Is there any way to set Apple Aperture to always keep all files stored in an external location, without having to go through the extra step of manually moving files to the location beforehand myself and then explicitly directing Aperture to only reference the files?

I'm not sure there's really such a thing as a "managed library" and a "referenced library", more like "managed images" and "referenced images". This is unfortunate because I want to

  • always be sure that the library is at its smallest size and
  • always know that the external folder has all my photos.

For example, not command-dragging files to Aperture, but just having it know to always import by reference. And furthermore, any photos added should be moved automatically to the predefined library location, for example an external hard drive and folders organized by date.

As another example, consider Photostream: I would like Photostream images to always be downloaded into a pre-defined referenced folder as described. I haven't tested this - where are Photostream photos store in a "referenced" library? I am assuming always within the library as "managed" images.

Basically, I just want Aperture to keep all its image files in an external location but manage them as if they were inside the library bundle.


1 Answer 1


Emiel's answer on this question explains how Aperture stores modified versions of images. Since the biggest concern is the large original images there are two things that might help.

First, when importing you can tell Aperture to store images in the Library, in the photo's current location, or in a specific location. Perhaps that would help for new additions.

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For existing photos already in the monolithic library bundle, perhaps the "Relocate Original" command would be of assistance? You could move the original images to a new location, but keep the reference within Aperture.

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