Migrate photos from iPhotos or Aperture Library to Lightroom Classic

Migrate from iPhotos or Aperture Library

Starting with the May 2024 release of Lightroom Classic (13.3), Importing the Aperture or iPhoto library
into Lightroom Classic will work on macOS Monterey and later. When migrating the library, you might see a macOS dialog box if Python 3 isn't part of a developer tool. Select Install and try again after the installation is complete.

If the feature doesn’t work, the import button will remain disabled after selecting Aperture or iPhotos library. This issue might occur if Python 3 isn't installed in the system. In such a scenario, you'll need to install Python 3.

A pop-up to install the developer tools.
Select install to begin download

Here's how you can quickly migrate your photos from the Photos app or Aperture on macOS to Lightroom Classic.

  1. Back up your catalog, if you have an existing Lightroom Classic catalog.

  2. In Lightroom Classic on macOS, choose File > Plug-In Extras.

    Import Photos or Aperture Library
    Import Photos or Aperture Library

  3. Select either Import from Aperture Library or Import from iPhoto Library.


    If you want to migrate specific photos from your Aperture library to Lightroom Classic, export them to a new Aperture library and then migrate the new library.

  4. Your libraries are automatically detected.

    You have the option to select a different library, if applicable.  Your images will be copied to a new location. A default location is listed, however you can also choose a different folder.

    Click Options to see how Lightroom Classic works with available previews, keywords, color labels, and stacks.

  5. Click Import.

What gets migrated to Lightroom Classic?


  • Flags
  • Star Ratings
  • Keywords
  • GPS Data
  • Faces: Face naming tags are mapped to keywords
  • Rejects: Files designated as Rejects in Aperture are imported into Collections > From Aperture > Photos Rejected in Aperture
  • Info Panel metadata that can be entered in the Info panel (i.e. IPTC)
  • Hidden Files: Files designated as Hidden in Photos are imported into Collections > From iPhoto > Photos Hidden in iPhoto
  • Aperture Color Labels: Color Labels are mapped to keywords: Red, Orange, and so on, including support for custom label names 


  • Aperture Stacking: Stacks information is mapped to keywords: Aperture Stack 1, Aperture Stack 2, and so on
  • Aperture project/folder/album hierarchies are mapped as closely as possible into Lightroom Classic collection sets and collections
  • Photos events/folders/albums are mapped as closely as possible into Lightroom Classic collection sets and collections
  • Aperture Versions translate into Virtual Copies in Lightroom Classic (without adjustments)


  • You can choose to import full-size JPEG previews of your edited images from Aperture/Photos, if they are up-to-date. This option is off by default. Lightroom Classic can automatically stack the preview with the original photo.
    • Full-size JPEG previews generated from files with settings don't include metadata that has been applied to the master (keywords, star ratings, flags, GPS data).
    • Full-size JPEG previews are duplicated if imported first by the same Photos library and then later from a library upgraded from Photos to Aperture (due to a difference in filename).

The plug-in supports migrating both managed and referenced Aperture and Photos libraries. 

  • If your files are managed by Aperture (Aperture's default) Lightroom Classic leaves them where they are and duplicates them in your chosen location.
  • If your files are referenced by Aperture Lightroom Classic gives you the option of leaving them in their current location, or duplicating them in a new location.

What does not get migrated to Lightroom Classic?

Some Photos/Aperture features are not compatible with Lightroom Classic. This includes: 

  • Image adjustments: Aperture and Lightroom use different image processing engines, so Lightroom cannot read adjustments made in Aperture. You can do one of the following:
    • Re-edit your file using Lightroom Classic.
    • Use Aperture to export full resolution edited photos and store them with the originals.
  • Smart Albums
  • Face Tag Region of Interest: Face naming tags are mapped to keywords
  • Color Labels: Optionally as keywords
  • Stacks: Optionally as keywords. Aperture shares stacks between albums, Lightroom does not
  • Any kind of creation (books, web galleries, and so on) other than the collections that correspond to them
  • PSD files can be imported into Lightroom only if they’re saved with ‘maximize compatibility’ enabled.

Additional information

In June 2014, Apple announced the discontinuation of development of Aperture. Since then, Apple has released five major macOS updates. For technical reasons, Aperture will not run in macOS versions after macOS Mojave. To know more, see this Apple documentation.


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