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Summary:

So Aperture 3 is finally out. The trial has been an absolute dream to play with. It doesn’t upgrade your existing Aperture 2 library, so you need to test it on newly imported images. However, for those who immediately bit the bullet and upgraded with a […]

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So Aperture 3 is finally out. The trial has been an absolute dream to play with. It doesn’t upgrade your existing Aperture 2 library, so you need to test it on newly imported images. However, for those who immediately bit the bullet and upgraded with a full license, it hasn’t been all roses. If you’re new to Aperture in version 3, you may carry on with your day — but if you’re moving from version 2 to the 3, you should probably read on.

Hopefully, you’re reading this before you’ve run into any problems. Here at TheAppleBlog, we aim to lessen your pain. It should go without saying, but please, please, make sure you’ve got at least one backup of your Aperture library. You should have this on any given day of course, but it counts double when you’re planning on upgrading and performing any changes to software in general. With that public service announcement out of the way, we can talk tragedies (hopefully averted).

I haven’t had issues first hand (thankfully), because I’m still just using the trial version on a newly created version 3 library. But as my father-in-law dove right in, he’s had nothing but pain and frustration as Aperture 3 has attempted to update his existing library to the newer database structure. Looking at the Apple Support forums for Aperture shows that he’s not alone.

The culprit seems to be at the point in time when the library file is being converted/upgraded. The beach ball of death comes on full force, and in turn makes the Mac unusable. This can go on for hours! At best you can restart and avoid the upgrade until there’s a fix to the issue — at worst, you may lose library data.

Apple Support has recommended trying the Aperture Library First Aid. You have the option to Repair Permissions, Repair Database, or Rebuild Database with this tool. To access, you’ll need to open an Aperture Library file directly, and hold Option+Command while doing so. These processes have not proven to fix the issue, but are at least worth attempting.

116 responses (at the time of this write-up) may not be a lot, relatively speaking, but clearly represents an issue to be aware of. If you’re considering buying the upgrade to Aperture 3, you may want to keep an eye on this forum until there’s an identified issue or fix. Happy upgrading!

Thanks to Tom for the tip on this, and good luck!


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  1. I think I’ll wait for a bit and upgrade when they’ve fixed the bug, my library is too big to go messing around with!

  2. I had no problem what so ever updating my Aperture Library.

  3. I imported my Aperture 2 & iPhoto libraries into the Aperture 3 trial library with no problems. Looks like a winner to me.

  4. Alex Rodriguez Friday, February 12, 2010

    I did not have any problems with the two that I have updated so far.

  5. I had no problem updating my Aperture 2 library to the fully-licensed version of Aperture 3. While my library is large (≈ 34 GB), I’m not a professional photographer, so it’s probably no where near as large as some others. It would be helpful to know the size of the libraries for those who are having problems updating their libraries to the new format.

    1. Hi Silver Fox,
      34 GB are a good shooting day for a professional. My library is quite small and it is already 3 TB!
      That’s probably whay you did not have any problem with upgrading.
      I’m pretty scared to do that…

  6. Updating to Aperture 3 has ben nothing but problems for me! First upgrade attempt failed after 5 hours – second time completed after another 7 hours, however, Aperture 3 is so slow it’s unusable. Two hours with tech support said I just needed to be patient until all the images are re-processed, which they said may take days! My library is about 850GB. Theirs no turning back and I can only hope it all works after who knows how long – I’m not a happy Apple camper.

    1. Same issue here, bud. I’ve got about 630gigs of exposures. I installed it OK, kinda, it crashed while doing the “faces” thing as I left it overnight. Now, it’s slow as hell and I cant update my vault because it says I need another 400gigs but I only have a few gigs of new photos from the last update. Let me know what you find out!

    2. I’ve had the same problem with my library, which is 88.5 gigs on my macbook pro and it is saying I don’t have enough room to enable Aperture to create the new upgraded library which is a pain.

      So a few files are going to have to be moved to a external drive to free some space.

      The trial was awesome though!

      Good luck peoples.
      Simon

  7. Had exactly this issue….. i ended up exporting projects and importing them into Ap3…. working so far…… 246GB library….. 13500 images. Interestingly AP3 seems to be smaller than AP2 in the get info window…. approx 190GB compared to 245GB…… same number of images…….

  8. Not sure if it makes a difference, but I use referenced masters thus even though my masters are 350gb my library is only 24.5 gb. Took a while, overnight in fact, but everything went smoothly except it decided to do face detection on 45,000 photos, not a good idea. Be sure to see preferences for no face detection and no previews before doing the upgrade.

  9. I had problems with Computer speed after the library convert. Problem was Aperture 3 was hosing my caches. I ran a utility to empty system cache and clear the log files. It runs fast again. Still need to repair the file though.

  10. I’m not even considering upgrading Aperture 3 since as far as I’m concerned Apple and Steve Jobs have their heads in space and need to breath oxygen to get their grey matter working.

    I thought Apple had some foresight, but when it comes to pricing their just as bad as Micro$oft.

    1. Hamranhansenhansen Alex Saturday, February 20, 2010

      You’re saying $99 every couple of years to stay current with Aperture is too much? I don’t get that at all. If you think that is too much you should be using iPhoto which is free. If you go into a pro camera shop with $99 you’ll come out with a lens cozy.

      And Microsoft has as much to do with it as Hitler, which is to say, nothing at all.

      1. Couldn’t agree with you more. Even though we all know that buying Apple is CLEARLY more expensive than PC, the benefits are beyond significant. On the contrary this example is the opposite with Apple being much cheaper, if $159 for Aperture 3 or $99 for the upgrade is too expensive, the PC equivalent (Lightroom 3) Retails for almost $300.

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