YOSEMITE + iMovie + iPhoto

Jan 29, 2014
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Can any one advise me re the benefit and/or disadvantages of Upgrading from Mavericks to Yosemite specific to using iMovie and iPhoto which is my main reason for using MAC ?

Upgrades to iMovie and iPhoto are not compatible to Mavericks 10.9.5 (13F34) so it seems one is forced to upgrade to Yosemite to get upgrades to iMovie & iPhoto

Using early 2011 15" MBPro. Processor 2.2 GHz Intel core i7, Memory 8GB 1333 MHz DDR Graphics AMD Radeon HD675m, 1024MB.

Last upgrades on to Mavericks and I Movie & iPhoto used considerable more RAM/Memory and apparently led to problems with 750GB HD collapse due to lack of Memory and FREE HD space. Replaced HD with 1TB but unable to upgrade Memory to 16GB (Thanks? Apple!)

Building movies from 1 to 6GB size
Memory Usage with iMovie & iPhoto operating ranges 6-7GB. does not leave much fro rendering.

I had no trouble with 25 movies using iMovie Ver 9 with Snow Leopard but troubles started with Mavericks and iMovie Ver10.

Appreciate guidance. I am not an IT person and very mature aged so please 'talk in understandable lingo'


A Mac is short for "Macintosh." It's not an acronym, thus it should not be capitalised.

I'm not sure why you think you can't upgrade the RAM your early 2011 MBP ... you most certainly can (I'm doing the same to a mid-2010 MBP this afternoon for a friend, and did my own mid-2012 late last year). It can handle up to 16GB. Thank you so much for including all the relevant specs in your post, by the way ... it was truly helpful!

Do you NEED to upgrade to Yosemite? Maybe not, or at least not right away. But I would definitely max out the RAM if you're going to keep that machine for much longer.

A golden rule that has ALWAYS been true for iMovie (any version) is that you need to have TONS of free space available on your boot hard drive for it to work properly. The program has to write GIGANTIC cache/temp files during editing and processing portions of the workflow and without a LOT of spare hard drive space, that becomes very problematic. So good on you for upgrading the hard drive to a 1TB.

That machine also has a quality video card on board (along with a "everyday use" graphic chipset), so really more RAM and the HD upgrade you already did are about it as far as upgrades go, short of moving to SSD.

As for the software: the big reason I suspect that Yosemite is now required for the latest iMovie version is fully 64-bit only. However, here's a list of what was changed:

What’s New in Version 10.0.6

Updated look for OS X Yosemite
New file export options including Custom H.264, ProRes, and Audio Only
Share any video frame as an image
Email HD video with Mail Drop when signed into iCloud
Select a portion of a clip by dragging across the bottom of the clip
Adjustments Bar is always open for easy access to audio and video tools
Improves performance on older Mac computers
Addresses reliability issues with copying and pasting certain adjustments
Support for Indonesian, Malaysian, and Vietnamese
The update lets developers create app previews for the App Store, including:

Support for iPhone and iPad screen recording clips captured with QuickTime Player
11 animated titles designed to showcase apps in action
Share option to easily export for the App Store

Likewise, the latest iPhoto probably makes that same change. I don't honestly think there's been much change from the previous version (pre-9.5) except for the change to all-64-bit. As with iMovie, this change makes the programs faster machines that can use 64-bit (as yours can), but makes it impossible for them to run on machines that don't have "pure" 64-bit ROMs (this doesn't affect you, however, so no worries).

As you may have heard, iPhoto is going to be phased out in favour of a redesigned app called Photos. I'm expecting that this will, in fact, be better than iPhoto in most ways, but I also suspect we'll be seeing the end of the print products ordering feature. I'm very excited at the prospect that Photos for OS X will be able to use plug-ins from other companies and work better with RAW files.

Bottom line: you have the option of upgrading to Yosemite if you want the latest iMovie, but as far as iPhoto is concerned there's no impetus to upgrade (nor any reason not to -- the program is essentially unchanged from the version 9.0 you are likely using).

If the upgrades to iMovie are not enticing enough, you can simply stay where you are (plus a suggested RAM upgrade) for the time being (I'd say another year or two). If you do want to upgrade to Yosemite, you can do that and gain the iMovie features plus Yosemite's new features. I'd still suggest the RAM upgrade regardless, here are instructions on how to do it (not terribly difficult apart from getting #00 Philips screwdriver): https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Pro+15-Inch+Unibody+Early+2011+RAM+Replacement/5905

Hope that helps!
Jan 29, 2014
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Thank you chas_m. Your knowledgeable detailed response is very much appreciated.

Is there any 'secret' in the upgrade to 16GB as the technician that tried to upgrade my MBP from 8GB thought the problem of the failing HD was due to the increased 16GB RAM.

The major problem I seem to have currently is a slowness with rendering and actioning multiple tasks when operating iMovie 10.0.5. I did not want to increase this by upgrading to
Yosemite and iMovie10.0.6

Perhaps I need to seek out a new technician to install 16GB.

What chip specifications would you recommend.

I live in VICTORIA AUSTRALIA. I think you may live in Victoria BC. Have been to Vancouver in 2012 and loved the Buchart Gardens as well as Banff.

Thank you for your professional help.

Graham G. Gallop
3/131 Blackburn Road, BLACKBURN Vic. 3130
Email [email protected]
PH. 03 98772746 MOB. 0407226077
Accountant, M.A.I.M; M.I.C.M; D. ARTS (Design); D. ED.;
Fellow Gold&Silversmiths Guild (Rtd.); Capt. Army Engineers RAE (Rtd.)

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