Posted Friday, February 04, 2005

iPhoto 5.0.1: What's Fixed, What Isn't

It seems to happen every year: shortly after a new version of iLife blooms, the smell of bug spray is in the air. That's the case this week, which has brought updates to iMovie HD and iPhoto. I've been living in iPhoto lately, having just wrapped up writing a review of the program for Macworld. And let me just say that the smell of Raid is a sweet aroma.

Apple has its own description of what's fixed in iPhoto 5.0.1, and it tends toward the usual, "oh, a bunch of stuff" level of detail: "The update...addresses issues that may occur when upgrading iPhoto 4 libraries and includes a number of other minor changes, as well."

In my experience, here's what fixed.

Edit in External editor command in the context menu now works if you've specified an external image editor.

Books work better. iPhoto 5.0 had a nasty habit of going south when you'd perform major surgery on a book, such as removing a page. (In my experience, the gorgeous Folio theme was the flakiest.) In my torture testing, this seems to be fixed, as does a problem with the small book format in which both page designs would appear checked.

Better screen redraws. iPhoto 5.0 would sometimes display photos in odd places on the screen when you'd switch between editing modes. Photos would sometimes spill outside the iPhoto window itself. iPhoto 5.0.1 seems to be coloring inside the lines.

It feels faster. iPhoto 5.0.1 feels more responsive than 5.0, which would get progressively slower as you worked. Is 5.0.1 fast enough? Folks using it on G3 Macs don't think so, and I'd probably agree.

More reliable library conversion. I never encountered this, but some people were having problems with photo thumbnails not showing up after upgrading from iPhoto 4. This is fixed, Apple says, though according to this post from the moderator of the iPhoto discussion board, you'll have to rebuild your library to restore thumbnails.

Better slide show export? Apple says that exporting large slide shows to iDVD 5 now works better. I haven't verified this.

What's still broken: I'm loving the ability to organize albums, books, and slide shows in folders, but I'd love it even more if iPhoto would remember which folders were open when I quit the program. When you relaunch iPhoto, all folders are closed and you have to open 'em up by hand to get back to where you left off.

There's more to report on iPhoto 5, and I'll be doing so in the days to come. In the meantime, embrace the Raid and grab the update -- it's a good one, and it brings a beautiful program that much closer to working the way we all want it to.

Order me. Most of the information on the page isn't right, but Amazon is now taking pre-orders for The Macintosh iLife '05, the next edition of my book and its two-hour companion DVD. You can also order it at a discount Peachpit Press.