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How to delete the RAW originals from a project

785 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Oct 22, 2013 11:40 AM by MikeT RSS
MikeT Calculating status...
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Oct 21, 2013 2:33 PM



I import RAW+JPEG originals into projects. Short term that is fine, but long term that takes up too much space.  Now that I have rated and (mostly) edited them, how can I delete the RAW originals for the less interesting images?  Below are the steps I follow. I hope this is a useful summary for others.


It may help to answer questions like:


How can I delete the RAW originals?

How can I keep only the JPEG originals?

How can I delete the JPEG originals?

How can I keep only the RAW originals?




  1. In case you need to abort and return to the current state, please backup the Aperture Library first. Time Machine backups should be fine.
  2. Create smart album to find exactly the photos to change. (Those where you wish to delete the RAW originals and keep only the JPEG originals.) I use these rules:
    • Set rules to ALL that MATCH
    • Source is the PROJECT (I have not tried doing multiple projects.)
    • RATING less than or equal to 2 stars  (Excludes my better photos. I want both originals for those.)
    • Adjustments ARE NOT APPLIED  (Excludes any modified photos. I want both originals for those.)
    • File Type IS RAW+JPEG  
  3. Export VERSIONS (full sized Jpegs) of smart album photos into a new/empty directory  (When I used originals, I lost the auto-rotation.)
  4. As a sanity check, make sure the number of files in the new directory is twice the number of photos. You should have a jpg and raw file for each.
  5. Use FILE > DELETE ORIGINAL IMAGE AND ALL VERSIONS to delete those images you are changing from Aperture.
  6. Use  FILE > IMPORT > FILES… with IMPORT SETTINGS Raw+Jpeg Pairs set Import JPEG FILES ONLY 
  7. Do some a sanity checks. Did you get the correct number of images? Do the reimported images have only jpeg originals. Etc.
  8. If desired, move images back into original project.
  9. Some time later, after you are sure everything is fine, empty the Aperture trash.


I hope this is useful.  Your feedback is welcome.  I acknowledge much in this summary is derived from a posting by leonieDF and I appreciate his/her contributions.




Aperture 3, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.5)
  • phosgraphis Level 2 Level 2 (285 points)
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    Oct 21, 2013 3:33 PM (in response to MikeT)

    This may work for your purposes, but to say this process "keeps the JPEG originals" isn't really true, as least as I understand your description. The whole thing falls apart in step 3 where you "Export VERSIONS". At that point you have lost the original JPEG.


    One of Aperture's key features is "non-destructive editing". Your process defeats that feature in that the reimported JPEG is modified from the original.


    AFAIK, there is no way to remove only the RAW or JPEG from a RAW/JPEG pair.

  • phosgraphis Level 2 Level 2 (285 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 22, 2013 5:04 AM (in response to MikeT)

    First, a couple of assumptions... (1) you are using a managed Aperture library, and (2) that library resides on your startup disk. And just curious ... why is a reduction in your library from 10GB to 4GB "huge" for you? Are you short on space on your startup volume? If so, you are going to run into other problems sooner than later, anyway.


    The price of hard disk storage these days is so relatively inexpensive that it almost isn't worth the effort to go to all the trouble of what you are doing to recover a handful of GB.


    There's a couple of other approaches to consider...


    Move to a referenced library and keep your originals, or an archive of your older originals, on an external drive.


    Don't import RAW+JPEG pairs. Import them separately, then later simply delete the RAW images you don't want.


    Sorry, it just seems like you are going through a lot of work, with potential problems, to free up a few GB.

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,700 points)
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    Oct 22, 2013 8:09 AM (in response to phosgraphis)

    " Import them separately, then later simply delete the RAW images you don't want.

    Raw&Jpeg pairs are wasteful. I agree with If "Don't import RAW+JPEG pairs", d'accord, photographis, but I would not recommend to "import them separately" either.

    Importing Raw&Jpeg pairs should be avoided, because Aperture has no support to get rid of one of the originals, but importing them separately leads to a clumsy workflow, because they are tied to different images, and not different versions of the same image.


    But there are times, when you might consider to use raw&jpeg pairs - for example, while waiting for the raw support for a new camera to be released. Raw and jpeg pairs let you switch between the two masters, they are tied to the same image version. You will not get that by importing  the raw and jpeg separately.


    So, if you have imported for whatever reason two original files for the same image, exporting and reimporting is the only way to get rid of the redundant original file. Only I would strongly recomment to export the original and not export the edited version. You can always lift any adjustment and metadata from the original raw&jpeg pair and stamp them onto the reimported original, before deleting old image pair.

    Then you will have removed one of the two original files losslessly. You may have to add the newly imported image to all albums where the image is now missing from, however.

  • phosgraphis Level 2 Level 2 (285 points)
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    Oct 22, 2013 8:22 AM (in response to léonie)

    Leonie, I certainly agree with your points. And of course my own workflow is RAW only. But it sounds like the OP may have some sort of HD space issues and I was trying to give him some alternatives to think about if that is the case. The process he outlined, and which you have commented on previously, certainly leaves a lot to be desired.

  • torreypines Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Oct 22, 2013 10:44 AM (in response to léonie)

    There are many good reasons to import the RAW and JPEG as "separate originals" in the drop-down import menu. We have had a number of polite disagreements over importing both the RAW and JPEG as separate originals in the past here on this forum. My workflow uses Nikon d800 huge RAW and JPEG "separate originals" for a number of reasons. First, I always apply different Nikon camera JPEG presets to my images so that I can compare the effects of the JPEG presets with the RAW versions as rendered by Aperture 3.4.5.
    Nikon in-camera JPEG presets are proprietary and can only really be seen when comparing the JPEG optimal fine version with the RAW rendered version. If you then like a particular Nikon JPEG proprietary preset, you can compare the JPEG with the RAW and try to match the images. Secondly, it is much much easier to send my clients copies of the JPEG files immediately after a shoot rather than the far larger RAW exports. Thirdly, I can quickly show clients the JPEG image files from a shoot on a retina display iPad - or macbook pro with retina display.
    And days later, after I am done Aperture post-processing the project's RAW images to the client's needs (or my needs and/or whims), and I no longer need or want a particular RAW original, I of course delete the particular project's RAW and JPEG separate originals immediately in order to save a huge amount of external drive file space. But I only delete stuff within a particular project. And I would never use an Aperture 3.4.5 smart album file search to determine images to delete. I only delete images manually, and carefully, one at a time, from within existing Aperture projects.

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,700 points)
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    Oct 22, 2013 10:59 AM (in response to torreypines)

    Agreed, that are all good reasons to import both - jpeg and raw as separate images, since you want them for diffrent purposes and as separate images. For me it is very inconvenient, that the separate import makes it necessary to tag twice as many images and to keep the tags consistent.


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