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Backup 3rd Party Presets Before Upgrading to Aperture 3.4

PhotoJoseph's picture
September 23, 2012 - 9:16pm

Unfortunately I am not on my main system so can’t confirm this myself, however multiple readers have reported losing presets in 3rd party plug-ins for Aperture, along with the plug-in registration. Registration is of course easy enough to rectify — just re-enter your serial number — but lost presets are something else entirely.

If you haven’t yet made the upgrade to 3.4, and you’re using any plug-ins (such as Nik Software plugins), and you’ve made any custom presets of your own, be sure to export those before proceeding so you can re-import them after the upgrade in the event they are lost.

I’d like to think that these presets are files or preferences stored somewhere in the system that can be easily recovered from through one of your many backup methods (you are backing up regularly, right?) but I can’t verify this myself right now.

Update on October 15, 2012 - 9:28pm by Joseph @ApertureExpert

Thanks to reader Patrick Curry, we have a recovery solution. Check the tip here.

Apple Aperture

This is probably due to Aperture 3.4 being sandboxed. You can probably just move the plug-ins’ preferences files into Aperture’s container folder.

I have a big event all week where I am the principal photographer/editor. The Aperture 3.4 upgrade, which I stupidly started to download before reading your blog, is suspended for now, since it says I have to close Aperture to finish the upgrade. I am delaying that.

In the meantime, I read how I was supposed to trash the Preferences to get it to work again. I have copied the Preference file to another disk.

My questions
If I trash Preferences now, before the upgrade, then install 3.4, do you suppose it won’t crash when I upgrade? I know, go ahead and try it….
Can I simply reinsert the file back into the Preferences folder - Go_Option_Library - after the upgrade and all will be well, or will it crash again?

I have also exported the Preferences from those programs where I know I have them, so if I lose them I can re-import them.

I have also read that I might have to reinstall Aperture. I go back to version 1.5 and yes, I have all the disks. However, I would hate to have to go through all that again, especially with such an important week ahead.

Thanks for any help/advice!

Gerald Levy


I wouldn’t do the upgrade right now; not because of the reported problems but just because if you have a job that big, you really shouldn’t be risking anything. Unless there’s a feature you NEED in 3.4 for the job, then just hold off.

However the upgrade should go fine now. The problem was temporary and Apple has fixed it.

It’s not relevant anymore, but no, putting your old prefs back would have broken it again. And the problem doesn’t actually have anything to do with the preferences, it’s just that by removing them you reset the trigger. But as reported, it would eventually come back.

But again… all irrelevant… the issue is fixed.

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Joseph: I had no choice but to proceed: I started the download and then read the blog….too late! However, it got to the stage when it said I had to close Aperture to complete the install. Of course I did nothing. After reading the comments, I junked the Preference files and backed up every preset I could find. I went ahead and mercifully all is well! Presets re-installed. I relaxed watching some of your training videos I had downloaded from your site….On to the job with a sigh of relief!

Thanks for all you do. Aperture is a unsung application, despite its warts. Love it!

Gerald Levy

How do i effectivily backup my presets ?
I remember once in the past i couldnt export the whole bunch, but only one preset at at time…..time consuming and boring.


If you’re asking about third party presets, then that will depend on the tool you’re using, so I can’t help you there. If you mean the Aperture “Effects”, then just go to the Effects menu, go to Edit, select all your presets (or at least all your custom ones) and export from the gear menu there: [screenshot]

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Joseph, thank you for your help.
My problem is that i have never been able to do what you show in the screenshot….implying that it is possible to just choose a number of effect-collections and then export.
I can only export effects when i open fx. “Apertureexpert´s Looks #2” and then choose the effects inside “Apertureexpert´s Looks #2”.
I can not export “Apertureexpert´s Looks #2” directly, i can not export a number of effect-packs as you show in the screenshot.
This makes the backup/export timeconsuming and bad.
Any further help ?


That’s odd, not sure why you wouldn’t be able to do that. I just checked again, and I can shift click, command click, or just tap command-A to select all while in that window.

