How to Fix Photos App Stuck on Curating macOS Catalina

Many Mac users are facing issues where the Photos App is stuck on curating on macOS Catalina. Either Photos app is stuck during the curation or stops responding. You may also notice that the latest photos aren’t downloading from iCloud or it is stuck on “Restoring from iCloud”. This post provides multiple workarounds and fixes. Please perform the steps provided in this article to fix Photos stuck on macOS Catalina. Let’s start with a few practical Scenarios.

Scenario 1: Photos curation stuck at 90% since Catalina update.

I just launched Photos after upgrading to Catalina and I see an animation at the bottom of the App with a progress bar going from “Composing Layout…”, “Gathering Favorites…”, “Deleting Duplicates…”, “Analyzing Scenes…”, “Curating Best Photos”. Seems to be taking forever, is this really going to take 24 hours?!

Source: Apple Community

Scenario 2: Photo’s stuck on Catalina?

Installed Catalina on a 2018 Macbook Pro. Ran photos and it has been sitting at: “gathering favorites, detecting duplicates, curating best photos, composing layout, etc.” about 30% complete without progress bar moving for the last 30 mins. How long should it take to setup Photos in Catalina?

Source: Apple Community

Fix Photos App Stuck on Curating on macOS Catalina, Fix Photos App Stuck on Downloading Photos from iCloud on macOS Catalina

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Force Quit Photos and Restart Your Mac

Go to the Apple menu and select Force Quit Photos, restart your Mac and then launch Photos. Sometimes a simple restart takes care of multiple issues on your Mac.

Force quit Photos on Mac

Repair the Library

Press and hold down the Option + Command keys while you open Photos on your Mac.

When you see the dialog box, click on Repair to start the repair process.

Repair Mac photos Library

Repair Mac Library

Delete Corrupt Photos & Videos

Corrupt or unsupported photos or videos can cause issues with the normal functionality of the Photos app. Getting rid of corrupt photos and videos has fixed the issue for many users.

  • Create a smart folder. Look for specific metadata that is empty such as the “Camera model” or “is empty” or “ISO is Empty”. If you find photos that do not have a proper thumbnail (you can easily see those and they cannot be exported), delete them.
  • After that in case, the curation has not finished then search manually for the corrupted photos.

If you have any old AVI or videos of any format that is not supported or corrupt can delay the process and can cause the photos app to crash. To fix this, transfer those files to some other device (In case files are important) and delete those video files from the library. This way Photos will finish curating very quickly. Go to Media type > select Videos under Albums and then scroll through all the thumbnails. If you find videos that do not have a thumbnail, get rid of those videos (when you try to play you may receive not supported error message).

Also check for corrupt audio, PDFs and DNGs files and get rid of those corrupt files.

Force Quit Photoanalysisd and Photolibraryd Processes

To do this close Photos, open Activity Monitor and force quit both photoanalysisd and photolibraryd processes. Now restart Photos and it should finish the processing quickly.

Allow Permissions to the External Hard Drive

Most of the users use an external hard drive that stores the photos library. Usually, the user account is set to read and write and “Ignore ownership on this volume” is checked. So add Administrators so that you have fully read and write access to the external hard drive, and then click on the gear icon below permissions to choose “Apply to enclosed items…” This process may take some time. Once finished, restart your Mac and open Photos. It will go through the curation process. Let the process keep running as this may take time but the issue should be resolved once the curation is complete.

How to Allow Permissions to the External Hard Drive

  • On your Mac, select your Hard Drive and then Select File > Get Info.
  • In case, the information in Sharing & Permissions is not visible, then click on the disclosure triangle.
  • Click the lock icon to unlock it.
  • Enter your administrator name and password.
  • Click on a user or group in the Name column, then select a privilege setting from the pop-up menu.
  • Read & Write: Allows a user to open the item and change it.

How to Apply permissions to All Items in a Disk

  • On your Mac, select your disk, then select File > Get Info.
  • Click on the lock icon to unlock it.
  • Enter your administrator name and password.
  • Click the Action pop-up menu, then select Apply to enclosed items.

Turn off Antivirus Program

If you have any real-time antivirus running in the background (Avira antivirus etc.) then it may run a scan and delay the restoration process. Turn off your antivirus program and Photos app should start working normally.

Use Disk Utility

Few users were able to fix Photos issue by using Disk Utility to Repair Permissions. Force quit Photos and all other apps. Use Disk Utility > First Aid > Repair Permissions.

Now Relaunch Photos.

Close All Apps, Sign Out of iCloud, Restart the Device & Sign Back In

This troubleshooting step helps to fix many issues including Photos being stuck and not uploading from iCloud, This step has helped may users to restore Photos Library which stopped uploading. Before proceeding with this step make sure you have the Apple ID credentials.

  • Force Quit all the apps including Photos.
  • Click System Preferences
  • Select Apple ID
  • Choose Overview on the left side
  • Click on Sign Out at the bottom to sign out of your Apple ID and iCloud
  • Select Keep a copy so that it creates a copy of the data
  • Now restart your Mac.
  • To sign in back again into your account, go to the System Preferences > Apple ID.
  • To get a detailed view of the apps that are using your iCloud account, sign in into your iCloud account using the Internet Accounts section in System Preferences.
  • Click on Internet Accounts and then click on iCloud on the left side. Enter your username and password to sign in to your iCloud account.

This should Fix Photos App Stuck on Curating macOS Catalina.

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Wrap Up

I hope one of the steps mentioned above helped you to fix the Photos App stuck during Curating on macOSCatalina and helped you to fix Photos being stuck and not uploading from iCloud.

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