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Aperture backup using Dropbox #1
Eugene Worley's picture
by Eugene Worley
August 13, 2012 - 1:48pm

I have Dropbox that I have been using for some time on all my files other than my Aperture db. I am wondering if I can just add my Aperture db file to my Dropbox folder. Will that cause me any problems? Is that an effective backup solution? I have read somewhere on this site that such will cause problems, but I don't know what or why.

I would appreciate it very much if I could get some advice/help here. By the way my Aperture files are “managed”.

Claude's picture
by Claude
November 28, 2012 - 4:57pm

Hi there this is my very first post.
I am a new b at this and on top I am not English, please be indulgent with me. :-)

If I understand well the dialogue here, and that I do not have an other computer, and that I would back up only as a 2nd back up from time to time, and that my library is at its infantile stage I could use drop box. I have the room.

I have therefore made a vault folder in drop box for that purpose.

So here is my question:
when I set vault it ask me where to back up, and it only gives me drop box as a choice, it doesn’t give me dropbox/vault. Is there a way around this so I can use dropbox/vault?



PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
August 13, 2012 - 8:01pm


I wouldn’t recommend it. You can certainly check with Dropbox support, but since it’s constantly scanning for changes, I think at best you could overtask Dropbox and it’d be constantly updating while you’re running Aperture. At worst, if someone else opened the library on another computer (or even if you did accidentally, forgetting you’d left it open on another one), you could seriously screw up your Library.

Storing your Library on an NAS (networked attached storage) is NOT supported, (see this article: “Network Drives (NAS) and Aperture” and the reasons described there are essentially the same reasons that would affect the Library in Dropbox.

— Have you signed up for the mailing list?

Eugene Worley's picture
by Eugene Worley
August 13, 2012 - 8:12pm

Thanks very much and yes I have signed up.

Now would the answer be any different if my files were referenced? I know that you like Backblaze, I think it is called. How is it different conceptually from Dropbox.

By the way, I enjoyed your video on the Nik site– I learned a lot. Also love this site, wish that I had found it way earlier. Would have saved me a lot of grief!

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
August 13, 2012 - 9:31pm


Backblaze is a one-way backup. Dropbox is a two-way sync. You can’t make changes on Backblaze that trickle back to your Mac, but with Dropbox any changes made anywhere (on another Mac or on the Dropbox site itself) are synced back to every computer.

Backblaze is specifically for backing up your computer; for disaster recovery. This should be run in addition to a local backup, as recovering several hundred GB, or even several TB from an online system isn’t ideal. Have a local backup as your first-run recovery, cloud backup as second.

Dropbox is for synchronizing working files among multiple computers, and has the added benefit of providing a backup of those files. But that’s not it’s purpose in life. I store basically my entire Documents folder in Backblaze, allowing me access to all client files from any of my computers, iPad, iPhone, etc., as well as from any computer on the internet as I can log into my Dropbox account and access all those files.

Anyway… the Original images, in a referenced system, can certainly be stored in a Dropbox folder because they don’t change. The Library itself though is a collection of thousands of files that are constantly changing while the Library is open.

Welcome to the site! I’m curious; did you learn about us from the Nik video, or had you already been here?


— Have you signed up for the mailing list?

Eugene Worley's picture
by Eugene Worley
August 14, 2012 - 12:29am

Thanks again for a prompt and thoughtful reply. That all makes sense and helps a lot.

I found your site after being bugged by some friends that I should abandon Aperture and switch to Lightroom. I decided to Google and find out what the G2 on an update to Aperture was and one of the links on the first page was to your site. After reading what I found here I have decided to hang on for a while. I have downloaded one of your ebooks and am considering to get the video. But in the meantime I watched your Nik video and enjoyed it very much. Wish that you could have talked longer.


David  Moore's picture
by David Moore
August 13, 2012 - 2:28pm

I theory it should work. That would be a huge file for Dropbx, do you have the extra storage. I lean against it since it does incremental changes via Dropbox and the AP db I think is fragile enough to tempt fate with changes like that. Others I trust will have other opinions
Twitter= @davidbmoore
Scottsdale AZ

Christian C. Berclaz's picture
by Christian C. Berclaz
August 9, 2013 - 3:30am

To share my experience with Dropbox and Aperture, Eugene indicated earlier that it is not recommended, I can confirm it is a pretty bad thing.

I keep a number of files on a Dropbox folder so that I can work seamlessly at my desk or on the move. This is include a subset - thankfully - of my master Aperture library so I can process images at home and on the move. It is a managed library.

Recently, as I am rebuilding my website, I came back to some older photos and I realised they are no longer there… very bad news… It is possible that once, only once, I had the library open at the same time on the desktop and the laptop, but it is also possible that the library simply degraded over time. As I still have my main library I have not lost any masters but some pp images have been lost…

My spirit is still high after years of using Dropbox without any problem, so I’ll try to change my setup to a referenced library, keeping the library and the images on dropbox so if something happens to the database at least I wouldn’t loose the image files… I’ll report back.

Christian C. Berclaz

Thomas Emmerich's picture
by Thomas Emmerich
August 9, 2013 - 4:27am

One reason why dropbox won’t work well is the speed of the synchronization. If you import a bunch of new images or make many changes on one machine and then don’t wait long enough after quitting Aperture for it to sync to the cloud before shutting down or putting your Mac to sleep, the sync will be incomplete. Then when you try to open the library on another Mac, the incomplete sync is what will be downloaded. Or if you start Aperture too soon before dropbox has time to sync the library from the cloud, same problem of corrupt library.


Jim Pappas's picture
by Jim Pappas
August 18, 2013 - 3:25am

I will second Joseph’s recommendation to use a backup program vs a sync program. It’s just the right tool for the job.

I personally use Crashplan+. I still have a couple of years left on my $6/month unlimited family plan. I have eight computers being backed up… The latest single backup is 1.5TB. Quite the deal.


/Jim Pappas

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