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Some Tips For The Big Upgrade

PhotoJoseph's picture
February 11, 2010 - 6:11pm

There have been reports of a few concerns with the upgrade process on this site, and while I may eventually get to respond to them individually, for the moment I wanted to share a very useful link on and some general tips on making this update as painless as possible.

First and foremost—make no mistake, this is a HUGE upgrade to your library. A lot has to happen for the library to be completely “version 3” ready. The library structure itself has changed, which is what allows you to do things like switch between libraries without relaunching. There’s a new RAW engine, so the images have to be re-processed by that (that can happen later though) before the new features like Curves and Brushes are available. The images all have to be processed for Faces (again, this can be deferred) and that in itself is incredibly labor intensive. The master files must be polled for EXIF data to look for GPS info, but that is pretty quick.

There’s an invaluable article on that you should read before upgrading if you have a large library—detailed explanations of what I’ve just stated above in there, clear as a bell.

Aperture 3: Tips on upgrading an Aperture 2 library to Aperture 3

Finally, here’s an unlisted tip that could help you along your way. Consider creating a new library first, to start working with today. Update your master library and let it run overnight, then pause it and switch to your new library when you need to work on new photos. Whenever you’re not using the computer, switch back to the old library and let it continue updating. Once the update is complete, go ahead and merge the new library with the old one. This should allow you minimal interruptions, at least for your new projects. A 100,000+ image library can take several days to upgrade. Again, there’s a LOT going on, so have patience and let Aperture do it’s magic.

Also, the spinning beachball is not necessarily the enemy. Yes I know the Finder will report Aperture as “not responding”, and yes I know this can be stressful, but more often than not if you just leave it be, it’ll recover. It’s not actually stuck… it’s just busy. I know this is not ideal and yes it could mean that it actually has crashed and you’re not aware of it, but in this case, patience can pay off.

Finally, a reader with some upgrade issues appears to have found many of these solutions on his own; read his entry in the forum to see how his progress went.

Good luck! By all means, report your issues (good or bad) here and in the forums. Thanks!

Apple Aperture

Hi there Joseph
I guess I’m the guy who has posted issues and solutions. The one thing I would say, is that if you have a big library
I followed the Apple document to the letter - 3 times, and in each case the computer became unusable and gave up an error message with respect to application space. I know I don’t have the killer machine - (17” unibody MBP with 4gb RAM 200gb free space), but it should work and doesn’t.

Renaming your old library, or moving it elsewhere and importing from it was a much safer and smoother option (well, at least, it did work!).

I’m up and running now - but if I want to work in my library I stop the upgrading process (down to 50,000 out of 85,000 processes now) Then I reboot the computer - can’t stress this enough, lots of breaks and reboots really do help.

Quite agree with you about the ‘Aperture is not Responding’ message - it’s not usually terminal (a quick look in the Apple activity monitor will tell you).

Finally - the Window / Activity option in Aperture is invaluable - you can see what’s going on, and pause it when you want to do some work!

all the best

All the best
Jonathan Slack (

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