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Using Aperture means I can't give copies of all my photos to a PC user? #1
CJ M's picture
by CJ M
October 7, 2013 - 3:02pm

Hi! I've searched extensively, but I apologize if this has already been addressed.

My husband is a PC user and I'm on a Mac. Right now our photos (I'd estimate about 60K) are all over the place, his PC, my iPhoto, various HDs.

I want to consolidate and start organizing this mess and the logical approach seems to be upgrading to Aperture so all the albums and faces work I've done so far will be preserved and I can manage all photos on one HD.

My concern is that, as far as I've been able to figure out, I need to use a Mac formatted HD and he won't be able to access the photos on his PC.

So, even if I'm not going to use a managed library (which I'd prefer, but I could do the other way if it means I can use Aperture), I don't see how I can easily give him a copy of everything. Am I missing something, or am I going to have to use another program like Lightroom in order to be able to give him a copy of all the photos?

Even if I manage to par down our photos significantly, I don't see how exporting all of them is practical - besides, won't I lose photo quality if I make them jpegs?

Thanks so much!

Walter Rowe's picture
by Walter Rowe
October 8, 2013 - 12:59pm

One (expensive) option is for your husband to move from the PC to the Mac platform. You could both then have access to your Aperture library. The issue you now face is that you are already invested in the Apple ecosystem with iPhoto. All your work there could be lost in moving to a cross-platform tool like Lightroom.

You have to decide for yourselves which is more painful and/or costly .. having to redo all your organization, photo adjustments and metadata work in a new tool like Lightroom, or getting your husband something from the Apple ecosystem that lets him take full advantage of your investment of time and skills. Aperture is $80 in the Mac App Store. One copy can be used on all your OS X devices. The only problem you face is that only one person can be using a specific library at a time.

How attached is your husband to the PC platform? He doesn’t have to give it up. Just get a Mac in addition.

One more option, but still not pretty, is to “share” your drive with your husband’s PC over the network (mapping the OS X drive to the Windows computer). If your library is a referenced library in Aperture your husband will see all the original files. He won’t see any of your adjustments or metadata tagging. I don’t think that is a robust solution, but wanted to list the option for completeness.

I also agree that exporting all your images to JPG format just so he has access is not viable. It is an inordinate amount of work, and how do you maintain his copy over time? How do you know what he has and what he doesn’t have from your master library?

It seems more effective to get him a Mac, though that is also the most costly in dollars and cents. Get him a MacBook Air with as much memory as you can afford. If you place your library on a portable drive, it can be plugged into any Mac and Aperture on that Mac can use it. This is a lightweight platform that isn’t overly expensive, and you have the pleasure of using it when you guys travel.

CJ M's picture
by CJ M
October 8, 2013 - 2:08pm

Thanks very much for your in-depth reply Walter.

It looks like I have some things to think over with my husband. He runs several businesses on his PC and is very attached - he still thinks I’m crazy for switching to a Mac in the first place, so my chances of converting him are slim ;) I like the idea of getting him a small mac though. That would have the added benefit of not mixing his business stuff with our personal photos.

I’ll see what he thinks, otherwise, it looks like using Lightroom might be in my future. Either way I’d like to pick a system now that I can stick with for years to come. I have a lot less of my work to lose in iPhoto now than I will once I start consolidating and sorting through all our photos.

Thanks again for the help!!

Steve Benkovich's picture
by Steve Benkovich
October 8, 2013 - 2:29pm

Reading this post brings up a question that is somewhat related. At least I believe. What if?
What if Apple no longer has an Aperture? Or I move to another system, PC based: not really but the question should be asked. How, or what should I be doing with my images? I have them backed up to a external hard drive in a vault; but as to the later question, what if I’m no longer a Apple user. Trying to find the original master in the library is a frustrating job and seems to be impossibly difficult.
I know pc users who can quickly and painlessly go to the original image files, and copy them, move them, cloud storage them, etc, etc.
iPhoto years ago use to let me right click and find the master files simply. Now trying to do this in Aperture I have endless folders within folders, within folders.
Any ideas?
Steve B

Steve Benkovich

CJ M's picture
by CJ M
October 9, 2013 - 4:18pm

I completely agree. It seems an awful lot like Aperture & iPhoto are set up so that once you start using them, you are essentially stuck with them. Moving your photos elsewhere is very difficult. This is my biggest hesitation with jumping in. What if years from now, I need to get my photos out of Aperture. Will I be able to get the full, intact files out?

