AMITIAE - Monday 8 July 2013

Cassandra: Maintenance in OS X - Option and Command Keys

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


As much as some users of Macs might want to claim that all is perfect, sometimes there are things that go wrong with OS X and the software we use. Many of the problems we face may have more to do with corrupt data than a problem application. Certain keystrokes built in to OS X can be of help.

Applications that are used to store and manipulate photographs can have massive databases. While many people use iPhoto, I favour Aperture these days. With both of these applications it is possible to make some fixes to a corrupt database by starting the application when holding down the Option and Command keys at the launch. This is not simply pressing the keys and letting go, but holding them down while the launch takes place and holding them until a dialogue box appears.


With Aperture there are three options: Repair permissions; Repair the database; or Rebuild the database. The third is the strongest repair and users are advised to use this only if the other options have not been successful.


More information concerning troubleshooting of Aperture is available in an Apple Knowledge Base Document (HT3805).

With iPhoto a four-part panel appears. As well as the same repairs as are offered with the Aperture launch using Option and Command (Repair permissions; Repair the database; or Rebuild the database) there is the additional Rebuild Thumbnails option.


More information concerning troubleshooting of iPhoto is available in an Apple Knowledge Base Document (HT3805).

The Option and Command startup is also available for iTunes. The purpose here is significantly different. An Apple Knowledge Base Document (TS3430) explains that this allows a safe start of iTunes and disables third party "add-ons" to allow trouble-shooting. The KB document also offers further information about where the plugins may be located (in OS X and Windows) and provides further links.


I also tried iMovie, Garageband and iWork applications, but no dialog boxes were available for these when started with the Option + Command keys.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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