Aperture 3: Number of Aperture items seem to vary when sharing with the Media Browser

Previews from your Aperture library can be shared with other applications, like iMovie, Pages and GarageBand by using the Media Browser. Sometimes, the number of items displayed in your Aperture library may be different than the number shown in other applications. There also may be some differences in item count between some of the other applications.

This article explains how items are counted. There are several factors that determine the number of items shown within Aperture, as well as how many of the items will show up in the Media Browser in other applications.

Factors that influence the item count display in Aperture

To see how many items there are in your Aperture library, select Photos in the Library section on the left side of the Aperture window.

Assuming the View Mode is set to Split View, the number of items is displayed just above the Browser.

(6902 items displayed)

Opened or closed stacks in your library influence the item count. This is important since in most cases other applications show only the pick image from each stack. Here is the item count for the same library, after all stacks have been closed (Stacks > Close All Stacks):

(5641 items displayed)

Any filters you have set also influence the item count. By default, the filter is set to show Unrated or Better. This filters out any images you have rated as Reject. If you set the filter to Show All, rejected images (if any) are added to the item count, increasing it. This is important, because rejects are not shared with other applications.

(5666 items displayed)

Summary: Follow these steps to set Aperture to show you an item count that corresponds with what you would expect to see in other applications:

  1. Choose Photos under Library on the left side of Aperture.
  2. Close all stacks.
  3. Set the View filter to show Unrated or better (not Reject).

Factors that influence the item count from Aperture in other applications

There are three conditions that must be met for an Aperture photo to be available in the Media Browser of another application:

  • There must be a preview for it in the Aperture library.
  • It must not be rejected in Aperture.
  • If it is part of a stack, it must be the pick image.

The single most important factor influencing item count in other applications is the state of previews in your Aperture library. Any photos for which there is no preview will not show up elsewhere. If you are using the default preferences for the Previews sheet in Aperture > Preferences, then everything will work as expected. Particularly, the checkbox for "New projects automatically generate previews" should be checked and the "Share previews with iLife and iWork" drop-down menu should be set to anything except "Never."

To insure you have previews for all existing photos in your library:

  1. Highlight the Projects item under Library on the left side of Aperture.
  2. Choose Photos > Update Previews for Library. Aperture will generate previews for any photos that need them. This may take a while, depending on how many previews are to be generated.

You may notice a discrepancy in available items between different iLife and iWork applications. This is expected, because some of them show videos from your Aperture library, and some don't.

The following applications show all items from Aperture:

  • Pages
  • Keynote
  • Numbers
  • GarageBand


The following show photos but may not show videos or audio files:

  • iMovie (videos from Aperture are accessible from the Event Library, but not from the Media Browser. Audio files are accessible from the Audio tab in the Media Browser).
  • iPhoto (via the File > Show Aperture Library) shows photos and videos, but not audio files.

iMovie and iPhoto may show a smaller number of available items, if there are videos or audio files in your Aperture library.


iTunes allows you to share photos and videos from your Aperture library with Apple devices. Unlike the other applications already discussed, iTunes shows all images in stacks, so the Share number shown when you choose Advanced > Choose Photos to Share may be may be higher if you have any stacked images in your Aperture library.

As with the other applications, iPhoto shows non-reject images for which there are previews. Videos are included in the item count.  iTunes does not share audio from Aperture with devices, and audio files from the Aperture library do not show in the Sharing Preferences item count.

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