When you click on a collection name, nothing happens??

Incidentally unless you’ve altered the presets from me, you can just reimport those from the original DMG after upgrade (and if you don’t have that anymore, forward me your receipt and I can reset the download for you). Of course if you have other presets you may need to back those up…

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Perculiar indeed.
I did it the hard way. Now i just hope it worked.
If not ….thanks ….i may come back to you to have the download again.
Thank you for your help.

The good news: All effects preserved.

I had two issues with this on Aperture 3.4:

FlickrExport lost its registration details (re-entering from email worked)

BorderFX lost the ability to access its presets (still there in Library folder). Updating to latest version 1.7.1 which works with sandbox rules allowed it to see presets, although some of the settings in presets such as border colour don’t work, but that sounds like a BorderFX issue.

Has anyone else had this problem with the Perfect Photo Suite 6 Presets: since I upgraded to 3.4.1, I have lost the presets, and when I attempt to reimport them, using the Presets > Import option, Perfect Photo Suite crashes. However, if I launch Perfect Photo Suite as a stand alone application, all the presets are there.

After upgrading to Aperture 3.4 I lost my Photomatix plug-in (v2.1) presets, but I managed to get them back as follows.

The presets were stored at this location
~/Library/Application Support/Photomatix/Presets

each group of saved preset settings being stored here as a file with a .xmp extension. To restore the presets I copied all these files to this location

~/Library/Containers/ Support/Photomatix/Presets

On relaunching Aperture and launching the Photomatix plug-in my presets were restored to the drop-down menu. Saving new presets to this location works also.

Hope this helps, something similar may work for other plug-ins as well.

Thanks, Neil for the Photomatix Preset restore!

I lost ALL my Plug-in Registrations. Good reason to keep those emails! Was able to restore them all.

Another issue with 3.4.x is Export Plug-ins do not save to the folder you point them to. They end up in my case, in the Pictures area and I have to move them to the folder I wanted in the first place. PITA!

Developer for BorderFX is looking into it to see if that’s another Sandbox issue.

I need MAJOR HELP. I am very new to aperture, I just purchased aperture about one month ago and I haven’t really messed with it except that I imported a lot of pictures into it, a lot of pictures. A new version of aperture came out and I decided to upload the new one. Now that the latest version of aperture came out, I cannot see any of my previously downloaded pictures on the old version. I am freaking out. Any idea on how I can recover these pictures?

Thank you in advance,


When you restarted Aperture after you upgraded, did you get a message stating that it had to first upgrade your Library? Also, is it possible your old version pictures are in a different library? What do you see when you go to File > Switch to Library? Does it offer you more than one Library from which to choose?


As Carl is suggesting, it sounds like you are in a different library. If his advice doesn’t help, please post a question in the User Forum (look at the menu bar at the top of this page) — I try to keep support questions out of the comments. Thanks.

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I have lost a whole group of Nik software presents for Silver Effects Pro, Colour Effects Pro and some of the other Nik plug ins. I spent a lot of time creating these and am really annoyed that they seem to have been deleted.
If anyone knows a way of retrieving them I would appreciate it. I am hopeing they are lurking in some preference file or somewhere like that.



There is a Nik directory at ~/Library/Application Support — maybe what you’re looking for is in there?

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to access the missing preset files follow this file path>
User(“username”)>Library> Preferences>Nik Software>SIlver Efex Pro 2>User Presets

You should be able to find your user presets here. Copy this folder over to your desktop, then open the Silver Efex Pro 2 interface. You can then click the IMPORT button on the bottom of the left hand side panel. Find the folder on your desktop that you copied over and re-import your presets and plugins.

Courtesy of Dominick at NIK support (as a reply to my request)


Fantastic tip Patrick, thanks. I’ll post this on the main page!

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After the Aperture 3.4 upgrade I have discovered that I can no longer use my Photomatix plug-in, at all, because it is not accepting the license key (I have copied & pasted it from the original e-mail, so it’s not any kind of typo). I’m very frustrated. I guess I will have to try contacting them. Has anyone else had This particular problem?

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