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Does Aperture Work on OS X El Capitan?

PhotoJoseph's picture
October 1, 2015 - 7:08am

Q: Does Apple's now-defunct Aperture work on the brand new operating system, OS X 10.11 “El Capitan”?

A: I don't know. Yes; mostly. It seems that Soft Proofing is universally broken, but all other reports of issues appear to be isolated, and not a global problem.

Aperture launches, but that's about all I can tell you at this point. I'm running OS X 10.11.1 beta right now on an isolated Mac, and haven't yet pushed my primary Mac over to El Capitan. Plus, as seems to be par for the course, I'm on the road when a major release hits ;-)

Aperture 3.6 launches on this Mac, but I don't have a full library on here and certainly haven't tested it.

Have you?

If you have any experience, positive or negative with Aperture on OS X El Capitan, please chime in on the comments below. I'm sure many, many users will appreciate it.

Apple Aperture

I’ve been using El Cap since the betas and haven’t made heavy use of Aperture, but all the basic stuff (importing, sorting, editing, full screen mode) seems to be fine. I read somewhere that there were problems with slideshows, but I haven’t used them.

Derrick Story reports that soft proofing doesn't seem to be rendering colors right.

I just upgraded and yes soft proofing is not working.

I also quickly tested C1 Pro and it seems ok, but I do not have Open GL turned on, in the prefs.

It might be my imagination but things do feel 'snappier' on my 3 year old laptop.

Lee Harris, professional photographer based in Barcelona, Spain.

I have a problem with Aperture and Hell Capitain. If you edit a file in Photoshop from Aperture, the file comes back to Aperture with strange colours. It’s also very slow.

I phoned Apple and we trash some preferences and the problem is gone.


Which preferences did you trash?

Please let me know which preferences you trashed as Aperture is now deadly slow on my two iMacs.

I don’t reminder, I did that on the phone with an Apple tech.


Full screen image on 2nd monitor is washed out as though brightness is turned up significantly.  Does not matter if its raw, jpeg or tiff file.

Thumbnail images are fine - only the full screen images.

Turn off 'onscreen proofing' in view menu

Lee Harris, professional photographer based in Barcelona, Spain.

Thank you!

Never thought to check that… I just chalked it up to upgrade issue.


Oh it is an upgrade issue, you can't use that anymore.

Lee Harris, professional photographer based in Barcelona, Spain.

I’d like to know if other people has updated to El Capitan and their experiences before I do. By the small volume of comments, apparently very few people have taken the pill…

Ok, so I made the leap. I was going to wait and see, and well….I gave it a day ;p.

So far so good. As mentioned soft-proofing no longer works, so I turned that off.

Noticed when I was closing a library, the progress bar for processing “shared previews” now no longer renders.

C1, Aperture (soft-proofing not), Affinity Pro, Pixelmator all  seem to be working. Have not done any extensive real work yet. The actual upgrade took a long time to an external USB drive.

[Carbon Copied my Internal drive to USB drive. Booted the MacBook Pro holding Alt key. Selected the USB drive to boot. Updatad the OSX on the USB drive for testing.]

Not sure that there is anything compelling in the latest OSX, so caution will not leave me way behind the times while I wait. There are bound to be small issues with various apps that will be addressed in dot updates. If you have any Deadlines, give El Capitan a little more time before committing.

Bill Booth

Aperture blacks out in full screen mode for my macbook air (OpenGL/CL) and mac mini (Metal). Does it work for you?

Robert Ke
twitter: rke21

also at:
instagram: rke21
facebook: outdoorphotographynow

My experience is that Aperture is very much slower, some adjustments don’t save (doing white balance and basic exposure the first round), and third-party apps don’t work well or/and is slow. Loading the RAW images takes time, time, time every time I view them.

I sure hope there will be and update to Aperture for El Capitan or an OS update that fixes this, because at the moment I am pretty locked in to Aperture. Can’t afford new software at the moment…

I see a train wreck in your future Kip. Apple has not promised any more updates for Aperture, In fact I believe they said Aperture support would be discontinued after Yosemite (Joseph?).  The future for using Aperture as a prime editing platform is bleak.  Aperture still works for now but over time, as OS X marches on,  Aperture will be left behind.  Things in Aperture will stop working and maybe suddenly one day it won’t open. 

Apple didn’t commit either way. They just said they would support the “next” OS, which was Mavericks. There has been zero official word regarding El Capitan.

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*smartassmode* ;)

The “next” OS was Yosemite, not Mavericks. Aperture 3.6 was released on Oct. 16th, 2014.

