Aperture to Photos Migration

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by BeachDigital, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. BeachDigital macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2018
    Ok, I am finally thinking seriously about taking the plunge from Aperture 3.6 to Photos, but would love to hear from others that have made the transition with large libraries. I have researched the forum and other sites, but I still have a few lingering questions.

    I am really bummed that Apple is no longer supporting Aperture. I understand their desire to move everyone to photos, but I think more should have been done to advance both products and continue to support Aperture, until Photos caught up to the pro-am market. With the improvements coming to Photos in the fall and the lack of native support for advanced iPhone photo features (live photos, slo mo, etc) I think MY best option is to make the move.

    Here is what I've got in Aperture:

    • 188K photos and videos with 1.1T of data (library and file system)
    • All the photo masters and video are stored/managed outside the Aperture library in a separate local file structure
    • Mix of formats - RAW, simple JPG, Live photos, video is all over the map: AVI, MPG, MOV, etc.
    • Digital photos dating to 1999 and ~10,000 scanned photos
    • Heavy use of Aperture photo editing and versions, but very little star ratings or added metadata
    • Heavy use of folder structure for project storage. ~2500 folders/projects with nesting about 5 levels deep
    • I do NOT want to use iCloud to store my photos. I am happy managing them on a local disk and backing up myself. 1.1T is way to much to manage in the cloud.
    I have tried to go through and clean-up my Aperture library as much as possible. I found a few thousand masters that were being stored in the library, so I moved them out. I have also found thousands of "orphaned masters" that I am trying to clean-up. I had about 5,000 masters that were on an external share drive that I am also trying to clean-up, but I am not sure if I got them all. I unplugged the external drive and tried doing a search on file status = offline, but it isn't reliable, as I can't refresh the entire database (I tried doing a permissions repair and database repair and it didn't find or flag them). I have run the permissions repair and database repair a half dozen times for good measures.

    Has anyone else done a recent large library import into Photos? Here are a few other questions I am pondering, before doing the migration:

    • Should I delete all the thumbs, teenies, etc. from the Aperture library and then do a full rebuild first?
    • My scanned photos do not have (accurate) create dates. Should I change the dates on those, as best possible, in Aperture before migrating?
    • Since my masters are not stored in the Aperture library is there a way to do the migration and have photos rebuild everything (all the thumbnails), so I can dump the Aperture library (eventually)? My understanding is that Photos will use all the thumbs and edits in the Aperture library, so the Aperture library becomes frozen in time and has to stay around.
    • Aperture is really bad with video files. I have a lot of video in Aperture that will only render if launched via Quicktime. I did a test with Photos and it imported 9 out of 10 of my formats. Anything special I should do with video?
    • About half of my files are not geotagged. I would eventually like to geotag most of them. Photos now allows for geotagging, so my plan is to do it in Photos later. Any advantage to doing it in Aperture, before the move? Photos seems easy to batch geotag.
    Thanks for any advice.

  2. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    I'm thinking you might want to move this question over to the Digital Photography forum since there are people there that often deal with large libraries. I made the switch but my library is only about 45gb in size and I decided to go with using iCloud.
  3. BJMRamage macrumors 68020


    Oct 2, 2007
    I am still on Aperture. and would LOVE to hear how your process went (if nobody else here replies with any feedback prior to migration)
  4. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2014
    The first step for me was culling my library down 40%. And I was pretty well organized with no images floating around outside of Aperture. My suggestion is to ask yourself if you really need all those image files and projects 5 levels deep with folders. The time to clean it up is before you migrate.
  5. nicholasg macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2011
    I made a number of attempts to migrate a c. 40k library from Aperture to Photos on a brand number iMac at the end of last year. It would migrate fine BUT when opening it within a few minutes would crash. I then spent ages cleaning up the Aperture library and running all the fix/re-build options. Repeated the migration and still crashed. Worked with Apple support. No resolution.

    My advice is to seriously consider Adobe Lightroom Classic. That's what I went with and other than having to deal with a slightly ugly GUI have absolutely no regrets.
  6. Alwis macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2017
    A year ago I thought I should migrate away from Aperture as long as I could run it without much problems and because newer cameras where not supported. Seeing the feature set of the Photos App and not liking the UI I deceided on a two step approach: using Capture One for editing and Photos for syncing with my mobile devices.

    I had a medium size library, mainly RAW&JPEG Pairs with some Jpegs only, all images where referenced. In preparation for the migration I switch all Images to a "RAW" as master version (all edited images already had been set to RAW), mainly because Capture One can not handle these pairs. I also tagged all star rated photos with one or several "*" to be later able to do searches for "3 star or better" in Photos (because of the missing star ratings).

    Than I did some test imports to Capture One and sorted out all "missing files" warnings and other problems with the library. After cleaning up the library I imported it into Photos and Capture One. Beside the previously known lacking features (e.g. had to recreate smart albums in Capture One and a lot of missing features in Photos) no problems at this time. The Photos App library size was approximately the size of the former Aperture Library. Photos needed several days to do the face recognition, which was quite annoying because of the high CPU load and the constant noise of my external hard drive, the last several 100 images took ages...

    After using Photos for some time, I noticed, that the library size constantly increased. Currently it is about 3-4 times the size of the origin Aperture library. Doing some debugging I found, that all images are copied as full size jpegs to the library, although they are referenced.

    I still do not like Photos at all, discontinuing Aperture was one of Apples worst moves and really made me loosing trust in this company. But basically the Fotos App does, what I use it for: Provide images for iTunes sync and occasionally creating iCloud Albums (not using this much, because of the slow internet connection here).

    Because of the increasing library size I moved library from my internal SSD to my external hard drive and excluded it from my Time Machine backups. Occasionally I will do a manual backup. Some day I will try what happens, when I delete the "duplicated" images from the library.
  7. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2014
    Interesting. This is the 3rd comment like this I've seen in the last few weeks. My Photos library is also referenced and Photos duly imports the full size JPEG's to the library.

    Either we don't know how to use Photos or it's broken. I assume the latter. I will also assume Apple has no idea, did zero testing of the product prior to release and it's a bug that will never get fixed.

    Like you I moved my Photos library to an external.
  8. Alwis macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2017
    Probably this is the Apple way of telling us, that we should use iCloud photo library and not referenced images... Naver had this problem with Aperture. A few month ago I reported the problem to Apple, but most likly this will not change anything.
  9. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2014
    I'm glad we had this discussion. Over the weekend I installed MyPics on my iOS devices. Moved all my albums to MyPics, moved all the source files into Lightroom and wiped Mac Photos clean. Removed from shortcuts, removed from task bar, stopped syncing in iTunes. I feel liberated no longer having to deal with the Photos app.
  10. Alwis macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2017
    Thanks for mentioning MyPics, I will test it!

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