6 Replies Latest reply: May 6, 2012 10:38 AM by artistjoh
artistjoh Level 2 (175 points)


An Aperture Library with around 30,000 referenced masters on an external HDD and an iPhoto library also with 30,000 images on a separate external HDD



Move both Libraries to a new larger external HDD



I am not sure whether it is better to just place the old iPhoto Library along side the Aperture Library or whether to import those photos into the Aperture Library and then do away with iPhoto entirely. I cannot imagine ever using the iPhoto app again. Advantages or disadvantages either way?


If importing the iPhoto photos into the Aperture library how best to go about it.


I appreciate any and all feedback on this.


I am using the most recent versions of both Aperture and iPhoto. My computer is a 17 inch MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard.

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    Mount your new HD and your Aperture Library HD.  Using Finder, copy your Aperture Library to your new HD.


    Test it.  Make sure everything works.


    Disconnect your old Aperture HD.  When you have another backup of your Aperture Library, delete the one on what is now your old Aperture HD.


    Mount your iPhoto HD.  Import your iPhoto Library using the built-in Aperture tools.  (Lots of posts and info on this -- search should turn up hints.)  Make sure to import your iPhoto Library in such a way that your Masters are copied into your Aperture Library on your new HD.


    Confirm that it works.  If you want to take an extra step, run "Repair Library" overnight.


    At this point you should make a new back-up (copy) of your newly merged Library.


    Stop using your old iPhoto Library.


    Aperture excels at organization.  You should thoroughly plan how you want to organize the merged Aperture Library prior to merging.  I'm pretty sure your Aperture Images that were brought in from an iPhoto Library will be keyworded in such a way that you can identify and group them.

  • léonie Level 10 (85,385 points)

    Three little things to add to Kirby Krieger's excellent advice:

    Import your iPhoto Library using the built-in Aperture tools.

    • There are two tools to import from iPhoto to Aperture:
      1. File -> Import -> iPhoto LIbrary
      2. Show iPhoto Browser
    • Use the first option; this will recreate your iPhoto organisation (folders, events, albums) as far as possible and mirror your iPhoto library in Aperture. Also it will try to join original master images and edited versions in proper master-version pairs, so you will save plenty of space. With the iPhoto Browser you will only import previews of the edited versions, not the original masters and loose quality.
    • Also make sure your new harddrive is formatted MacOS extended (and not case sensitive), before you store your Aperture library there. Aperture has more problems with wrong formatting than early versions of iPhoto.
    • Inspect the trash in your iPhoto Library, if anything important is in it. The trash will not be imported into Aperture afaik.




  • artistjoh Level 2 (175 points)

    Thank you Kirby. Does this mean that you think it is advantageous to import the iPhoto library into the Aperture Library as opposed to having Aperture merely access the iPhoto Library?


    Are any edits made using iPhoto get transfered? There are also edits of iPhoto Library photos made in Aperture, will those edits made from Aperture also transfer when the Library is imported into the Aperture Library?

  • artistjoh Level 2 (175 points)

    Thank you Leonie. Thinking about these relpies makes me wonder about an issue I was intending to raise as a separate question but it occurs to me that it might be impacted by this importing.


    Both the Aperture and iPhoto Libraries are on external drives. I also have in the picture folder on my internal drive an Aperture Library with 65 GB in it. It is much smaller than either Libraries on the external drives and I wondered if Aperture is using that Library for the versions. It seems much too big for the versions of the masters in the actual Aperture Library but I wondered if it is to with the edits of photos in the iPhoto Library Library from Aperture. You imply there will be a space saving and I wonder if this would reflect inefficencies from using the iPhoto Library as a separate Library as I have done until now. (I hope you understand what I am getting at here)


    It is possible that those 65 gifgs onboard may simply be an old Aperture Library but I am not sure how to 'look inside' to see what those 65 gigs are

  • léonie Level 10 (85,385 points)

    (I hope you understand what I am getting at here)

    Not quite, but I am sure we will sort that out with Kirby's aid! Kirby is the resident expert on Library organization!


    First the simple part of your question: It is relatively easy to figure out what is in the different libraries; browse them using Aperture, or look inside the package in the Finder.


    • To browse using Aperture: Use the main Aperture menu bar: File -> Switch to Library

      to switch between your Aperture libraries and to inspect them.
    • To browse using the Finder: Select the library in the Finder window and ctrl-click it. From the pop-up menu select "Show Package Contents". Open the "Masters" folder in the Finder and look at the Master images,


    65 gifgs onboard

    If you do not remember creating this library it may have been created accidentally, when you were using Aperture without your external volume being mounted. Usually Aperture then creates a library in a default location, your "Pictures" folder.


    What I meant with "Space saving" is the following: I hope Kirby will elaborate on this


    By now you probably are familiar with Aperture's non destructive workflow. Aperture keeps -and never changes - the original master image file. All edits are stored as versions in a way that it is possible to undo the edits step by step and to revert to the original master image file. The version image is not actually created, only the steps to create it are stored, This saves space and results in far better image processing results than storing the intermediate images.


    When you import from iPhoto you will want to do it in a way that you have the original master plus the edited version in a way that Aperture can create a master-version pair as described above. Only importing as "File -> Import -iPhoto Library" will ensure this. All other import strategies will give you only the masters or the version, or both as unrelated new masters.


    Before Kirby and I can proceed with your questions tell us what you know (or find out) about the different libraries you have, and exactly what imports you already have done from iPhoto. You already seem to have some images imported.

  • artistjoh Level 2 (175 points)

    Family obligations over the weekend has kept me away from this but I am back and am trying to figure things out.


    (1) I have on computer internal HDD in Tony Johansen > Pictures > Aperture Library


    It contains over 65GB and 40,000 photos. There are numerous folders but the most significant are:


    database 1.5GB

    iPod Photo Cache 31.89GB

    Masters 1.18GB

    Previews 9.76GB

    Thumbnails 20.98GB


    As near as I can tell that looks fairly normal with the database holding the edit versions, with previews and thumbnails for the masters stored here by Aperture. I do not know why there is a 'masters folder with over a gig in it but I assume it perhaps records extra data from the masters needed in this location. The iPod cache I assume is the backups and/or images for the iPod since iPod images are stored on the iPod at a reduced size so needing a folder. It also explains why this Aperture Library is so large.


    (2) I have the referenced masters stored on an external HDD There is over 100GB of masters here. They appear not to be inside a folder labeled library but as individual images. I presume that to move them together I will do that frrom within Aperture and the program will know exactly what is there.


    (3) I have The iPhoto Library on a 2nd external HDD. It is 95GB These photos all appear in my Aperture sidebar and I can edit them and create versions just as if they were in the Aperture Library except they are clearly in the iPhoto Photos folder in Aperture



    As stated earlier is to consolidate the Aperture masters and the iPhoto Library onto a single new external HDD. I am happy to simply copy the iPhoto Library over to sit amongst the masters if that is feasible, or, if there is any advantage in doing so, to import the iPhoto Library so it becomes part of the Aperture Library & masters. As I will never need to use iPhoto at any time it doesn't matter if it loses its photo library.