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Managed vs referenced library #1
riker1966's picture
by riker1966
April 19, 2015 - 11:49am

If I understand it correctly, my Photos-libraray has to be managed to use the icloud-options, it will not work with referenced files. Is this really true ? I remember endless discussions about referenced vs. managed libraries with Aperture : and in the end I think it was no good decision to let Aperture manage all your files, because Apple has dropped the software. Managed libraries need absolute reliability concerning the software and the company of the software, because there is no easy way to switch between these two options if you have thousands of pictures and videos - and reliability is no quality of Apple if it comes to software products. As far as I can see there are only primitive export functions within the Photos-App: so if I had to change the software for what reason ever - how could I get my file structure back? Is there any “Undo”-button ? Or have I misunderstood the “consolidate”-command within Photos ? I think the library-management is a really crucial if you have thousands of files…

MikeA's picture
by MikeA
April 19, 2015 - 10:38pm

I have used Aperture for 10 years running with a managed library approach (and many others as well) and NEVER ran into a single problem with that, so I don’t know what exactly your issue is.

Getting 27.000 images out of the managed library into a referenced structure before migrating to C1 worked like a breeze. It was a matter of minutes and everything worked exactly like before. So if you ask me, Apple would currently be the only developers I trust with managing my images, because they did so successfully for 10 years. C1 has a managed library approach as well, but this tool has crashed on me in 2 months of use more than Aperture in the last 10 years, so I will go the referenced route from now on.

Why do people accept the managed library of their music in iTunes and go ballistic when it comes to their pictures?

Thomas Emmerich's picture
by Thomas Emmerich
April 22, 2015 - 8:24pm

There’s no magic to the storage of your originals in a managed library. The library is a special type of folder called a package. When double-clicked, a package typically opens a specific app instead of opening the folder. That’s the main difference visible to the user.

However, you can open a package just like a folder by choosing to right-click and select “Show Package Contents”. Once inside you’ll find the Masters folder where all your originals are stored. You can then copy them out to your heart’s desire. There’s no restrictions.

WARNING: You can copy things out but if you move or rename them inside the library, Aperture will get thoroughly confused and you’ll be in a heap of trouble. This is why Apple designed that extra non-obvious step to get inside a package. Better to stay out unless you know what you are doing.

The originals are stored inside the library based on import session. The hierarchy is:


If you import 3 times in one day, there will be 3 folders inside the folder for that day with those originals. The import session folder name is based on the date and time of the import.

Bottom line is having a managed library does not prevent you from getting at the originals no matter what happens to the Aperture app.


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