First reported by the development team at NeoFinder, the bug adds 1.5 MB of data to every picture that is imported by the Image Capture app that is part of the MacOS installation on millions of Mac machines:

“If you connect an iPhone or iPad to your Mac, and use Image Capture to transfer the photos you took with the device to the Mac, you have the option to convert the HEIC photos taken by iOS to more standard JPG files. This requires you to uncheck the “Keep Originals” option in the settings for that iOS device, as shown here.

“Apples Image Capture will then happily convert the HEIF files to JPG format for you, when they are copied to your Mac. But what is also does is to add more than 1.5 MB of totally empty data to every single photo file it creates!”

Rather than opening the slow and resource heavy Photos app, Image Capture is a fast and lightweight alternative for importing images from cameras connected to a Mac, iMac, Mac Pro, or MacBook machine.

1.5 MB per photo may not feel like a lot, but if you import 2000 photos over a period of time, you’ve just went through an extra 3 GB of storage. Given Apple is still selling MacBook Pro laptops with 128 GB of total storage (which has to accommodate the Operating System as well as all the apps, files, and data that a user would need), that’ s a not-insubstantial amount of wasted space.

A temporary fix can be found in the Graphic Converter app by Thorsten Lemke – a beta version of the app will strip out the excess size of an image.

Apple has requested file and information from the NeoFinder team, presumably to work on a fix for the problem. Whether that will need an update to MacOS, or a patch to the Image Capture app remains to be seen.