To move your Aperture 3 library, just copy your photos to your external drive and then tell Aperture where to find them. Sounds simple enough, but how you go about moving your photos varies slightly depending on whether they’re all stored in one folder. When you installed Aperture, you either told it to import all your photos into one folder or to leave them in their original locations on your computer and reference them when needed. If you're using referenced photos, a few additional steps are required when moving the library to an external drive. Aperture 3 requires OS X Mavericks or later.
Connect your external hard drive to your computer using its included USB or Firewire cable and wait for your Mac to recognize its presence. In most cases, an icon appears on your desktop when a connection is established. If you don’t see this icon, press the "Finder" icon in the dock or select "New Finder Window" from the File menu while on the desktop to open a Finder window. Your external hard drive is listed on the left of the Finder screen under the Devices heading.
Click your home directory under the Favorites heading on the left side of the Finder window and then click the “Pictures” folder. The name of your home directory varies depending on your username. You can identify your home directory by the house icon located to the left of its name.
Click and drag the “Aperture Library” icon from your Pictures directory onto your external hard drive icon located under the Devices heading on the left of the Finder window. Alternatively, click your Aperture library icon and press “Command-C” on your Mac’s keyboard to copy the folder to your clipboard. Open your external hard drive, browse to the location where you want to store your Aperture library and press “Command-V” to paste the library into that location.
Wait for the photos to transfer onto the external hard drive. Depending on the speed of your hard drive and how many photos are stored in your Aperture library, this process can take several minutes.
Launch Aperture on your Mac while holding down the “Option” key on your keyboard. Holding down this key opens the "Which Library Do You Want Aperture To Use" prompt when Aperture launches. You use this prompt to tell Aperture where to find its library.
Click the “Other Library” button, browse to the Aperture library you copied onto your external hard drive, double-click it and then click the “Choose” button to set your Aperture library on your external hard drive as your default Aperture directory.
- Tutsplus: How to Move Your iTunes, iPhoto or Aperture Library to an External Drive
- Apple: Aperture 3 User Manual - Working With Library Files
- Apple: Aperture - Use Locally Mounted Mac OS X Extended Volumes for Your Aperture Library
- Apple: Format External Drives to Mac OS X Extended Before Using with Aperture
- Photo Credit mweichse/iStock/Getty Images
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