How Photos for OS X Handles Content and Metadata Migration from iPhoto and Aperture

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Last week, Apple released OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 with support for the new Photos for OS X app, the company's replacement for both iPhoto and Aperture; Apple also removed both apps from the Mac App Store shortly after Photos was released. Today, Apple released a support document detailing exactly what users can expect when they migrate their content from Aperture and iPhoto to Photos.

When iPhoto content (photos and video) and metadata are migrated over to Photos, they do so without changes. Images migrate over with the adjustments that were applied within iPhoto. Users will not be able to alter the images, but they will be able to revert to the original photo before adjustments were applied. Slideshows and Albums are both preserved in Photos with a few exceptions. Slideshows that use themes not available in Photos have the default theme attached to them, while Smart Albums where none of its Smart Album criteria are supported by Photos are not migrated over.

Keywords are preserved in Photos, and most metadata is migrated over, but there are some exceptions. Some IPTC metadata like Copyright are still attached to works, but they won't be visible within Photos. They can still be viewed in programs that recognize and display the select IPTC data, like iPhoto and Aperture. Finally, Events are transferred to an album called iPhoto Events in the Album View section of Photos for OS X.

Aperture's migration of content and metadata works similar to iPhoto, but with a few significant differences. Aperture projects and subfolders migrate to folders called Aperture Projects and iPhoto Events, both of which are available to view in the Album View section of Photos. Photo books also migrate to the Album section of the app. Captions are preserved in Photos, but star ratings, flagged images and color labels are turned into keywords. For example, a one-star rating shows up as "1 star" keyword, flagged images have "flagged" keywords attached and the green color label turns into a "green" keyword. Finally, custom metadata fields to not transfer to Photos.

The entire support document is helpful for those worrying about transferring their content over to Photos and can be viewed on Apple's website.

Article Link: How Photos for OS X Handles Content and Metadata Migration from iPhoto and Aperture
 

AnsonX10

macrumors member
Apr 20, 2009
69
69
4/20
For those wondering, they both still appear in Purchased, but I don't intend to delete them to find out if they can still be re-downloaded.
 

applemacfan007

macrumors newbie
Oct 26, 2010
26
16
merging albums, sorting by date gone. why?!?

I just don't understand why in the Photos app they removed the ability to merge or split albums. Also Aperture and iPhoto sorted Projects and Events by date with the most recent first. That made sense. Now Photos doesn't allow for that. If you want by date you need to scroll down to get to the most reason. Not really intuitive at best and definitely annoying.
 

AppleDeviceUser

macrumors 6502
Jan 7, 2012
492
10
Canada
So I migrated over thinking it would handle my library (40,000 photos) better than iPhoto did, editing options are less than before and it still crashes and freezes all the time. What the hell Apple?!
Plus they removed aperture off the app store, why? It's not like "photos" replaced all those editing features. Again... What the hell Apple?!
 

lolkthxbai

macrumors 65816
May 7, 2011
1,351
412
Plus they removed aperture off the app store, why? It's not like "photos" replaced all those editing features. Again... What the hell Apple?!
They're unifying the photo experience between iOS and OS X. Eventually, there will be extensions/plugins that can be added to photos just like in iOS that will bring back all, if not, most of those editing features.
 

DavidLeblond

macrumors 68020
Jan 6, 2004
2,207
316
Raleigh, NC
Also hidden photos from iPhoto are still marked as hidden and are placed in a hidden folder marked "Hidden Photos." They're also visible everywhere else in the app since it doesn't actually hide the photos.
 

macbeta

macrumors regular
Nov 13, 2009
136
287
Sticking with iPhoto and Lightroom.

I don't like it, Some deeply flawed ideas. One of the most useful features of iPhoto was dragging a picture out to a folder or to an application like photoshop. Dragging out a raw file creates a JPG and deposits it in the folder and you cannot drag into photoshop or send the raw to an external editor. Useless.
 

newagemac

macrumors 68020
Mar 31, 2010
2,091
23
So I migrated over thinking it would handle my library (40,000 photos) better than iPhoto did, editing options are less than before and it still crashes and freezes all the time. What the hell Apple?!
Plus they removed aperture off the app store, why? It's not like "photos" replaced all those editing features. Again... What the hell Apple?!
You must not have spent much time with it because while Photos may not have quite as much as Aperture, it definitely has far more editing options than iPhoto did.
 

Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
6,113
2,668
I already deleted my iPhoto, but could anyone please tell me if it's safe to delete the actual iPhoto library file in my Photos folder in Finder? I've migrated since the Public beta.
 

rikscha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2010
699
284
London
They are still having trouble with the embedded time zone which leads to photos being sorted incorrectly.
Totally annoying. I have been fixing dates for hours now. Also, Photos on iOS will display your country's time stamp rather than the local time of where the picture was taken.
It's great, having breakfast in Tokyo in the morning and the time stamp suggests it's 2am.
 

odedia

macrumors 65816
Nov 24, 2005
1,021
119
Tried to import my library of 28,000 images from Lightroom to Photos, and it crashed every time. I used it on internal SSD, on external thunderbolt drive, whatever. 32gb of RAM, top of the line iMac 5k, and the program hangs.

This thing is still beta in my book. Wait for the next update.
 

Speedy Dingo

macrumors regular
Jun 4, 2010
215
441
Australia
I started migrating SOME of my iPhoto libraries last night, but I did it selectivity by dragging them from within iPhoto to the Photos app.
Problems I've encountered; 1. I tried copying an event with 1250 photos, but it rejected about 50 saying it couldn't "retrieve metadata" - I checked which photos they were and they were taken with my iPhone 6, and the metadata looked fine.
2. Dragging photos directly from iPhoto into a user-made album is impossible. You can only drag photos into the "Last Imported" tab. So if you want to make an album with only a selection of photos, or the ones you're importing at the time, its best do it when they're in that Last Imported folder as otherwise you'll need to weed through ALL photos and try to pick each one. Sucks if you have a large library.
3. Sorting by date DOES NOT WORK! (Least for me. Not 100% anyway) I have photos in the wrong spots and after double checking metadata and ticking and unticking to sort by date, it refuses to do it. iPhoto has no issue with this.
Overall I'm a little disappointed with the user-friendliness of the App so far, but I do get that it just came out of beta. It's definitely not final - well, I hope so...
 

BillyBobBongo

macrumors 68030
Jun 21, 2007
2,513
1,073
On The Interweb Thingy!
Photos will migrate your events from iPhoto and store them in a folder for you in the 'Albums' view. Hours later half of these events will have randomly disappeared, without any user interaction what-so-ever....leaving you the annoying task of finding them all in the 'Photos' feed and putting them back where they belong!

Great software, Apple.
 

RB777

macrumors newbie
Nov 2, 2013
16
1
Worldwide
It was something I was looking forward too but it has not delivered. iPhoto was one of the apps I use on a daily basis purely because I liked the way it organised pictures/events/albums etc. Yes we may no naturally like change but I have always gone with the flow over the last 10 years and adapted to all Apple changes and software updates but this is different.

As mentioned before here, this Photos App doesn't make sense.

For example, sync with IOS device in iTunes doesn't work for me (yes I am up t date) it shows a pane with a dropdown menu from which I can choose sync with iPhoto or sync with Photos. Libraries migrated but only sync with iPhoto works, Photos App shows 0 photos available.

Any thoughts? Thanks

 

RabidMacFan

macrumors regular
Jun 19, 2012
200
46
California
When I migrated my Aperture library to photos, I thought that it would have to copy the entire 50GB library into a new file. I was relieved to find out that it uses file system hard links on all of your master files from the original library so that it doesn't take up any extra space. After the migration, feel free to delete your old Aperture/iPhoto library, but don't expect it to help you save any disk space.
 

Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
6,113
2,668
Yes you can. I did and it worked just fine afterwards.
Awesome, thanks for the info!

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When I migrated my Aperture library to photos, I thought that it would have to copy the entire 50GB library into a new file. I was relieved to find out that it uses file system hard links on all of your master files from the original library so that it doesn't take up any extra space. After the migration, feel free to delete your old Aperture/iPhoto library, but don't expect it to help you save any disk space.
Thank you. Although, I actually did free up around 15 GBs of space by deleting the old iPhoto library. But I should note that I selected "optimize Mac storage" in the new Photos app.

Update: I deleted my wife's iPhoto library (which was about 20gb) and she didn't really gain any space, as you pointed out. She's also set to optimize Mac storage. Odd how I gained space.
 
