Fix for Photo Booth Running Slow in Mac OS X

Mar 26, 2010 - 3 Comments

photo booth running slow fix I was recently asked to do some maintenance work on a relatives iMac, and one of their chief complaints was the speed of Photo Booth, the fun application that takes pictures and distorts them with your iSight. Upon inspection of the machine, I found that Photo Booth was running extremely slow, launching the application would take nearly a minute before the camera image would show up and the program was ready to use, and then actions within the app were dreadfully slow.

I quickly noticed that their picture count was over 2000 photos stored within Photo Booth! Apparently their kids are absolutely in love with the application and entertain themselves for hours on end just making goofy faces (alright I admit, I do this too).

So, if you haven’t guessed it yet, here’s my fix on how to speed up Photo Booth again in Mac OS X, and yes it works:

Fix Photo Booth running slow by clearing the stored pictures:

  1. Navigate to the users home directory and into their Pictures folder (/user/Pictures/)
  2. Create a new folder inside the Pictures directory and name it something like “Photo Booth backups”
  3. Find the folder named ‘Photo Booth’ – this is where Photo Booth stores its images
  4. Move all the images from ‘Photo Booth’ to “Photo Booth backups” – you can do this through the Finder GUI or the command line:
  5. mv "/user/Pictures/Photo Booth/*" "/user/Pictures/Photo Booth backups/"

  6. Double check that the images are all in their new location and that the original directory is empty
  7. Relaunch Photo Booth and enjoy the application at it’s original speed

Why this works: Photo Booth’s stored pictures are loaded into memory when you launch the application, I found a direct correlation with the total picture count and the speed of the program. The more pictures, the more memory, the slower Photo Booth will run. This is all the more true on older machines with limited RAM. The solution is simple, just backup the Photo’s to another directory (or load them into iPhoto), and relaunch the program.


Related articles:

Posted by: David Mendez in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Ralph Lake says:

    I had trouble with this. When I navigated to Users/Pictures/ I did not see a folder called photobooth. Instead there is a item called photobooth library (not a folder) which has no functionality. (You can open it but just to add tags) It shows there 5.3 GB there but that’s it. I’m having the above lag problem. Thanks Ralph

  2. David Voila says:

    This totally worked. I’m on Mountain Lion and upgraded from Lion. I moved all of my stuff from a different laptop and this is the first time I’ve used Photo Booth on this new computer. The sound wasn’t keeping up with my voice. I looked up the fix and this is it. I made a back-up folder (called “OLD”) then moved all of those older files (photos and videos) to that folder. It’s totally working again. THANK YOU OSXDAILY ! I’ll certainly bookmark your site. Ciao !

  3. Daisy says:

    Thank you so much this made a big difference!

Leave a Reply


Shop on and help support OSXDaily!

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates

Tips & Tricks


iPhone / iPad



Shop on Amazon to help support this site