Q&A: Apps quit as soon as they open

Q All of a sudden, various applications have been quitting as soon as I have launched them. At first I thought it was just iPhoto, but it seems to extend to other Apple applications, and possibly more besides. How can I fix this?

A These applications are actually crashing when they try to start up, and this is most probably the result of something that has been installed or changed recently, that has affected common components to them all.

For example, Apple’s iLife and other applications which offer a similar media browser rely on a special iLife Media Browser component; if that is inadvertently damaged, perhaps by installing an old update, or as a result of a disk error, then it can cause them all to break in this way.

First run a general health check, using Disk Utility to check your startup volume, then repair its permissions. Then open Console and look through the log entries resulting from one of these launch crashes, to see if that provides any clues. Build a list of applications that are affected to help you identify common components or features, such as whether they rely on iLife Media Browser, QuickTime, or whatever.

iLife Media Browser should be located in /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks, and is currently version 2.0.2.

Unfortunately it is no longer easy to reinstall such components, and you might find yourself having to restore them from a Time Machine backup, reinstall OS X itself, or individual apps.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 26 issue 17, 2010.