Feature request: Aperture migration

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    Nik Bhatt

    You’re welcome. I’m still wrapping my head around this discovery about the conversion from Aperture to Photos. When I have something, I’ll write up a post or article with the plan for my own Aperture library…

    Nik Bhatt

    Photos does not support the richness of Aperture’s smart albums, so not everything gets propagated to Photos. That has been true from day 1 of Photos, unfortunately.


    Another Apple curiosity, this time related to Photos Libraries backup.

    Apple’s advice on backing up Photos Libraries is to either use Time Machine, or make a manual copy of the library to external storage.
    At present, only the latter will actually replicate your library in full. When Time Machine backs up a Photos Library, it completely
    omits the database folder within it, where all its vital metadata are stored.

    Apple has apparently been informed of this problem, but hasn’t got round either to addressing it, or to warning users that their Time Machine
    backup will loose their metadata when restored.

    This is a strange behaviour on the part of Photos and Time Machine. Manually copying Photos Libraries works around this issue perfectly well.
    It happens because the database folder inside a Photos Library has an extended attribute of type com.apple.metadata:com_apple_backup_excludeItem
    which prevents it from being backed up by Time Machine.

    Source: Oakley & Maxwell

    Erik Brammer

    Surprise after surprise – good thing I don’t rely on Time Machine exclusively but also do fully open CCC backups.


    Just a short info on iCloud Drive backup nuances:

    The rule seems to be that Time Machine does back up the contents iCloud Drive, but only those items which are currently stored locally.
    Any items which have been evicted to iCloud, and are only represented by local stub files, aren’t backed up.


    Thanks for all the additional information. Maybe we need to stage another “moment” for the senior team at Apple … similar to what happened when the transition from FCP to FCPX was messed up. I still do not think the Apple team comprehend how much value in the brand they have destroyed. You know, I could not care less about the services stuff. It is nice, but at the end of the day, I can live without it. We all want to be creative … I still think that is what attracts users to the ecosystem. The quality of what I create in the ecosystem is what makes me so enthusiastic about it.

    I will keep looking further for a solution. If I can be of any help, let me know.


    RE: Aperture migration & Conversion to Photos

    Hi all, and a special greeting to Nik!

    I just read in his posting from September 23 the deplorable fact that Aperture adjustments are no longer (completely) converted in Photos 4.0. I really cannot understand the attitude of some Apple developers (or their superiors) in making decisions just so detrimental to many users. Anyway, how to cope with these bad new, as I have almost one terabyte of referenced Aperture libraries and even more tiff & raw files. Several options came to my mind, all of them either tedious and/or not very satisfactorily:
    1) a) Export all the old Aperture versions which where scanned as tiff files and export them with all their metadata as 100% jpegs
    Or b) Export those versions as tiff-files (but how to preserve the metadata??? How to create xmp sidecar files with what app??)
    If I export the versions of the 50.000 raw files taken since 2008, this would be also a one-lane with hard-baked jpegs.

    2) I still have a High Sierra version, where I can boot from. Then under the High Sierra system converting Aperture libraries to Photos libraries. But also many metadata get lost.
    But if I understood Nik`s post correctly, the problem will later turn up massively under Mojave when I update the High Sierra Photo library to Mojave?

    The only solution seems to be to wait for a RAW POWER 3.0 solution – maybe a front-end to convert all (or most of the important) Aperture adjustments in a way that Photos gets along
    with them. Nik, provide me with a conversion program, I am willing to pay a one-time amount even as much as for Capture One! (I know that Capture One could do the job, but one has
    to pay yearly for Capture one new versions!).

    And finally, looking at the decisions Apple does take, can one trust Photos in the long run? Or may be in the systems following Catalina they will just offer us instead new Emojis and some new dark mode colors instead of features semi-professionals are really looking for?

    Nik Bhatt

    My main archive is still in Aperture (running El Capitan on a pre-retina iMac 27″!)
    I have been meaning to write something describing the options people have. Until then, here is a brief look at them.

    1) Move the Aperture library to Photos. The adjustment data will be discarded, but it will generate full-size previews, so your images will appear correct. Any subsequent edits will be made to the preview, or you have to Revert to Original. Note that Photos does have a Duplicate command, so it should be possible to duplicate, revert the duplicated image and edit the duplicate image without disturbing the Aperture edit. Most metadata will be moved, but not all (e.g, some custom metadata isn’t moved, ratings become keywords and some other odd transformations I can’t recall at the moment). While older versions of Photos did a much better job of preserving Aperture data, later versions take the migrated data and migrate it again, discarding the relevant Aperture data (that is my understanding, I am not 100% sure).

