Merging Photos Libraries
If you're playing with Photos today but not ready to commit to it full time, maintaining a separate Aperture or iPhoto library (or libraries), you may be wondering how you will ultimately merge your old Aperture and new Photos libraries together, should you want to do that in the future.
There's no “merge” function (just like there wasn't in iPhoto), but there is a way to make this work.
Essentially, if your library is synced to iCloud, you can use iCloud to do the merge.
Here's how to merge your libraries
- Create a new (or migrate any Aperture) library in Photos. This is what you're doing today, so you can start to get familiar with Photos. Ensure that iCloud Photo Library is enabled, as this will be the key to making this work later. Technically you could certainly only turn this on when you'r ready to merge, but you'll have to wait for your entire library to upload before you can proceed. If it's just always on, then the library will be ready whenever you are.
- When you're ready to merge, open your Aperture library in Photos. To do this, quit Photos, then re-launch it while holding the Option key, which will allow you to choose any Photos, Aperture or iPhoto library on your system.
- Once that library is open, if you look in the preferences, you'll see under iCloud that the “iCloud features for Photos are only available in the System Photo Library”. The “System Photo Library” is basically your primary library. Each system can only have one primary library.
- To make this library your System Photo Library, switch to the General tab, and click “Use as System Photo Library”.
- Once that's done, you'll need to go back to the iCloud tab and enable iCloud Photo Library.
- At this point, whatever is in this library (your just-migrated Aperture library), and whatever is in iCloud, will merge.
You need to know…
It's important to realize that there's no going back on this. So be sure you're ready. Also, it's worth noting that if you have multiple Aperture/iPhoto libraries to merge, you would be best off merging them in Aperture first (this isn't possible in iPhoto), then migrating that to Photos, so you don't have to go through the cloud sync multiple times.
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