Walter Rowe's picture
by Walter Rowe
October 9, 2013 - 9:41pm

Let’s be realistic. Once you start using any product you are pretty married to it. You can save your metadata to your original files and those should move between products with relative ease. Any image editing adjustments you make are always product specific. You cannot migrate Adobe or CaptureOne or Picassa or Aperture or any other product’s image adjustments to any other product. You have to redo them.

Given that you already have an investment in adjustments and metadata within iPhoto, Aperture will be your smoothest transition. With the latest version iPhoto and Aperture they can share the same library. Aperture will provide you an enormous set of tools not available in iPhoto, and you get to retain the work you already did in iPhoto.

Yes, iPhoto and Aperture are Apple specific products so you are stuck with OS X once you buy into that ecosystem. Lightroom can transition between Windows and OS X. That is a definite advantage for Lightroom. And Lightroom fully supports Adobe DNG file format that lets you write all your metadata AND all your adjustments to the DNG file. If you lose your Lightroom Catalog, and you have been judicious about writing all this back to the DNG files, then you can recreate your catalog with relative ease. You won’t have your Collections or Smart Collections, but the core and most important part of your database will remain intact via the data you write back to the DNG files. Good backups should mitigate that risk, regardless of where you land in product selection.

You have to decide whether you will remain on the Apple platform for the long haul. I have been an Apple-only user for six years now. I made the transition from Windows XP to OS X 10.5. I was a Photoshop user. I used iView MediaPro for cataloging. When Adobe came out with the DNG file format, I adopted it after reading Peter Krogh’s fabulous book The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers. When Lightroom 2 came out and was robust, I moved from iView MediaPro to Lightroom. I stayed with LR through LR4. In December 2011 I gave Aperture 3 a workout for an article comparing it to Lightroom 4. It impressed me so much that I moved from LR to Aperture. That was a very weighty decision. I already had 40,000+ images processed using the Adobe Camera Raw / Lightroom engine. All of those had to be completely reprocessed in Aperture 3.

While Aperture has some missing features that many of us really want (lens correction and better noise reduction, for example), it is an extremely powerful all-in-one tool. The cataloging in Aperture is far superior to Lightroom 5. With LR5 Adobe finally gave us a real clone/heal brush versus a spot tool. Aperture already had this for a very long time so Adobe was playing catchup. And LR5’s implementation still is not on par with the Aperture implementation, in my humble opinion. Aperture also has far superior book and slideshow capabilities. In the Apple ecosystem all of their tools integrate nicely. Adobe Lightroom is a standalone product that does not integrate as well, for example, with an iTunes Library for adding music to your slideshows.

I think Aperture is a very competitive tool with the Adobe brand and any other brand on the market today. Each product has it’s advantages over the competitors. You have to decide for yourself what is the right investment. Do you get a lightweight Mac for your husband that also completely separates his business from your photography and provides a mobile platform for traveling? Or do you appeal to his familiarity with the Windows platform?

If your husband remains on Windows, you will still have to export your images to a file format he can read so that he gets the “fully baked” adjusted product unless you purchase Lightroom for Windows and for Mac so that he can share your Catalog. Any adjustments you make inside a product won’t be visible to him unless he gets a backed copy or has the same product on his Windows computer. If you get him a lightweight Mac, you can invest $80 in Aperture and use it across all your Apple OS X systems.

John Shiever's picture
by John Shiever
October 10, 2013 - 4:13am

I believe that Steve B. has hit upon the biggest anxiety about Aperture 4 … What if? What if aperture goes away (sorry Joseph) or morphs into a tool aimed mainly for the family photo and not for enthusiasts or professionals. What would be the transition for most of us to what? Let us hope that Apple will WOW us with an Aperture 4 that checks the boxes of the various wishlists.


