My Aperture Library Crash

I recently suffered an Aperture library corruption. A serious one. Previously, I knew that I had an AP lib issue when Aperture was getting slow. I would then simply quit AP and restart it while holding down the Alt and Cmd keys in order to rebuild its library.

But this time, AP would still crash. On startup AP would give a “EXC_BAD_ACCESS” error. Like real bad. Like 30,000 pics maybe going down the drain!

I knew the cause of the crash. My iMac had been inadvertently unplug during a SD card import. Not something you guys want to try at home, I tell you.

I googled the error message and found this entry on

The issue has to do with a corrupted image file. Makes sense since the error occurred during the import phase. The dpreview post mentioned that this had to do with the processing workflow. You know, the spin wheel in the AP status bar. In order to prevent AP from processing files, especially a corrupted one, you have to hold down the Shift key while Aperture is loading. That worked, in as much as the processing spin wheel disappeared, but AP was still crashing.

I knew what next I had to do: I had to go “manually” into the lib package file to remove the corrupted pictures.

If you are unaware, by right-clicking on your Aperture library file (the huge file on your hard disk), you can manually “enter” the internal file system of the Mac OS package file by choosing the display the package’s content. Once I had entered the file system, I navigated to the location where I had stored the corrupted AP project and file. It is a good thing that the package’s content mimicks your AP lib structure. Once there, I deleted the culprit. I then restarted Aperture by holding down the Alt and the Cmd keys, in order to let Aperture rebuild its database. Although the corrupted project was still present, it was empty. All that was left to do was to delete that empty structure.

Of course, before doing all of this, I had made a backup copy of the actual AP lib file.

So, all is well that ends well. A few lessons that I learned: never unplug your Mac (well, I knew this but I will protect the innocent ones), always make a backup and, lastly, do not be scared to go “under the hood” if need be”.

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