Last edited:

heimo

macrumors 6502
Aug 9, 2010
308
174
So I migrated over thinking it would handle my library (40,000 photos) better than iPhoto did, editing options are less than before and it still crashes and freezes all the time. What the hell Apple?!
Plus they removed aperture off the app store, why? It's not like "photos" replaced all those editing features. Again... What the hell Apple?!
I'm very satisfied also. Apple provided fine migration path.

Replace satisfied with pissed off and provided with forgot and fine with something else beginning with f.
 

coolfactor

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2002
4,709
4,882
Vancouver, BC
I don't like it, Some deeply flawed ideas. One of the most useful features of iPhoto was dragging a picture out to a folder or to an application like photoshop. Dragging out a raw file creates a JPG and deposits it in the folder and you cannot drag into photoshop or send the raw to an external editor. Useless.
i would not consider that to be an "idea" that they had for the new Photos app, but rather an oversight. Drag-and-drop between apps needs to be specifically supported. I was recently surprised I could not drag a photo from Photos into a chat app that I was using, and had to go through the Export-then-Upload procedure, which is totally not Mac-like.

The Feedback Assistant app (if you use that), and the official Feedback forms (once they list Photos there) will be the official methods of informing Apple of this type of feedback.

----------

So I migrated over thinking it would handle my library (40,000 photos) better than iPhoto did, editing options are less than before and it still crashes and freezes all the time. What the hell Apple?!
Plus they removed aperture off the app store, why? It's not like "photos" replaced all those editing features. Again... What the hell Apple?!
This is par for the course for Apple lately. They are pushing forward and there's some roadkill along the way. I encourage you to be very vocal with them (politely) through the official Feedback pages and the Feedback Assistant app. If enough people make noise, they will listen.

I haven't had any crashes or freezes with Photos. I've found it to be very slick and smooth. Super fast... very impressed with that, but my library is nowhere near the size of yours. It sounds like some of your photos are causing Photos to choke, possibly from corruption in the files. Be sure to be submitting the crash reports each time.

As for editing options, we all knew that Photos would be straddling between iPhoto and Aperture... more than iPhone, less than Aperture. But this is a brand new Version 1.0 app and you can be assured that it will mature over time. Just calls for us to be patient (and keep submitting that feedback).

----------

It was something I was looking forward too but it has not delivered. iPhoto was one of the apps I use on a daily basis purely because I liked the way it organised pictures/events/albums etc. Yes we may no naturally like change but I have always gone with the flow over the last 10 years and adapted to all Apple changes and software updates but this is different.

As mentioned before here, this Photos App doesn't make sense.

For example, sync with IOS device in iTunes doesn't work for me (yes I am up t date) it shows a pane with a dropdown menu from which I can choose sync with iPhoto or sync with Photos. Libraries migrated but only sync with iPhoto works, Photos App shows 0 photos available.

Any thoughts? Thanks

Image
Sync between Photos and my iPhone work over-the-air... no iTunes required. Add a photo to Photos and it appears on my phone a moment later. Take a photo with my phone and it appears in Photos a moment later. Of course, I'm fully set up with iCloud Photo Sync. What are you doing differently?
 

till213

Suspended
Jul 1, 2011
423
88
Plus they removed aperture off the app store, why? It's not like "photos" replaced all those editing features. Again... What the hell Apple?!
Did you already purchase it? If so, no problem: you can re-download it and install on fresh computers any time.

If not, bad luck: too late. But why would you want it only now?

----------

What are you doing differently?
Wasn't that obvious from the OP's question? He's not using Cloud Sync, but wants to sync over iTunes (the later was updated just recently, specifically in order to support syncing photos with Photos).
 

thekeyring

macrumors 68040
Jan 5, 2012
3,441
2,075
London
Personally, I prefer photos to iPhoto, but I understand people's complaints, especially those trying to cope using it as an Apeture replacement.

iCloud Photo Library does actually seem intuitive but it's annoying that it's blocked by a paywall for me.

Either give me more storage for free - my photo library is relatively small (people on here talk about collections with 40,000 photos in, I only have 7GB of photos) or allow me to store - for example - my 3 most recent events in iCloud, and keep the rest on my Mac.

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I want a response to this to! Can I delete the iPhoto one?
After moving all my photos into the Photos app, I deleted the iPhoto library, and have had no problems with the Photos app.
 
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