Skip to content
Thoughtful, detailed coverage of everything Apple for 34 years
and the TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals

PowerPhotos Enables Ventura Users to Migrate iPhoto and Aperture Libraries

Fat Cat Software’s PowerPhotos has long held a spot on my recommendation list, as did its predecessor, iPhoto Library Manager. Both apps can make changes directly within the wacky packages that Apple built for the Photos and iPhoto libraries. They also added features beyond what Apple provides, particularly in letting you merge libraries and export subsets of libraries without losing metadata or editing history.

Fat Cat has upped the ante again with PowerPhotos 2.3, offering a lifeline to users missing support for iPhoto and Aperture migration into Photos in macOS 13 Ventura. Apple dropped that capability from Ventura, assuming rightly that most people have already made the transition in the 8 years since Photos replaced both iPhoto and Aperture. But there could still be hundreds of thousands of people who never got around to it, or who suddenly find a library on an old backup or Mac. Before the release of PowerPhotos 2.3, the only option for Ventura users was to import just the photos stored in iPhoto or Aperture libraries, losing albums, stored edit history, and metadata in the process. That’s better than nothing, of course, but less than ideal.

PowerPhotos developer Brian Webster has made this lifeline broadly available by including library browsing and conversion to a new, standalone Photos library among the features offered with the free version of PowerPhotos. For many people, conversion might be enough. If you want to carry out any more complicated operations—copying, exporting, merging, and so forth—you’ll need a paid license.

You can read more details about how PowerPhotos converts iPhoto and Aperture libraries, plus see a detailed chart of how it differs from Apple’s earlier Photos migration capabilities. The main limitations are that PowerPhotos converts smart albums to regular albums, can’t preserve face data, and requires more disk space to make new copies of the migrated photos. On the plus side, it supports all iPhoto library versions, allows copying of individual photos and albums, and can merge a migrated library into an existing one.

PowerPhotos costs $29.95 for one user on up to two Macs and includes a copy of iPhoto Library Manager for those with Macs old enough that iPhoto and Aperture still work. The free version can be used on any number of Macs.

I’ve been a huge fan of PowerPhotos for all the things it does that Photos lacks, including advanced search, advanced deduplication (a more modest form appeared in the most recent crop of Apple’s operating systems: iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and Ventura), much more extensive export options, and copying images with all their Photos-related associated data intact. This conversion capability is just another feather in an already rather showy cap.

Subscribe today so you don’t miss any TidBITS articles!

Every week you’ll get tech tips, in-depth reviews, and insightful news analysis for discerning Apple users. For over 33 years, we’ve published professional, member-supported tech journalism that makes you smarter.

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA. The Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Comments About PowerPhotos Enables Ventura Users to Migrate iPhoto and Aperture Libraries

Notable Replies

  1. Ray

    For photographers, one of the best migration software I have used has been Avalanche

    Since I own PowerPhotos, I will have to try out their version.

  2. Great recommendation. I knew I needed something to improve my photo management and this turns out to be ideal, I downloaded the trial earlier today and registered it this evening.

  3. Aha thanks for the lead on PowerPhotos!

    I want to merge my dad’s Photos library with mine. I know I can do it with some trickery by opening the libraries under different iCloud IDs and syncing, etc. I know because I did that years back, dumping thousands of my photos into dad’s library by mistake when I enabled iCloud while configured under my iCloud ID on his Mac.

    But the process to do this is tricky, and I’d love an app to hopefully reliably do it for me. And I’ll be very glad for those thousands of dups to get tossed out!

  4. I have been using PowerPhotos for many years. It is great for managing Photos libraries such as making an archive Library to reduce the file size of the main library.
    Also good for moving photos between libraries and retaining albums.
    I used to use it for copying photos/albums from other Mac libraries but that doesn’t seem to work reliably with recent macOS.
    The ability to extract photos from old iPhoto and Aperture libraries is a bonus.

  5. In the past few years, PowerPhotos has been useful to me in merging images and videos into new libraries then merging those libraries into other libraries. PowerPhotos has a number of other useful features such as displaying items with Titles and sizes, which has been useful in cleaning up libraries full of large originals and small thumbnails.

    While not specific to PowerPhotos, I would suggest that others make sure that you work from macOS and APFS formatted disks, because otherwise you run the risk of crashes when working with Photos libraries. I have an NTFS driver under Ventura that works great usually, but the Apple Photos library system can cause crashes when working with other than macOS and APFS formatted disks. I have had a few other crashes in PowerPhotos unrelated to disk formatting, so I make a habit of working from copies in PowerPhotos.

    I have found that deleting items from a Photos library is faster in Photos in Ventura than PowerPhotos, so I will often use Photos for deletions, unless I want to see the file sizes when I am deleting items.

Join the discussion in the TidBITS Discourse forum


Avatar for ace Avatar for raykloss Avatar for dave1 Avatar for mpainesyd Avatar for anothersite Avatar for brianparker