Apple’s Aperture Won’t Run in Catalina and Future Versions of macOS

February 27

16 min. to read

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The popular image organizer and editor will no longer run in macOS Catalina and future versions of Apple’s desktop operating system. Here’s what you can do to keep working with Aperture and what replacements you can use.

Apple discontinued the development of Aperture in 2014. But since then, all new versions of macOS have been able to run it. As a result, Aperture fans weren’t too affected. They could still work with their favorite image organizer and editor even if it didn’t get any new features. But Apple recently announced that Aperture won’t run in versions of macOS after Mojave, including in the latest version, macOS Catalina.

The reason for Apple’s decision is simple. Aperture is a 32-bit application, and starting with macOS Catalina, 32-bit applications will no longer be supported. This means that all old 32-bit apps will have to be replaced or updated to 64-bit versions. Apple has already launched a replacement for Aperture in the form of the more complex and smarter Apple Photos.

Nevertheless, you may be a conservative user or just not want to invest in new software and hardware. Maybe you don’t want to lose your Aperture libraries or you aren’t sure other photo editors will provide the same functionalities as Aperture. What choices do you have?

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Why Aperture Software is so important to its users

After almost 15 years of existence, Aperture has many fans. It was Apple’s dedicated image editor and organizer, and people got used to it. For many people who have a Mac, Aperture is a trusty help for organizing family photos by faces, places, and keywords. It provides different methods for grouping pictures and versions, allowing you to work with multiple copies of the same image. It lets you zoom up to 1600%, and zoom and pan functionalities can be used for multiple images at the same time. 

It also provides image adjustment tools for skin smoothing, sharpening, spot removal, color retouching, and lens correction. Nikon and Canon users benefit from tethered shooting, and all users can import images from USB, memory cards, and cameras connected via USB.

Apple’s Aperture was designed for the general public and offers sharing and printing functionalities, web galleries and tools for creating blogs, support for many file formats, and appealing viewing tools. It’s easy to use and friendly. Aperture supports RAW file formats, provides non-destructive editing, and reads and writes IPTC image metadata. It offers almost everything you need. And after using it for more than a decade, it’s only natural that people don’t want to make a change.

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How you can still use Apple’s Aperture Software 

Unfortunately, there’s only one way to continue using Aperture: stop updating your Mac. Aperture can run on your computer if you don’t update your system beyond macOS Mojave.

This can be a good choice if your computer doesn’t support a 64-bit operating system and you have to keep all your software at the 32-bit level. Otherwise, not upgrading will only shield you from technological improvements. 64-bit operating systems run faster and can access more memory. Besides, Aperture isn’t the only 32-bit software that’s no longer being developed. Sooner or later, you’ll have to update your browser, text editor, and other applications.

So limiting your system to macOS Mojave can work for a while, but not forever. But it can give you time to get used to new photo editors while still having Aperture installed and taking time to migrate your libraries.

Best replacements for Aperture

If you choose to move on, there are good options for replacing Aperture for Mac. Smart and easy-to-use photo editors provide image management tools and all you need to retouch your photos. And the good news is that you don’t have to invest in expensive and complicated software like Adobe Photoshop. You can choose an affordable editor that you can learn how to work with in a few hours.

Aperture is a combination of a management app and a photo editor. It was developed by Apple, so there weren’t any compatibility problems. To replace it, look for software that works well on Mac and that provides digital asset management and powerful editing tools. Don’t forget about compatibility with your camera and lens, a fluid workflow, and a straightforward learning process.

Here are the best options to replace Aperture.

1. Apple Photos

When Apple announced Aperture’s retirement in 2014, it also announced the app that would take its place: Photos. This is a photo management and editing application available for Mac computers, iPads, and iPhones. Apple Photos was intended to provide all the functionalities of Aperture and iPhoto in an easier-to-use form.

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To make the transition easier, Apple offers a way to migrate your libraries from Aperture to Photos. This allows you to keep albums and metadata and preserve the management style you had in Aperture. The possibility to migrate your libraries ensures continuity and makes users trust the new app.

But is Photos as good as Aperture? In terms of its capabilities as an image organizer, the answer is yes. Photos has intelligent features that save you time and energy. It organizes your photos by date and events, allows you to rate photos, and provides intuitive search and viewing options. While it can store any type of image, it hides duplicates, screenshots, and receipts by default and displays only the best shots. This makes image management easier and declutters the interface.

