Newly Discovered macOS Image Capture Bug Can Fill Up Hard Drives With Empty Data

Tuesday

A bug has been discovered in Apple’s macOS Image Capture app that needlessly eats up potentially gigabytes of storage space when transferring photos from an iPhone or iPad to a Mac.

Discovered by the developers of media asset management app NeoFinder and shared in a blog post called “Another macOS bug in Image Capture,” the issue occurs when Apple’s Mac tool converts HEIF photos taken by iOS to more standard JPG files.

This process happens when users uncheck the “Keep Originals” option in Image Capture’s settings, which converts the HEIC files to JPG when copied to Mac. However, the app also inexplicably adds 1.5MBs of empty data to every single file in the process.

image capture

“Of course, this is a colossal waste of space,” said the NeoFinder team, “especially considering that Apple is seriously still selling new Macs with a ridiculously tiny 128 GB internal SSD. Such a small disk is quickly filled with totally wasted empty data.

“With just 1000 photos, for example, this bug eats 1.5 GB off your precious and very expensive SSD disk space.”

NeoFinder’s developers say they discovered the bug by “pure chance” when working on improving the metadata capabilities of NeoFinder using a hex editor, and provided an example shot of what the end of individual JPG files look like in hex, post-transfer.

Hex data of a JPG file viewed using Hex Fiend

MacRumors was also able to replicate the issue in macOS 10.14.6 and later using an online hex editor. It’s worth noting that the bug only occurs when transferring photos from Apple devices, not when importing photos from digital cameras using Image Capture.

NeoFinder’s team says it has notified Apple of the bug, and the developers suggest anyone plagued by the issue can try using a new beta version of the third-party utility Graphic Converter, which includes an option to remove the unwanted empty data from the JPEG files.

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