We all know that Apple Aperture is almost dead. We don't know how Photos will be a replacement solution.

In between, I would like to start working with the Adobe solution and I would like to work on my current projects (started in Aperture) in Lightroom.

There is a lot of resources about the metadata migration and even this great article which goes in details.

My issue regarding the photo adjustments. Is there any way to export the Apple Aperture's photo adjustments I made in something similar to an XMP file? This way we can imagine develop a converter/script who can migrate the common settings between this two applications.

As far as I know, in Apple Aperture the photo adjustments are saved in a catalogue and you cannot export it alone. Is there anybody who had already make the moves to Lightroom from Apple Aperture? Is the converter/script idea realistic ?

Yesterday (16.10.14), Adobe publish an importer tool. It does not import the settings and it is available only for Creative Cloud users so it is not the solution.

On the 19 november 14, Adobe release LR 5.7 and it have a built-in importer for Aperture. It's the same tools as they provided as a plug-in on the 16 october 2014. The photo adjustement are not imported.

  • Are your images JPG or raw?
    – Joanne C
    Jul 1, 2014 at 13:37
  • My images are in RAW.
    – Duc
    Jul 1, 2014 at 13:39
  • 1
    I feel that making "available only for Creative Cloud users" count as a problem is going to be unproductive in the long run - like it or not, Creative Cloud is the future of Adobe products and if you're going to buy into their solution long-term, you're going to need to buy into Creative Cloud.
    – Philip Kendall
    Oct 17, 2014 at 12:20
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    according to the adobe blog, the import in 5.7 is just the previously available tool, now integrated.
    – ths
    Nov 19, 2014 at 15:28

4 Answers 4


In June 2014, TechCrunch reported that Adobe are "committed to helping interested iPhoto and Aperture customers migrate to our rich solution". ArsTechnica, quoting TechCrunch, have a slightly different spin on the situation, saying that Apple's developers are "working with Adobe to work on a transitionary workflow for users moving to Lightroom".

Presumably as part of this work, Adobe released their Aperture Importer in October 2014. While this notes that "adjustments to photos made in Aperture and iPhoto can not be read into Lightroom", I suspect if Apple and Adobe working together on a project can't do it, there isn't likely to be a solution available in the near future.

  • Hi Philip, Great URL's thanks. I think I must wait before starting to work on this converter or script. It's moving on my Adobe side. So my idea seems realistic in the end, but I need access to the photo adjustments catalogue.
    – Duc
    Jul 1, 2014 at 11:13
  • Please vote up and/or accept answers which you find useful (but don't vote this answer up because I posted this - vote it up if you actually find it useful).
    – Philip Kendall
    Jul 1, 2014 at 12:35
  • 1
    I know how this site works. Your answer is good, I find it useful. But I hope to have a more useful answer with an in deep technical approach about the photo adjustments export/import or someone who can point some already made script/tool.
    – Duc
    Jul 1, 2014 at 13:19
  • Just wanted to let you know Duc I fully support your position as the real question is, how can I migrate over files preserving the ability to keep non-destructive adjustments? Until something actually arrives that does this there is no real answer, just possibilities. Jul 3, 2014 at 4:24

Why would you move existing projects over? If you're thinking of moving to Lightroom you could start new projects there... but why not keep your existing Aperture projects for the moment. That way, when Adobe release a solution for migrating across you have less work to do. Or you can just migrate to Photos if that proves to be suitable for your needs.


So, while I have a Mac, I've never specifically used Aperture. Nevertheless, the way I would attempt to solve this would be to export the version (not the original) to 16 bit TIFF and then import the TIFF and the original RAW into Lightroom. You might need a fair bit of disk for this...

I assume you already know how to do this, but for others, see this MacWorld article on image export.

Lightroom quite happily edits TIFF files and with 16 bit versions you will not lose a lot of latitude vs the RAW image, but you'll also have the RAW shot to restart if you feel it is necessary. There is no one-to-one mapping of Aperture controls to Lightroom, so further edits would be in line with what Lightroom does and there's no real path back to the original state found in the RAW image, hence the dual import.

  • 2
    There is not a 1:1 mapping for every control - but a mapping that even just handled a close approximation for rotation/cropping/exposure would be incredibly useful and handle many people's images. Jul 3, 2014 at 1:06
  • @KendallHelmstetterGelner - Once in a standard format, such as TIFF (or DNG if Apple provided that) then it would be fine. The sliders translate to adjustments that would understandable when it was said and done. In any event, without a tool from Apple or Adobe, TIFF seems to be the best "right now" option.
    – Joanne C
    Jul 3, 2014 at 1:09
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    I disagree, the best "right now" option is to continue to use Aperture for what you already have in there, and possibly use Lightroom for new projects. Going to the work to convert over TIFF files when there is the possibility of later instead importing files with non-destructive adjustments is far more appealing and I think a better use of time. Jul 3, 2014 at 4:23
  • @KendallHelmstetterGelner - Presuming it actually happens... Reminds me of my days using Pentax when we all assumed that full frame was coming real soon now and never did. His choice, of course, but if we wants to get on LR now, then I don't really see much of another way.
    – Joanne C
    Jul 3, 2014 at 10:26

What I used to migrate my 120K+ library over to Lightroom was a new tool called Aperture Exporter. In addition to preserving the metadata, it has features to automatically generate JPEGs and TIFFs for adjusted photos so that your final outputs are retained. It also embeds "album" keywords into the metadata so that you can create Lightroom collections to mirror Aperture albums.


  • 1
    Sounds like it doesn't make any attempt at mapping any photo adjustments from one RAW converter to the next, though, correct?
    – mattdm
    Jul 31, 2014 at 13:59
  • @mattdm, You're right. This tool seems to be only a batch/program which doing what Adobe describe here. For the moment, I did not find any solution which take in consideration the photo adjustments. I still haven't found what I'm looking for (like the U2 song [-: ).
    – Duc
    Aug 18, 2014 at 13:12

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