Apple Aperture 4 Expected Release Date, Rumors & Wish List

apple aperture 4

Updated October 23rd, 2014 – As we reported a few months ago, Apple’s new iPhoto app and iCloud Storage library has been released and is the replacement to Aperture which is no longer being developed. Although it’s a different look and feel, we recommend that you check out the new features, especially, that it’s free!

Updated June 30th, 2014 – It’s official, Apple has announced that it is ceasing all development on Aperture and will be replaced by the new Photos app and and iCloud Photo Library in the upcoming OS X Yosemite that’s scheduled to be released this Fall. We don’t know yet which features will be Aperture-like in Yosemite but hope they surprise all of us skeptics using Macs.  For those on PC’s, it looks like your best alternative to Aperture is Lightroom (which is still available without a subscription but that may change in Lightroom 6).

Updated June 7th, 2014 – Apple’s WWDC event came and went this past week.  We were hoping to see Aperture 4 announced but unfortunately we still have to wait.  We’re not even sure if Aperture 4 will ever be released as Tim Cook hinted to another new photo App in his keynote speech that will be coming to the Mac in early 2015 – to quote, “We’re working on a new ground-up photo solution for the Mac built with iCloud in mind.”,

Historically, Aperture was on a two-year release cycle, but now that we’re well into the third year and it’s not looking too good. When comparing it to the several major releases that Lightroom has had in the meantime (currently on version 5), that’s a relatively long time that it’s been out without a major update.  The only hope that we have is in an upcoming book that we’ve seen on several book publishing websites (including Book Depository and Amazon UK).  They have a book titled “Aperture 4: Unleashing Your Photo Workflow” written by John Lewell available on pre-order with a release date for the book set at July 2nd, 2014. We’ve heard that this release date has changed at least twice before so we’re not quite sure what to make from all of this.

Here is the posted description for the book:

“Are you ready to focus on taming your digital photo collection? “Aperture 4: Unleashing Your Photo Workflow” is the concise, step-by-step guide to using Apple’s popular photo workflow program. Written for users at every level, from amateur to professional, the book begins with a clear explanation of Aperture’s smart file structure and goes on to cover all the practical aspects of using the software to sort, compare, select, edit, retouch, print, and share photographic images (in slideshows and online galleries, or as prints) – including separate chapters on RAW workflow and color management. Packed with tips, shortcuts, and illustrated explanations, “Aperture 4: Unleashing Your Photo Workflow” is the quickest route to mastery of this exciting and feature-rich program.”

Below are the posted table of contents:

  1. Introduction.
  2. What’s Special About Aperture’s File Structure?
  3. Where You Work (or Play): The User Interface.
  4. Making Yourself at Home: How to Customize Aperture.
  5. Bringing Your Images Into Aperture from Somewhere Else.
  6. Choosing Your Original Camera File Format: RAW or JPEG.
  7. Comparing and Selecting Your Images.
  8. Working for You: Your Friendly Metadata.
  9. Organizing a Growing Library.
  10. Never Lose an Image: Backing-Up in Aperture.
  11. Non-Destructive Image Editing.
  12. Identifying Specific Image Corrections.
  13. Image Editing: Cunning Tips and Shortcuts.
  14. Retouching Your Images and Using Creative Effects.
  15. Color Management with Aperture 4.
  16. Placing Your Photos on the Web.
  17. Creating Slideshows with Added Sound and Music.
  18. Making Physical Prints and Books.
  19. Appendix A. Tethered Shooting with Aperture.
  20. Appendix B. Using Plug-Ins to Extend Functionality.
  21. Appendix C. If You Need Them: Troubleshooting Tools.
  • ISBN 13: 9781133788904
  • ISBN 10: 1133788904

Aperture’s release date history

Apple originally introduced Aperture back in 2005. Now with version 3.0 only available through the Mac App Store, there has been some small dot-releases in-between that are free to download for existing users.

  • Aperture 3.51 – Released on November 14, 2013 (small improvements with the Temperature & Tint eyedropper tool)
  • Aperture 3.5 – Released October 22, 2013 (mostly compatibility/bug updates for OS X Mavericks).
  • Aperture 3.4.5 – Released on Jun 05, 2013.
  • Aperture 3.0 – Released on February 9, 2010.
  • Aperture 2.0 – Released on February 12, 2008.
  • Aperture 1.0 – Released on November 30, 2005.

What new features will we see?