Using artificial intelligence (AI), Photos can detect people, animals, trips, and events and present them in separate collections. It can even suggest the best shots and your most shareable pictures. You can search for images by things that appear in them and combine keywords for more detailed searches. In terms of image management, it doesn’t miss a thing. 

Photos gives you access to your pictures from all your Apple devices. For example, you can edit a photo on your MacBook and share it from your iPhone. It also offers privacy and security and makes sure all your pictures and personal data are safe.

In terms of image editing functionalities, Photos is more oriented to automatic tools. It provides automatic image enhancements that adjust contrast, exposure, and brightness based on image content. It also offers many filters and effects to create artistic images as well as styles such as Vivid, Dramatic, and Vignette.

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Still, it offers manual controls and professional tools too. Photos supports RAW file formats and provides controls for fine-tuning lighting and color, creating and editing black and white images, fixing white balance, and reducing noise. You can use it to rotate and crop images, edit curves and levels, and adjust a specific color. All edits are non-destructive. And if Photos’ editing capabilities are not enough, you can export an image and edit it with a third-party app or extension.

In addition to its image editing functionalities, Photos allows you to add music and text and create videos. Then you can edit those videos by applying effects, rotating and cropping, and using the automatic enhancing tool.

Apple Photos is faster and more efficient than Aperture. It lacks some of the professional editing tools of Aperture, such as lens correction, but overall it’s a modern and neat replacement for Aperture.

2. Luminar

Luminar is a photo editor developed by Skylum that can successfully replace Aperture for Mac. It’s available as standalone software for Mac and as an extension for Apple Photos. The newest version of Luminar costs only €79 during the pre-sale.

Like Apple’s Aperture, Luminar is both an image organizer and a photo editor. Luminar’s digital asset management software provides quick access to libraries, search functionalities, preview panels, and smart image organizing tools. It classifies images by date, quick edits, favorites, and recent activity, allows you to edit metadata and view detailed image information, and provides fast rating methods based on stars, tags, and color labels.

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Luminar is a dedicated photo editor, and naturally it supports batch processing. You can copy adjustments from one image to another or apply the same set of adjustments to multiple images at the same time. You can also share photos directly from Luminar, create and manage albums, and prepare pictures for printing. Every change you make is reversible and automatically saved.

In terms of photo editing, Luminar offers everything from basic to professional functionalities, satisfying beginners and advanced users. You can choose from more than 70 filters for image retouching and enhancement, mix them to create unique effects, and save your custom set of adjustments. Luminar also provides AI-based filters that automatically adjust an image based on its content. These filters can detect people and objects and decide on the best set of adjustments for portraits and other types of images.

If you prefer manual controls, you can choose between several workflow panels that display basic or advanced controls. You can then fine-tune the adjustments suggested by the filters or begin editing from scratch. Adjustments are reversible, and you can walk through your entire editing history.

Luminar also works with layers and masks. You can apply filters to separate layers and blend them using different blending modes and transparency levels. This allows for endless combinations and creative results. It also allows for advanced image manipulation techniques like sky replacement and object removal.

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Designed with photographers in mind, Luminar offers signature Looks, or presets developed by professional photographers to achieve a specific style. Luminar includes more than 80 built-in Looks categorized by photography style: portrait, landscape, aerial, black and white, etc. You can choose from a wide range of styles, from basic black and white conversions to dramatic effects and fantasy moods, golden hour colors, and vintage finishes. Moreover, you can download Looks from the Luminar Marketplace and create your own unique Looks.

Luminar allows you to open and edit multiple images at the same time and export them in various formats. You can compare edited and original versions of your images at any time and undo your edits. The workflow is straightforward and intuitive.

Luminar is a great addition to Apple Photos, which works on all Apple devices and has lots of sharing capabilities but less image editing functionality. Luminar provides creative tools for all levels of expertise and artistic visions.

The legacy of Aperture Software

Apple’s Aperture leaves an important legacy behind for future image editors. It introduced a new concept of photo editors that combine an efficient image organizer with a professional photo editor. Aperture understood the need for organizing large amounts of pictures and provided filters, search features, and preview tools designed specifically for images. It wasn’t just another photo editor; it was the only photo editor you needed.

Photo editors like Apple Photos and Luminar are searching for new ways to make image management and editing easier. AI-based functionalities provide automatic image sorting, searching, and enhancements. You can find filters and presets for every type of photography. Cloud storage services offer access to images from different devices, and sharing has never been easier. Modern photo editors provide printing settings and integration with printing services too. All you have to do is keep up with the technological changes and keep your software and hardware updated.

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