Thomas Emmerich's picture
by Thomas Emmerich
October 10, 2013 - 4:46am


I wrote an answer a couple of days ago and the confounded security at work prevents me from posting on So here’s try number two from home.

I have a possible solution for you if all you want is your husband to have access to any photo on your Mac. In requires signing up for a cloud photo service so if you have a slow upload speed it might not be a good solution. But if your upload speed is adequate, it is easy as pie.

I’m currently using a service called The service stores any photo from your Mac, Windows, iOS and Android phones. You install the Everpix SW on your Mac (and smartphone) and tell it which photos you want online. For example you can pic your Aperture library, your Picture folder or any folder. You can even give it your Facebook account info and it will backup/store all your Facebook photos. It basically takes all your photos from multiple sources and it keeps it all in one place.

To access the photos you just sign into your account at using a web browser and you can see and download any photo from any computer/smartphone with internet access. They’re all sorted by date. After you sync up your photos your husband can log in and download any photo he wants.

Your husband can also install the Everpix SW on his PC and sync any of his photos to the same account. And if he edits any of the photos he downloaded, they can sync back up for you to download.

You can also share photos from and send a link to friends/family to view. It will even let you share any photo back to Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Sounds too good to be true. There are limitations. The free Everpix account is not space or photo quantity limited but rather time limited. You automatically get a backup of the last 12 months worth of photos. And if you use the iOS or Android apps and share photos with someone they add on more and more older photos. I’m currently up to 36 months worth of photos in a free account. You get unlimited photos if you opt for a paid account ($50/yr).

It doesn’t upload RAW photos. If you shoot RAW you need to enable the JPEG previews in Aperture. They are enabled by default but some people choose to disable them to save space. And therein lies the rub. The usual setting for preview size with Aperture is something smaller than the original. Everpix recommends you change the preview size in Aperture to Original Size. This will increase the size of your Aperture library. It all depends on what size you want to share with your husband.

If you’re not sure whether it will work for you, give it a try and see. The free account is more than capable of showing you want it can do.

There’s another option as well that I just heard about on the last Macbreak Weekly podcast. Serenity Caldwell from Macworld recommended which is a similar service to Everpix. It is new and they also advertise they support RAW files. I haven’t tried it so I don’t have much info. Check it out if you’re interested. This service seems more geared to professionals and their pricing reflects it. It costs more than Everpix. If anyone reading this forum is using Loom, how about giving us a little feedback.


smccarthy's picture
by smccarthy
April 1, 2015 - 2:14am

I know these posts were a while ago but i have now received my email from Apple & Aperture is no longer……… I regret ever changing to it! I love what i have learnt & the editing it can do with my very limited self taught experience as a working mum of 2 young children & a travelling husband, but it has caused me more problems than I have time to figure out! 

I currently have a situation where my sister in laws house has burnt down and everything in it. I have photos from every easter, Xmas, birthdays and they are all in specific folders or projects. I would like to copy these folders to a usb so she has some kind of organised chaos of 10 years of photos to go through, but aperture will not allow it.

I have rung apple & they are about as useless as a wet blanket & don’t want to know about it. I need to sort this out. I’m in a position where I’ve had enough of these problems and I just want to switch back to a system that allows me to share my photos with whoever however, only 5% of people i know if that have Mac products for their photos! But i do not want to lose all my work & don’t have time to redo it. I mainly made the change as this house has iPhones, iPads, iPods etc & i love how they interact. But Aperture has let me down big time.

Any suggestions, I’m at a point where i just to hire a professional to come in & do something so I don’t screw anything up. Im totally lost with what to do!

gilescooperuk's picture
by gilescooperuk
April 8, 2015 - 1:00pm

This should be very easy.

Open Aperture and locate the first project you want to export.

Select all images in the project, right click and choose export.

Choose a suitable folder (if it does’t exist - create it).

Export images.

Repeat for each project / album as required.


Hope this helps.

John Crowley's picture
by John Crowley
May 20, 2015 - 10:30am

I too need to be able to “share’ photos with a PC user.  And the export image seems like a good idea.  Does anyone know if keywords are exported at the same time and if there are any PC products that might be able to read the keywords and be able to sort or select by them?





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