macOS Image Capture Bug Fills Up Hard Drives With Empty Data

A strange bug uncovered in macOS can fill up your storage drives with a whole bunch of empty data.

According to a new report from MacRumors, a new bug in Image Capture seems to be adding 1.5MB of empty data to photo files, filling up your Mac hard drive. The issue is found inside the Image Capture app and surfaces when transferring HEIF photos from an iPhone or iPad to a Mac.

The issue — discovered and shared in a blog post by the developers of media asset management app NeoFinder — 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 1.5MB of empty data to every single file in the process.

“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 developers discovered the bug by “pure chance” when working on further improving the metadata editing capabilities in NeoFinder, using a hex editor called “Hex Fiend.” The group provided an example screenshot of what the end of individual JPG files look like in hex after the transfer is complete.

It should be noted that the bug only occurs when transferring photos from Apple devices, not when importing photos from digital cameras using Image Capture.