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Apple fixes library-deleting iPhoto flaw

Apple has released an emergency patch for iLife 11's photo editing tool, iPhoto '11, and is warning users not to use the application before upgrading.

Just days after iLife 11 was released to much trumpeting, Apple has been forced to release the patch which pushes the pic-manipulation tool to the confusingly named version 9.0.1, after a large number of users reported that their entire iPhoto libraries had been deleted.

Apple has admitted that "In extremely rare cases", upgrading an existing iPhoto library with the launch iteration included in iLife 11 can cause data loss.

"If iPhoto unexpectedly quits during the update process," says an advisory from Apple, "first confirm that you have installed the iPhoto 9.0.1 software update before attempting to upgrade your library again."

The support document goes on to tell users how to avoid losing years' worth of photos.

"From the iPhoto menu, choose 'About iPhoto' to view the version number. If you attempt to upgrade your library a second (or third) time after the software unexpectedly quits, and you have not installed the iPhoto 9.0.1 software update, it is strongly recommended that you do not force quit the application during the update process. If the software unexpectedly quits, iPhoto may on subsequent launches appear to stop responding during the upgrade process.

"Customers are advised to let the process continue until the upgrade progress bar is displayed. For very large libraries, iPhoto '11 may appear to be inactive for several minutes before the progress bar is displayed — do not force quit the application during this period."

Users who have already lost the will to live and hit the Force Quit button need to update before tempting to restart the software.

Hit 'Software Update' under the Apple Menu to install the upgrade or have a look here for further details.

Users are advised to upgrade to version 9.0.1 before they use iPhoto.