Apple's Aperture 3 causing significant memory leak for many users

Apple released Pro level Photo editing and organizing application Aperture 3 last week promising the "faces and places" of consumer level iPhoto as well as some new high end features that professionals could use. 

What a lot of those Pro users got, unfortunately, was a frozen computer and an "out of disk space" warning.

Apple's support forums are filling up with users with similar problems: When they leave Aperture 3 to import their photo libraries, their page file balloons until they run out of disk space.  The system then becomes unstable.  Some users start seeing their swap disk file size balloon almost immediately after launching the app.

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The issue isn't universal.  A few users have chimed in to say that they've had no issues with Aperture 3.  That means there might be some external issues at play here.

Some posters say it is related to the import of old libraries or the "Faces" recognition features, but others have the problems with new libraries with Faces turned off.

Ryan Britton writes:

I left it overnight and awoke to find a "Warning: Your startup disk is almost full" message, Aperture 3 paused, and everything else paged out of main memory.

...Correct, but the point is that Aperture sucked up every ounce of available free HD space for virtual memory to the point it hung itself. The image processing is a serial action (i.e., one at a time), so there's no reason for the memory to balloon.

I have face detection turned off currently, so that isn't the culprit here. The activity log just says "Processing" and has a count of about 6500. It made it through 350 before the hang. Switching it to 32-bit mode won't eliminate the problem, but it will lower the amount of memory that Aperture 3 can address (though I can't recall how that affects the maximum virtual memory offhand). 

Rey G writes:

Yes. Huge memory leak in Aperture 3. It's amazing this got passed internal and beta testing. Surely one of the beta testers had to have experienced this if they were migrating over their legacy libraries. What's frustrating is the background processes are slowing this app down, which the average user doesn't realize is happening unless they choose window>show activity. Forcing Aperture to run in 32-bit mode seems to alleviate some the problem for me but I've read that some users are still experiencing memory leak in 32-bit mode. Once the background processes are completed though, the system returns resources back to the user. Aperture 3 is a significant upgrade and IMHO an awesome one that was well worth the wait. Unfortunately first impressions are everything and users migrating over from Aperture 2 with huge libraries may have reason to migrate over to Adobe LR. I have to admit that I had thoughts of doing just that run through my head but I'm glad I stuck it out.  Apple needs to address this issue sooner than later and I'm sure they are working on it.

Todd Lambert writes:

There's definitely a gaping leak or several going on in A3. There was in A2 as well, but not nearly as bad.

This program when opened, just ***** up RAM as much as possible and then starts paging out.

This should never have gotten through alpha, let along beta and certainly not a release version such as this. 

 James Stratford adds:

I just thought I'd weight in and say I too had this problem. I left Aperture 'upgrading' my library and went away all excited and when I came back my computer was at a crawl (I mean, it took several seconds just to check my password coming out of screensaver lol) and I had an autodialogue saying OSX had no more memory to run applications and suggested I quit several apps, nothing big, just Textedit and Safari etc. I clicked Finder and saw that my available disk space was...0Kb!

Mark Lyon1 has similar issues:

Just to add another puzzled user to the list.

Simply starting A3 begins to eat real memory. Then virtual memory grows steadily until the dreaded, "Startup disk is full..." error message. Force quitting the program, the only way to stop it, releases resources back to the system. It's unusable. I have imported a dozen images to test out the program before fully committing my library, so lib size should not be an issue.

Dan Donavan:

Just installed Aperture today and left for the evening while my Library was being converted. Got back and the installation process was frozen with 3% done. A message stated my start-up drive was full. However, my Aperture 2 library and new Aperture 3 Library are on a separate drive. That drive has about 800gb free. I had to force quit. Restarted the computer and my start-up drive has 56gb free space. Something crazy going on. 

Many others chime in with similar issues.  No word yet from Apple on acknowledging the issue or if there is a possible fix on the way.

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