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Unified library #1
Keith Bryant's picture
by Keith Bryant
June 14, 2012 - 3:10pm

Being very new to Aperture3,with the latest updates, I am wondering what the unified library does to referenced files. Are they combined with iPhoto libray on my internal hard drive or still kept where they are(external drive).I suppose I am asking where the “unified” library exists, if it exists at all, or whether the ability to 'see all' in iPhoto is he result of clever software??'s picture
June 17, 2012 - 2:14am

Tim: I am always grateful for your analyses and insight. Permit me to persist just a bit longer. I understand the notion of the package. Here is a direct question: if the unified library means that the underlying structures of the libraries are identical (-STRUCTURES OF THE LIBRARIES VS THE ACTUAL LIBRARIES)- thereby enabling either application to open the other’s library what is the reason an image in iPhoto which is APPARENTLY offline CANNOT be opened in iPhoto’s library but can be read on line when aperture opens the iPhoto library?

As always/ thanks

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
June 17, 2012 - 2:17am

As I said in the other post, it is a bug. There are issues. This was a big change; issues are to be expected.

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Frederic Bernabo's picture
by Frederic Bernabo
June 17, 2012 - 6:52am

Now with this unified library, is the iPhoto for iPad a way to incorporate into our workflow on AP?

Thanks for helping or commenting.

Frederic B

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
June 17, 2012 - 5:00pm


Nope, no change between iPad and the rest of it.

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David  Moore's picture
by David Moore
June 14, 2012 - 3:26pm

good Question!
Twitter= @davidbmoore
Scottsdale AZ's picture
June 14, 2012 - 6:26pm

Keith: I also am wondering a little about the iPhoto piece of the unified library. Permit me to piggy back on your post with a couple more dimensions to this issue. As you know: we can tell APERTURE where the library will live by specifying the location in advanced preferences.

I think we used to be able to do that in iPhoto to, as we can in iTunes. I don’t see a way to tell iPhoto where its library should reside in iPhoto preferences.

Here is what I want to do:1: Locate the iPhoto library in a FOLDER on the same external drive as the main APERTURE library. I am a little uncertain on how to do that without the SETTING in iPhoto advanced preferences. 2: Then there is the issue of several earlier iPhoto libraries. I think most have been merged, but I am not certain. So the HOUSEKEEPING question is the best way to get the iPhoto libraries unified without duplicating images. And the NEXT HOUSEKEEPING QUESTION IS: with all of this going on will the UNIFIED APERTURE/IPHOTO LIBRARY–when all of this done–run a high risk of duplicates?

Thanks.'s picture
June 14, 2012 - 6:43pm

More precise explanation of my inquiry on the iPhoto piece of the unified library.

1: I currently only use iPhoto library for special projects such as Christmas
2: I want to get things cleaned up before Mountain Lion.
3: That includes managing main hard drive available data space.
4: So I want to get iPhoto cleaned up and have next to nothing of its data on the main hard drive. I think I used to know how to do this. But am not sure under the unified library system of Aperture 3.3 and iPhoto.


Thomas Emmerich's picture
by Thomas Emmerich
June 14, 2012 - 6:54pm

I think there’s some confusion because of the term “unified” library. When you install Aperture 3.3 and iPhoto 9.3, the first thing they do is “update” their libraries. What they actually are doing is just reformating the library structure so that both iPhoto and Aperture can open/understand. It DOES NOT combine your iPhoto and Aperture libraries into one library.

If you wanted your iPhoto and Aperture libraries combined into a single library, you’d need to update each one using the new versions of iPhoto and Aperture and then from Aperture do an import of the iPhoto library to your existing Aperture library.

As for how to move the location of an iPhoto library, just quit iPhoto, move/copy the iPhoto library in the Finder. Once the library is in the new location just double click it and iPhoto will open to the new library location and it will become the default iPhoto library.


PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
June 14, 2012 - 8:37pm

What Thomas said ;-)


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Keith Bryant's picture
by Keith Bryant
June 14, 2012 - 9:16pm

Thanks Thomas.
All is now clear to me. The use of the word “unified” here is misleading-rather similar to the way a politician might use it!'s picture
June 15, 2012 - 6:42pm

Thomas/ Joseph: I am digesting Thomas’ analysis and am grateful. But I can’t shake the notion that this REFORMATTED library lives somewhere. Sure I can drag the icon around and put it where I wish. Still surprised that I can’t tell the iPhoto library where to live by using preferences.

Question: do I correctly infer from Thomas’ analysis that if I delete an image from iPhoto–or a whole iPhoto library–those images from the UNIFIED LIBRARY are not deleted from APERTURE?

Consider this: today I opened iPhoto library and had some images that showed me a big exclamation mark. I then closed iPhoto. Dragged it onto aperture and the photos opened in all their glory. The I closed APERTURE AND OPENED IPHOTO. The same photos showed me the explanation mark when I clicked on them.

Earlier I had one all the repair options EXCEPT the last one/Rebuild.

Anyway: this behavior seems counterintuitive to the notion of a unified library???

Tim Doyle's picture
by Tim Doyle
June 15, 2012 - 7:40pm

I’ll reiterate what has been said before - “unified library” does NOT mean that your Aperture and iPhoto libraries will be merged. Instead, it means that the underlying library structures for both Aperture and iPhoto have now been made identical. This allows either library type to be opened from either program, One program has a basic set of features, while the other has a much more complex set of features.

You COULD decide to merge your Aperture and iPhoto libraries after upgrading them, but you certainly don’t have to.

Vidpixarts asked where this new reformatted library might live. If you see your Aperture or iPhoto library in Finder, this “file” is actually a “package” - an entire set of folders & files all bundled into one file. This prevents the average user from accidentally deleting a portion of this structure, etc. If you feel brave, you can drill into the library to see what’s in there. Simply right click on the library and select “Show Package Contents”. Inside, there are folders where your masters, previews, masks, thumbnails, etc. reside, and there’s also several databases which contain your metadata, identified faces, places, etc. DO NOT modify or move anything in here!

One thing that has not been mentioned about the unified library issue. By making the underlying library the same format between programs, Apple can theoretically reduce the number of engineers responsible for this area and reallocate them to other features that we can use. It takes time & resources to maintain this underlying code, and if you have two sets of code to maintain, potentially double the effort. Think about having one codebase for this deep level of the programs can reduce the number of defects, etc. That opens up those resources to work on new features for us!


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