    2) Use the LR importer. This will bring some of the metadata (I believe ratings and keywords are preserved properly). Edits are not preserved at all, so you would need to export your edited images (you can search for images that have adjustments, so you don’t have export every image) and import them into LR. This is quite clunky, of course. You could stack the exported images with the originals, to approximate what Photos is doing.

    3) Use Capture One’s importer which I have no experience with, but it tries to import some of the Aperture adjustments.

    When you export images in Aperture, the metadata is stored in the exported file. Aperture can also export an XMP sidecar.

    RAW Power 3.0 will be a front-end for the Photos library, but there are a lot of limitations imposed by Apple. For example:
    1) There is no ability to read or write keywords, or any metadata except “favorites” and creation date
    2) Aperture adjustment data is not readable, because it will have been converted before RAW Power could read it.

    I plan to add ratings and flags to the Photos library, though it’s crazy what I have to do to get it to work.

    Some restrictions may be relaxed in the future (like keywords). I am pretty sure the adjustment data is a lost cause once it is in Photos, though.

    Re: a conversion program. I appreciate your desire for such a thing. There are a few options, which are not great:
    1) Convert Aperture adjustments that also exist in Photos so that things are non-destructive in Photos. This is a very small set. Even Exposure doesn’t technically exist in Photos (it’s part of the Light adjustment, which isn’t the same thing)

    2) Convert Aperture adjustments into RAW Power adjustments. This is a larger set, but Aperture has way more adjustments than RAW Power, including brushing which I’m still working on.

    I sometimes think about writing #2, but I’m so buried with work, it’s hard to imagine how to carve out the time necessary to do a good job with it.


    Hi, I just found this.
    Not sure if tis will be a complete solution for migration with preserved settings or just and import from one library to another.

    “Starting with macOS Catalina, Aperture is no longer compatible with macOS. If you upgraded to macOS Catalina before migrating your Aperture library, you can still use Photos to choose your Aperture library, as pictured above. However, Photos might show only the original photos, not any edits that you made to them in Aperture.
    Apple will soon release a macOS Catalina update to help resolve this issue. Until then, you should keep your Aperture library and expect to migrate it to Photos again. You may also want to avoid using Photos to add or edit photos, because those changes won’t be kept when you migrate your library again.
    This article will be updated as more information becomes available.”


    Erik Brammer

    Would be great if that did the trick for those that are still using Aperture.

    For what it’s worth, after just a bit of trying, I personally have discarded the idea of using ACDSee as a DAM tool. The basic search functionality such as “show me all images shot with camera X” or “… lens Y” is also available in Apple Photos. If ACDSee generally stores metadata such as keywords, rating etc. in its own, proprietary database and only upon request exports this to XMP sidecar files, Photos can pretty much do the same. So I will rather stick to my current suite of Raw Power, Fuji X-Raw Studio and Apple Photos. Once Raw Power 3.0 is out, I will see whether I will use Photos as the main repository including raw files (and upgrade my iMac and the iCloud storage plan at the same time – finally a valid reason to do so).


    I newer understood the purpose of Fuji X-Raw Studio.
    It converts the raw file to jpeg in camera but you still don’t have the possibility to save the applied settings.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Valdo.
    Erik Brammer

    Well, it Fuji X-Raw Studio develops X-Trans raw files with the available film simulations per camera model to JPG using a specified output color space applying some very basic additional conversion settings that you would also find in the camera – as it is actually using the camera to generate the JPGs. You can save conversion profiles for repeat use, and the conversion of each RAF leads to a sidecar file documenting those individual conversion settings.

    It certainly ain’t a piece of software with great user interface, its operation is a bit clunky and not very intuitive, but it allows you generate ACROS versions of your raws or any other film simulation with Fuji great color science included.

    Nik Bhatt

    Yes, I found the bug originally and reported it to Apple. I’m glad they are going to have a fix for it. Until then, do not upgrade an Aperture library to Photos on Catalina.

    Nik Bhatt

    I reported this to Apple, and they are going to fix it.


    According to Apple now it is possible to migrate the Aperture libraries to Catalina Photos with detailed explanations how Photos handles content, metadata, and smart albums from Aperture


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