not show up at all in any of the folders in the Pictures browser, not even in "All". It seem to base the File Open dialog on an older snapshot of the library. – Thilo Jan 25 '10 at 3:42
  • "it crashes close to 100% of the time during the "Import from camera" dialog when I insert my SD card". That is, while making the preview thumbnails, before I actually press "import all". – Thilo Jan 25 '10 at 3:43

I can't actually make this happen on my system (I don't have the iPhoto crashes you've described either). However, if both problems are related to some sort of corruption in your iPhoto library, rebuilding the library as described in http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2638 may help.

I'd make sure you have a backup of your library before running this.

Another thought

Another thing to try (to see if it is indeed database corruption, or something else) is to install MacFuse and iPhotoFS (iPhoto FS allows you to mount your iPhoto library as a filesystem) to see if it shows the same set of images that the file->open dialog does. This won't fix it, but it may do one of two things:

1) It may indicate whether the problem is with your library, or something odd in the file->open/iPhoto integration

2) If the file->open problem is not actually fixable, but the iPhotoFS stuff works, this may give you an alternate way to handle your workflow.

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