Get help with Aperture 3

If Aperture 3 isn't starting up properly or performing normally, try these basic steps to troubleshoot the situation.

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Please note that these steps aren't exhaustive and are not for any specific issue. These are fundamental and basic steps for getting Aperture into good working order, and are the steps most often suggested by AppleCare Technical Support.

Confirm requirements and versions

  1. Check system requirements. Make sure that you haven't overlooked any hardware aspect that's required to use Aperture. You can view the system requirements on the Aperture Technical Specifications page.
  2. Check for camera compatibility. Make sure that your camera's digital RAW format is supported. You can find a list of supported cameras on the Aperture RAW Cameras page. If you are not running the most recent version of OS X, then some cameras listed on the Aperture RAW Cameras page may not be supported. Check the following pages for a list of cameras supported on your version of OS X:
    OS X Mountain Lion: Supported digital camera RAW formats
    OS X Lion: Supported digital camera RAW formats
    Mac OS X v10.6: Supported digital camera RAW formats
  3. Update to the latest software versions. Choose Software Update from the Apple () menu to make sure that you have the most recent updates for your versions of  Mac OS X, Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Updates, and other important system files. Installing updates ensures that your software has the latest improvements and enhancements.
  4. Update to the latest version of Aperture. If you originally installed Aperture from a DVD, or upgraded a trial version with a serial number, choose Software Update from the Apple () menu and install any Aperture updates that may be offered. If you originally installed Aperture by purchasing it from the Mac App Store, then open the Mac App Store application to check for any available updates.

Back up your library

Before troubleshooting Aperture, it's a good idea to create a backup of your library if you don't already have one. You can use Time Machine, or create a Vault in Aperture to make your backup. Note that Time Machine does not fully back up the Aperture library when Aperture is running, so be sure to quit Aperture and allow Time Machine to perform a complete backup before proceeding. If you already use a Vault, be sure to update the Vault in Aperture before proceeding.

Use the Aperture Library First Aid tools

Press and hold the Option and Command keys as you start Aperture. The Aperture Library First Aid dialog will appear and offer the following three troubleshooting options:

  • Repair Permissions. Some issues in Aperture may be caused by incorrect permissions for items in the library. To correct the permissions for your library, select the option to Repair Permissions then click the Repair button. You must authenticate with a user name and password for a user account with administrative access to perform this operation.
  • Repair Database. Sometimes internal structures within the library may become damaged and cause unexpected behavior; you can use Repair Database to try to correct the issue. Select the option to Repair Database then click the Repair button.
  • Rebuild Database. For more severe issues that can't be corrected with Repair Permissions or Repair Database, you can try Rebuild Database. It is strongly recommended that you have a complete backup of your Aperture library before performing this operation, either in the form of a recently updated vault, or a Time Machine backup. Select the option to Rebuild Database then click the Rebuild button in the Aperture Library First Aid dialog.

Defer creating previews

If Aperture doesn't open, it might help to defer creating previews. Press the Shift key immediately after you start Aperture to prevent preview creation for that session. If a damaged image in your library is preventing normal opening, this may allow you to start Aperture.

Restore the library

Restore your library from a recently backed up vault or Time Machine backup.

Reset the user preferences

You can resolve many issues by restoring Aperture back to its original settings. This will not impact your image files or your library.

Before you begin

Before resetting user preferences, be sure to first review your Aperture preferences as they are currently configured and note any specific settings you've chosen. When resetting the Aperture preferences, your general, appearance, import, export, labels, previews, iCloud, accounts, and advanced preferences will be returned to default settings the next time you open Aperture. For example, the location and name of the last opened library will be reset. 

These articles are helpful for understanding the different preferences:

Additionally, if you've configured Aperture to use an external image editor, you will need to reconfigure Aperture after resetting the user preferences. You can find more information about external image editors in Aperture Help

Steps to reset preference settings

To reset your Aperture user preference settings to their original state, do the following:

  1. Quit Aperture.
  2. In the Finder choose "Go to folder" from the Go menu.
  3. Type ~/Library/Preferences in the "Go to the folder" field. Press the Go button.
  4. Remove the "" file from the Preferences folder.
  5. Restart your computer if you're using OS X Mavericks.

The locations of your Aperture libraries are stored in the preference file listed above. If you have stored your library outside the default location of  ~/Pictures/Aperture Library, make a note of where the library is before deleting the Aperture preferences file. If you have more than one library, you can bring up a dialog to choose which one to load by pressing Option immediately after you open Aperture.

Move the user created presets, keyword lists, and so on...

  1. Quit Aperture.
  2. In the Finder choose Go to folder from the Go menu.
  3. Type ~/Library/Application Support/Aperture in the "Go to the folder" field. Press the Go button.
  4. Move the contents of this folder to your Desktop
  5. Restart your computer if you're using OS X Mavericks.
  6. Start Aperture and see if the issue is resolved. Note: Permanently removing these files will delete presets, metadata sets, keyword sets, and so on. If moving these files to the Desktop does not resolve the issue, move them back to their original location to restore the presets, adjustment chain presets, and metadata sets. In no case will removing these files affect metadata, keywords, or adjustments already applied to images.

Reinstall Aperture

Another approach you might consider is reinstalling Aperture. 

If you originally installed Aperture from the Mac App Store

Note that you'll need OS X Mountain Lion v10.8 or later in order to reinstall Aperture via the Mac App Store.

  1. Open the Applications folder.
  2. Drag the Aperture application to the Trash.
  3. Empty the Trash.
  4. Open the Mac App Store.
  5. Click Purchases in the header.
  6. Log in with the Apple ID you used to purchase Aperture.
  7. Click the Install button to the right of Aperture in your purchase history.

If you originally installed Aperture from a DVD

To do this effectively, you need to remove and reinstall Aperture and then use Software Update to install additional updates. However, you don't have to remove everything that was installed with Aperture. Follow the steps below to completely reinstall a fresh copy of Aperture.

On Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard:

  1. Make sure that you have your installation discs.
  2. Open the Applications folder.
  3. Drag the Aperture application to the Trash.
  4. Insert your Aperture installation disc and install Aperture.
  5. When finished, choose Software Update from the Apple () menu to update your software to the latest version.

On Mac OS X v10.6. Snow Leopard or later:

  1. Make sure that you have your installation discs.
  2. Open the Applications folder.
  3. Drag the Aperture application to the Trash.
  4. Open the Utilities folder within the Applications folder.
  5. Open the Terminal application.
  6. Enter the following command (case-sensitive) and then press Return:
    sudo pkgutil --forget
  7. When prompted, enter your user password and press Return.
  8. Insert your Aperture disc and install Aperture.
  9. When finished, choose Software Update from the Apple () menu to update your software to the latest version.

For further information on settings or installation, refer to the Aperture documentation available on your installation discs.

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