iPhoto ’09: Fix for JPEG Files Displaying as Pure Black on Edit
I’m sharing this fix with the world, so that others need not live my pain.
Last night, I returned from Lake Tahoe with 451 beautiful shots of our family snow trip, all taken with my Canon 40D SLR. Each shot was captured in both large format JPG and RAW format.
Unfortunately, after loading all my images into iPhoto ’09, I ran into a real problem:
When I double-clicked any of the JPG files to edit/view them, they displayed a purely black screen. It was strange because the thumbnails were fine, the RAW files were fine, and when I opened the JPG files in Photoshop CS3, they were fine.
There was no way around it. Relaunching iPhoto did not help. Rebuilding the library did not help. Rebuilding thumbnails did not help. Reloading the images from the compact flash card did not help.
I shuddered to think about the wisdom of upgrading to iPhoto ’09. After all, at least iPhoto ’08 could display JPG files. My only hope: the Canon 40D is a popular camera, and has been out for a while. This must be a solved issue.
My searches on Google turned up a few articles and discussions, but nothing convincing. Some threads on the Apple Discussion forums. A post or two on other Mac sites.
Fortunately, I found the answer. But let me first tell you what it wasn’t:
- It wasn’t the PowerPC (I have an Intel-based Mac Pro)
- It wasn’t file size
- It wasn’t iPhoto ’09
- It wasn’t the Canon 40D
Unfortunately, several sites fingered these things as culprits. All wild goose chases.
Here is what it was:
- A corrupted install of Mac OS X 10.5.6
Hard to believe, but the auto-update I had done just before leaving for vacation was the culprit. Thanks to one tip, I downloaded the full combo installer for the Mac OS X 10.5.6 Upgrade from Apple.
A full re-install of the update, a reboot, and all was well.
I hope this tip finds someone out there in good stead. Seeing your precious photos reduced to a black screen is frightening to the core, even if you know the photo files themselves are not corrupted.