Here are the new features that top our wish list that we hope to see in Aperture 4, if it ever is released:

  • Lens distortion correction similar to the one in Lightroom 5 or Pixelsync available as an iPad app.
  • Native 64 bit support.
  • Ability to easily sync image libraries between Apple devices (iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad)
  • A panoramic function with 360º view (like we’ve seen in QuickTime VR)
  • Capability to add multi-layered text with transition effects in slideshow.
  • Easy social media integration (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

What if I buy Aperture 3 right before Aperture 4 is released?

Unlike other software companies that offer returns on software, price protection guarantees, or free upgrades to those that purchased right before a major product release, Apple is one of the few companies that do not offer any protection at all on opened software. So if you bought Aperture 3 yesterday, then you will not be entitled to a free upgrade to version 4 if it were to be released today. You’re only chance is to talk to an Apple representative and see if they can waive the policy for you. Because we believe the next version can be announced any day now, we recommend waiting it out if you can.

What would you like to see in Aperture 4?

Leave your suggestions and wish list in the comments below.

  1. April 27, 2014


    Watermarking without needing a plug in please!! Batch watermarking. Just adding text for god sakes. Why doesn’t Aperture and i-photo have this? Should be a simple thing to add. What’s the big deal? I really don’t like exporting into a different program to do this. Keep it all in one place. I don’t want to leave my mac software. But I’ll have to if this doesn’t change.

    • June 24, 2014


      You can apply a watermark on export. No need for a plug-in.

  2. April 18, 2014


    There are two features – apart from a much needed interface update – that I think we need to see, or Aperture will not be taken seriously any more by any pro-photographer:

    Better noise reduction and much, much better highlight correction!

    In both cases Lightroom’s quality is simply astounding. I don’t want to use plug-ins for this in Aperture since I want to keep my workflow non-destructive.

  3. December 15, 2013


    I would be happy for Aperture 4 just to work without bugginess. I’m getting tired of the corrupted preview problem, and I see these are still present but with new problems in 3.5.1

  4. November 14, 2013


    I’ve not tried to look for any more rumors. I usually have a pretty positive outlook with Apple, but I think it’s looking pretty bleak for Aperture. Price point against LR isn’t even a factor. How can it, if there’s no quality, updated product to compare?!

    Even though I have it, I’ve not bothered learning LR. Guess it’s time to!! I only wish I had kept up on my updates and upgrades for it. Oh well. Still better than an UN-updated app and no support with Aperture.

  5. October 24, 2013


    I would love to have the ability to have guides AND export PDF’s with bleeds when designing books for non-apple vendors.

  6. October 22, 2013


    Apple Keynote Thoughts anyone?? Plenty out there on Aperture already!

    Well, since watching the keynote, listening to Cnet while doing so I’ve been checking for the new FREE OS X Mavericks update. It finally became available sometime early afternoon (PST).

    I noticed that Software Update (Mac App Store) was also checking incompatible app’s, one of which included my Aperture version (3.4.5)

    There is, however, an Aperture 3.5 update showing, requiring OS X.9 (Mavericks) So all that REALLY means is: Apple had to come out with an update for the new Mac OS. Further disappointing: all that seems “new”… is merely bug and compatibility improvements. NO REAL update! Here is what’s listed as: “What’s New in v3.5:
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Aperture 3.5 Update
    * Adds support for iCloud Photo Sharing, including the ability to post videos to shared photo streams and to have multiple subscribers contribute to a shared stream

    * The Places feature now uses Apple maps to display photo locations

    * New integration with SmugMug, with support for publishing and syncing galleries directly to a SmugMug account

    * Adds support for iOS 7 camera filters applied to photos imported from iOS devices

    * Fixes an issue that sometimes resulted in Retouch adjustments not being applied to exported images

    * Addresses an issue that could cause the black and white points in Curves to shift incorrectly when using the eyedropper tools

    * Fixes an issue that prevented caption data from being embedded correctly when exporting versions of some RAW file types

    * Improves reliability when adding names to Faces

    * Addresses an issue that could cause Aperture to stop responding after adjusting a very large panorama

    * Fixes an issue that could prevent memory cards or hard disks from ejecting properly after import when clicking the Delete Items button

    * Improves reliability of slideshows on a 15-inch Macbook Pro with Retina display

    * Addresses an issue that could cause thumbnails to display incorrectly in the iLife Media Browser

    * Videos up to three minutes long can now be shared to Flickr

    * Captions instead of version names are now synced between Aperture and Facebook for newly-created albums

    * Improves reliability when printing a light table

    * Fixes an issue that could prevent adjusted images from being published to My Photo Stream

    * Includes stability and performance improvements

  7. October 19, 2013


    Non-destructive plug-in functionality. More speed (though it has made some nice leaps there). Lens correction would be nice. But given I use professional lenses, I find that I really don’t use this when I’ve used LR.

