4 Replies Latest reply: Sep 5, 2012 3:42 AM by Kirby Krieger
Newmanity Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



I've searched around a bit for this but can't seem to figure out how to to it.


I'm trying to manage my ~140GB photo library on my Macbook Air which has 128GB of HDD.  On top of that, you can imagine that most of that 128GB is filled with system stuff.


My objective is to keep most of my library offline from the Macbook Air, but still keep it all together. 


I kinda went "all-in" with iPhoto a few years back to organize my photos so gave up on Aperture.  I'd always wanted to move to Aperture or Lighroom but the migration appeared to be a complete disaster.  Now with "transparent" compatibility it seems like a no brainer to get the best of both worlds. 


I thought that Aperture allowed you store files on external hard drives but still have "thumbnail" access to them even when the drive wasn't connected.  Or did I misread that?  (Is that Lightroom?)


Anyway with the new update I thought that I could merge my available iPhoto libraries into one Aperture library that I could always have access to, while offloading the actual photos somehow to an external HDD. 


This would be a real winner for me.  It seems tho that an iPhoto library stays an iPhoto library.  So while merging might be helpful for someone with a big hard drive, it's completely useless for me as if anything, I need to split.  Or create more.  Or some other form of adding complexity.


Any ideas here? 

Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • Newmanity Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Figured this out on my own. 


    • Make a backup of everything - Aperture seems to require rebuilds and stuff and stories abound of "things going a bit wrong." 
    • Did you make a backup?  If you don't want to or can't, I wouldn't do this.  After all, it's your photos!
    • Setup your Aperture library on a USB drive.
    • Update iphoto to the newest version.  Open all your libraries in iPhoto to update them.  This may take awhile depending on library size.
    • Import whatever iphoto libraries you have to Aperture.  This make take awhile (hours!) - if your stuff is more than say 25 gigs I'd recommend setting it up for overnight.
    • Once everything is in Aperture - check its all working right.  Then go ahead and maybe make another backup
    • Then migrate your photos out of the library.  This takes all the originals and stores them elsewhere, called "offline".  Once they're there, you can't move them around, so pick a good spot!!  This also takes forever.
    • Once this is done your Aperture library should be smaller and just copy it to your MacbookAir
    • I'm still working on this as it looks like something went funky and I have to rebuild my thumbnails, another overnight processing thing. Like I said, keep a backup   But I have a slimmed down Library on my Macbook Air now which is what I wanted.


    This whole thing is kinda a mess and while it's feasible Apple hasn't made it easy.  There's also some crazy stuff Aperture does with thumbnails and "previews" so that they take a bunch of space up (in my case almost as much as my photos), so you might have to work with that. 


    The guy at Apertureexpert.com is a genius. 


    Check out this post for more on slimming your Aperture Library:

    http://www.apertureexpert.com/tips/2010/1/20/reducing-library-sizedramatically.h tml


    Edit:As a side-note I put some HTML in my message and it looks like it isn't used in the forum - why does Apple bother having the formatting tools if they don't work?  Kinda like the close-door button on an elevator?

    Edit2: Haha it shows up in the answer but not in the normal thread.  Strange, eh?

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (134,950 points)

    Seems very complex and unnecessarily so. What versions of iPhoto and Aperture are you using?

  • Newmanity Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    The latest versions.

    In retrospect I can't think of anyway to make this easier.  My original images are now hosted offline on my USB drive but I still have access to them via previews and thumbnails.

    If you have a better idea, let me know!

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (12,510 points)

    Newmanity wrote:


    If you have a better idea, let me know!


    Just upgrade iPhoto and Aperture to the current versions -- they share a common Library file format.  You can open any Library in either application.


    Apple has notes on merging iPhoto Libraries with Aperture here:

    How to use Aperture to merge iPhoto libraries


    And for good measure:

    Using a unified photo library with iPhoto and Aperture


    You can change any Image's Original from Managed (Aperture stores the file in the Library) to Referenced (you tell Aperture where to put the Original) at any time.  You can move any Image's Original at any time (as long as it is on-line).  "File➞Relocate Original" allows you to specify a location.  "File➞Consolidate Original" allows you to move (or copy) your Originals into your Library package.


    I suggest importing into your Library so you have full access to your recent pictures and can make adjustments, print, and export them without having your external drive mounted.  Periodically relocate all Originals older than, say, 30 days, to your external drive.  You can create a Smart Album to auto-group Image's older than 30 days that have Managed Originals.