iPhoto ’09 Faces Spinning Forever

Someone I know uses iPhoto, but the Faces part of it wasn’t working. New pictures wouldn’t get scanned for faces and the spinning icon next to the Faces label on the navigation bar would just spin forever (and apparently it’s always been stuck like that).

I Googled the issue, and came up with hundreds of people having the same problem, but no one seemed to figure out a solution.

After a lot of digging and poking around, I think I found the solution. She imported large folders into iPhoto from her old photo management application, and she had some movies in her photo folders. So this is how I fixed it…

  • Quit iPhoto first.

  • Then get into the guts of your iPhoto Library (right-click the iPhoto Library file in your Pictures folder and do “Show Package Contents”).
  • Go to the Originals folder in there and get your movies out of there.
  • Delete the face.db and face_blob.db files.
  • Load iPhoto up and it will start scanning all your faces and with any luck actually get through them all and be kosher going forward.
  • Warning… this will delete all your face tags you had previously (so don’t do it if you tagged a bunch of people manually and don’t want to lose that).

6 thoughts on “iPhoto ’09 Faces Spinning Forever”

  1. I read here and in some other places the suggestion of removing the movies. But that seems to defeat one of the functionalities of the product, no? iPhoto is the place to store iPhone movies. I have many movies.

    That would be nuts for you to have to defeat one functionality (organize short low res iPhone movies) to utilize another (faces).

    I followed the rest of your instructions and it worked, even without removing movies. Thank you! We’ll see if having the movies causes Faces to choke.

    Thanks for your posting here.

  2. nope, iPhone syncs its movies with iPhoto not iTunes. You can edit the resync a movie into iTunes if you wish after the fact, but iPhoto is the default management for iPhone movies

  3. Oh… to be honest I never knew you could even store movies in iPhoto until now.

    Either way, the movies appear to be what’s screwing up the Faces thing, so… I can’t fix Apple’s bugs, only tell people what the bug is. :)

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