I used to work on Aperture in an old computer. Then, I got a new Retina MBP, and decided to just stick with iPhoto and test it out. Since now iPhoto could just natively open my old Aperture library, it was essentially no problem at all.

However, I am now trying to sync a brand new iPad with this Retina MBP, and can't do it. I get the error that my iTunes library cannot be found.

I'm assuming this happens because it's, technically speaking, an Aperture library, not an iPhoto library, so as far as iTunes is concerned, there is no iPhoto library. I also don't have Aperture installed on the new computer (and I'm not really planning on installing it), so I can't tell iTunes to sync with Aperture and its aperture library.

Is there a way around this? Converting the aperture library into an actual iPhoto library, maybe? Is there a way to tell iPhoto to turn this aperture library into an iPhoto one? Or to tell iTunes to sync using the aperture library, open in iPhoto?

3 Answers 3


There are many facets to your question and I will try to answer all of them.

  1. If the error you are getting is an iTunes library issue, then you should reboot itunes holding down the option key, and browse to the existing library file in /Users/username/Music/iTunes/ this reloads your proper library.

  2. iPhoto can open your aperture library, however it's usage of RAW files etc, it limited. this link has some more info about using Aperture library in iPhoto. http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5260

  3. As the file extension on the library should be .aplibrary you will need to choose aperture from the drop down under Photos in iTunes. iPhoto is only acting as a viewer for this library, and is not "holding" these files.

  4. You should be able to choose "import to library..." in iPhoto and choose the .aplibrary file and it will import these photos into an iPhoto library. However, in case you decide to begin using Aperture again, save the aplibrary file. Note: you may lose some, if not most of the edits made in Aperture.

Question: Why would you want to revert back to iPhoto? If you have a coveted aperture license, why not use it? On the Retina MBP this program works even better, and looks amazing.

  • I had never upgraded from iLife 08, so I just wanted to test the new version of iPhoto first for a while. I will probably end up going back to Aperture, of course (expensive licenses, better software, etc), but for now I was interested in testing out iPhoto. Points 1 and 2 are not really relevant. The issue doesn't lie with an iTunes library, but the fact technically there is no IPHOTO library to sync (it's an Aperture library) Since I don't have Aperture installed, I can't select Aperture from the drop down.
    – FPP
    Jan 4, 2013 at 16:33
  • I'm pretty sure I did #4, but I will try again. But I was under the impression that iPhoto wouldn't do any sort of conversion of pictures, or creation of a new iPhoto library, since it can now just natively open the Aperture library.
    – FPP
    Jan 4, 2013 at 16:34

In the latest version of iTunes (10.x or 11.x) you can tell it to sync with either iPhoto or Aperture.

  1. Go to iTunes
  2. Connect your iPad
  3. Select the "Photos" tab
  4. Select "Aperture" next to the "Sync Photos From" checkbox.
  5. Click Apply.
  • Can't do this because Aperture isn't installed.
    – FPP
    Jan 4, 2013 at 16:35

By the sounds of it, you just backed up your Aperture library and didn't actually migrate all its contents into iPhoto? If so, iTunes won't be able to sync those photos through iPhoto, because it only looks in your iPhoto library.

In short, properly import all your photos into iPhoto, and then iTunes will be able to see it. Unless your photos are actually in iPhoto's own library, it'll refuse to sync them, even if iPhoto itself is capable of opening files outside of its library.

  • So how can I "properly import" all photos into iPhoto? I only have the .aplibrary file that I got from the old computer running Aperture. Can I just work with this file?
    – FPP
    Jan 4, 2013 at 16:36
  • Part of Aperture 3.3 was a rebuilding of your .aplibrary so iPhoto could open it too. If you were on Aperture 3.3+ and you're currently on iPhoto 9.3+, you should be able to open the .aplibrary by launching iPhoto whilst holding Alt and pointing it to the .aplibrary file. Jan 15, 2013 at 15:04

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