Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

As a group (work, family,...), you produce an Aperture library on your computer.

Others (spouse, coworker...) in the group now want to access and edit this library from other computers.

Any solutions?

share|improve this question
Be wary of using such pejoratives with the anticipated audience here, especially when added to that fact that you are asking for help ;) Also, be mindful of understanding the principles of such wonderful sounding soundbites - the "lock-in" meme would only really be suitable if, once you have started using Aperture, you could not stop using Aperture. As it stands, it's merely a tool you can choose to use as a paid piece of software, and you are welcome to export and use your photos in the tool of your choice, sans lock-in, at any point. – stuffe May 3 '12 at 13:41
I have removed the lock-in comment as it is not key to my question. Lock-in here referred to all the work that went into managing my picture which I do not think I can recover even using iPhoto, let alone a not mack product. To avoid loosing this work (sorting, tagging, face recognition, non-destructive editing...), I have to continue using Aperture. Admittedly, this is opinion, so again I have removed the unnecessary comment. – Etienne Low-Décarie May 6 '12 at 21:55
Wohoo! iPhoto now opens Aperture libraries! I learned my lesson, whining is productive! – Etienne Low-Décarie Jun 18 '12 at 12:39
Thanks for the update, useful to know :) – stuffe Jun 18 '12 at 14:24
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Put the library file in a folder that is accessible to other computers and set permissions so that it can be accessed/edited by other users. You also need to be certain that only one person is editing the file at any given time – the software isn't designed as a shared database and I don't know what, if any, protections it provides against this scenario.

You can also use referenced images instead of managed and put those images in a shared space. However, other users will only have access to the master images and you will want to beware of external edits that are destructive to those master files. Changes to that file hierarchy itself (file moves, renames, etc) made outside of Aperture will result in broken links and you'll have to relocate the images from inside Aperture. . I prefer the simplicity, security and beauty of a managed library.

In what way is this lock-in? It's a simple case of access to a database file. Granted the file — a sparse bundle containing images, metadata and edit instructions in which your master images are stored in their original format — is proprietary to Aperture but the master files remain available should you lose Aperture for some reason.

screen shot of Contextual Menu option to Show Package Contents of Aperture Library

Accessing the files contained within the Aperture Library package using a right (control)-click

screen shot showing contents of Aperture Library package including master image

Inside the library bundle your master images are filed, hierarchically by import date, in their original format. They can be copied out as you wish.

I fail to see this as an example of Apple forcing the eco system on you. You are not forced to use Aperture if you don't like it's features and limitations and departure is a simple export (of versions and masters) or "unbundling" of the library file (masters only) away.

Beautiful indeed.

share|improve this answer
Good points, remember that Aperture is a personal photo management system that costs £50. It's not really intended to be usable as a professional solution for collaborative photo management with other users. Tools exist for export and even sync of select photos, but the Database file itself is designed for use by a single person at a time, running a local copy of the program, and there's nothing wrong with that. – stuffe May 3 '12 at 13:45
It is intended as a professional solution – iPhoto is the personal solution – but it isn't designed for collaboration or multi-users. – jaberg May 3 '12 at 13:47
I'd argue more "home enthusiast", their own description steers clear of using the word Professional other than to describe available themes and image effects. It describes it as "Designed for iPhoto users who want to get more from their photos" – stuffe May 3 '12 at 13:55
Originally sold for $500, then reduced to $199 prior to availability on App Store, and aimed squarely at professionals. I'd argue that the wording is aimed at expanding the market rather than fundemental changes to the software. – jaberg May 3 '12 at 13:59

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.