You are right and I’ll jump onto a new train as soon as I can afford it. Hope still that enough reactions will get Apple to perhaps post a fix or two for Aperture. I don’t have much hopes, but it would be nice :)

Details for my comment above:

Macbook Pro late 2012, 16 GB RAM, 2,4 GHz.

It’s loading previews (which occurs on every image I view after starting the app up again) that is much, much slower than before. I don’t have Metal, only available from 2012’s.

Some graphic noise bugs in edited images as well, not in export, but in preview. I have turned off the proof thingy. No help there.

What about printing ? I’ve got an HP B9180 which is long in the tooth but prints beautifully. Will the drivers still work ?

Ken Sky

I upgraded to El Capitan. It’s good to see Aperture (iPhoto too) is still functional in El Capitan.

I still use Aperture to access my “Legacy” library. I’m no longer using Aperture to edit or organize images.  When support was discontinued I converted my entire managed library to a referenced library. I also exported all the images with Aperture edits as separate versions.  That became the “Legacy” library.  It is accessible by Aperture as well as other programs. 


I am using Aperture referenced originals. Have upgraded to El Capitan recently. Not sure if this is the reason. But Aperture seem not to display images in high res mode any more (although Quick Preview Mode and Onscreen Proofing are both off). Gradation is poor, fine tone areas don’t blend making “maps” / fine lines separating colour areas, etc. Maybe I need to turn something on or off? Did anyone have similar experience and is there a fix?

No problems so far.

Tom Thomson

I have to agree with Tom. Aperture for me works perfectly on El Capitan.

I don't see issues with softproofing either, but have to admit, I wouldn't realize it, if the issue is subtle, as I rarely do prints these days and haven't used soft proofing in the last months.

Been burned by Apple a couple of times before, I won't switch my productive machine to El Capitan before there is at least a 10.11.2 version out though.

There is currently an issue with non-supported NVIDIA graphics cards (i.e. GTX-980) and the current NVIDIA web driver, displaying pictures in viewer only as yellow squares, but that effect is present in Finder as well so I assume NVIDIA will iron it out soon.

Seems results vary from machine to machine. Did my tests on a 2014 MacBookPro 13” and to a lesser extent on a 2014 iMac Retina.

And just to add: The multiapp workflow Aperture, Capture One, DxO via apHUB works fine in El Capitan as well. So for me the road is clear to stick with this workflow at least for another 1-2 years, unless Apple improves the DAM part of Photos significantly AND Capture One releases a Photos editing plugin.



From what I can gather you need 3.6 to run on El Capitan.   

I upgraded to El Capitan from Mavericks on which I was running Aperture 3.5.   This upgrade was only available in Yosemite (not available if running Mavericks or, in the UK at least, El Capitan).  I’m sure I’m not the only person to have skipped Yosemite (Apple is encouraging people to upgrade directly from older OSX).  The upgrade to 3.6 needs to be available from El Capitan or you cannot use Aperture. 


Aside from the broken on-screen proofing I haven’t experienced any problems yet. Neither with El Capitan nor with Aperture. Working with Apples legacy software on 10.11 feels actually snappier (iMac late 2009). So I’m quite happy.

Next…upgrade my hardware.

Aperture full screen fixed!!! works after I upgraded to 10.11.1. This is on a 2011 air mac so it still uses OpenGL/CL and not Metal. did OS 10.11.1 fix your issues?

Robert Ke
twitter: rke21

also at:
instagram: rke21
facebook: outdoorphotographynow

Aperture 3.6 on-screen Soft Proofing now works for me with the recent issue of 10.11.2.  So far so good with El Capitan!

My Aperture also seems a bit more stable and faster with the latest OS X updates. No guarantee though, so I am looking into alternatives like C1.

Can anybody please advise me…I am a very novice Aperture user on OSX El Capitan. I just completed a (photo)book on Aperture only to discover that I can no longer place an order through the application. Apple Care was no help and told me to contact the Aperture developer. Does this mean that all of that work is lost?

I greatly appreciate any help you can offer.


Um… AppleCare told you to contact the Aperture developer? But that's Apple! Anyway you should be able to export a PDF and use a print company that can print from that. You'll need to find one that matches the dimensions exactly though, or at least the aspect ratio. 

Most book printers, to my knowledge (I haven't used any myself in a while), will print from a PDF. Check out Blurb to start; they are quite popular. But just google “photo book” and you'll find a ton of them. 

Also search the forums, and also post a question in the forums about book printers. I'm sure it's a topic that's been discussed before.

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