Tuesday, April 30, 2019

End of the Line for Aperture

Apple (via Joe Rossignol, tweet):

In June 2014, Apple announced the discontinuation of development of Aperture. Since that time, Apple has released five major macOS updates. For technical reasons, Aperture will not run in future versions of macOS after macOS Mojave. To continue working with your Aperture photo libraries, you must migrate them to the Photos app included with macOS, or migrate them to Adobe Lightroom Classic.

Frankly, I’m surprised that Apple maintained support for this long. They recommend using Lightroom’s built-in migrator. But, unless things have changed since I investigated it, Aperture Exporter is a much better option.

What has surprised me is the level of progress with Photos. I didn’t expect it to come close to matching Aperture, but I still find it more clunky and less featured than iPhoto (though, obviously, it does some things iPhoto couldn’t). Still, if you can live with Photos, it does have the advantage of not forcing you to choose between discarding and baking in your Aperture edits.

Jeff Carlson:

I’ve written extensively about this transition since Aperture was shuttered in June 2014. The good news is that there are lots of options now for managing and editing your photo libraries, not just Apple’s Photos app. Luminar, Picktorial, Exposure X4, On1 Photo… In fact, the newest version of Picktorial adds the ability to open Aperture libraries directly, without any type of conversion.

If you want specific step-by-step instructions, pick up a copy of my book Take Control of Your Digital Photos. My book walks you through the steps that will preserve your edited versions, along with ratings and other metadata that can get stripped during the migration process.

Clark Goble:

Lack of an Aperture like app that uses the Photos iCloud backend remains an inexplicable failure by Apple. Lots of people want to use Photos but hate the limited UI & features of the app on Mac.

This is one reason I’m skeptical about the iTunes breakup. Sure, it sounds great to have a powerful backend provided by Apple. The first-party app can be basic, third parties can add more features and options and pro interfaces, and it all interoperates and syncs because of the shared backend. But the reality is that the backend is going to be designed and tested for the cases that Apple is itself using. Trying to build on that would be both limiting and risky. Even in seemingly simpler domain like calendars, apps like Fantastical end up talking to the server themselves, rather than relying on the API for Apple’s backend.


Update (2019-05-01): Nilay Patel:

I’m all in on Lightroom now but Aperture was my first love, and it’s so weird that Apple sells so many cameras with such lame software to support them

The iOS / Mac photo experience is a prime example of how lock-in at scale insulates meh products from competition — Photos is “successful” because millions of people use it by default, not because it’s good or even at parity with the competition

My father just e-mailed to ask how to copy from Photos to a USB stick. With iPhoto, he could always just drag and drop, but Photos has a longstanding issue with promised file drags and so sometimes when you drag and drop nothing happens.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

The hope is that as Apple focuses more on services that they'll try and do good backend APIs. The reality, as you note, is that Apple's APIs for services are at best a mixed bag when they exist at all.

While I wish Aperture returned, I should note that there are plugins that can somewhat work with Photos. While I've not used it a few people mention Luminar for instance. However you miss some of Aperture's great features like versioning.

You know, even on Windows, not really using much in the way of Microsoft apps. Some basic tools I suppose. Minecraft too. On Mac OS, I was the same way, every time I tried to embrace Apple specific apps, they were either abandoned or development would lag far behind the competition, so I started mostly using third party solutions. TextEdit and Preview were dear friends for years, but not much else.

Here's a suggestion for everyone, don't standardize on platform creator apps, I know, I know, this seems backwards, but often times it just breeds complacency.

On Android:
I probably use more Google apps on Android than anything else, but that's partly based on already embracing Google services before I was an Android user. Even on Android, I mix in other apps. Firefox and Brave replace Chrome, FbReader replaces Google Books, Amazon Music is used far more often than Google Music (although I started using Google Music more because the podcasts were zero rated on my old data plan). Firefox Notes instead of Google Keep. Etc.


The real problem with Aperture's demise has nothing to do with image editing. As others have pointed out, there are many alternative products that can do the job as well or better. The real issue is that competing Digital Asset Managers are nowhere near as good and don't work with iCloud Photo Library. Adobe's Lightroom is arguably a much better image editor, albeit with an ugly, bloated, non-native interface. But Lightroom requires you to subscribe to Adobe's competing cloud service, which is overpriced (price recently doubled) and an abomination for anyone who appreciates quality Mac software.

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