    Being a pro and having worked in the software industry prior to that, there is a point with which software reaches a maturity point. I think that is what we are seeing. Sure, once in a while, we’ll see a nifty feature here and there. But at the end of the day, it comes down to the person behind the lens that will yield the best shots…. not some extra brush. As a photography community, I think we’ve all become a bit spoiled with software updates. Makes me wonder how many people actually shot film and developed there own film and prints. I don’t recall new, revolutionary enlargers coming out every year.

    • December 19, 2013


      Good point there John “software reaches a maturity point”!

      I’m not sure Aperture is there yet but being a pretty lonely Aperture user in the LR country I’m still baffled how many new features for each major upgrade of LR have already been part of Aperture for long or very long!

      It is as John writes a good tool that’s easy to use and you quickly get the job done. And yes, I’ve tried many of the other dedicated tools but so far I always returned to Aperture.
      It hasn’t reached its maturity point quite yet (as LaTex has for you math geeks out there 🙂 but Apple has always been very good at understanding HCI and here Aperture really shines. Whatever Apple has up its sleeves – don’t mess up the best photo editing interface to be found anywhere!

  8. October 10, 2013


    And, if you want your PII stolen from Adobe, then by all means sign up for their Cloud subscription services. Adobe was just massively hacked last week and it’s a total embarrassment for them and they know it. Not only did they steal 3 million credit card numbers from subscribed users, they also stole source code for various Adobe apps. They are unsure of the extent of the damage???

    CC Subscription has also annoyed many photographers and if Apple is smart, they will just ride this wave and fill that void. If they do it right with Aperture 4, LR is going to have a real challenge going forward. I just hope Apple delivers, because it will be a real shame if they do not. As a photo workflow tool, Aperture can’t be beat – it’s simple, intuitive, and the brushes are absolutely exceptional! The only place where Aperture can’t and will never compete is in the area of “photo creativity and expression” and here Photoshop “is” and “will always” be king-of-the-hill.

    New features I would like to see in Aperture 4 are:

    – Lens distortion correction
    – The ability to convert Nikon NEF files directly to DNG format via Aperture import.
    – Native 64-bit support (I’m sick and tired of the memory leaks)
    – HDR processing
    – If they added some built-n features like Perfect Effects by onOne, that would be awesome!
    – Built-in Watermarking and Frames – similar to what BorderFx can do.
    – Add MUCH more creative filter capabilities, similar to Google’s NIK acquisition.

    If they add these features, it would be the ultimate photographers tool!

  9. October 3, 2013


    Hi Eric,

    I’m also hoping for an upgrade along with the MacPro/Maverick release. I see a lot of pessimistic comments regarding a possible Aperture demise. I don’t think this is the case. I actually wrote a long post regarding why Aperture is not dead ( Let me know if you think it makes sense.

    The program is working fine for me in a huge library and actually addressed most of my needs on workflow and adjustments. I would like to have the following added though:
    – adjustment history
    – gradients and grain
    – web gallery with responsive themes
    – better watermark creation tool

    I was wondering where you got the rumoured release date. Was it an educated guess based on previous releases or you heard some info through the grapevine. I saw some previous educated guesses and unfortunately they were all wrong… unfortunately no one really knows what is going on until the product is actually released (the Apple way).



    • October 3, 2013


      Hi Raf,

      Yea – We’ve heard some chatter through the grapevine, but we’re not at all fully confident in this release date… as you’ve said, a number of others have estimated it incorrectly already and Apple is extremely hush-hush on it. Let’s hope you’re right that Aperture is not dead and that the new version will be released sooner than later.

      Thanks for sharing your post!

  10. September 25, 2013


    Read my lips: Aperture and iPhoto will be merged, there is no need for two almost identical apps. And BTW Aperture has lost the battle, pros have switched to Lightroom. A fistful of Aperture users is not that interesting for Apple, who is very busy with iPods, iPhones and the iTunes Store, it’s all about big $$$. They don’t care about you, only about your money folks:)

    • October 3, 2013


      Tim, I think you have missed the boat: Aperture and iPhoto have already merged! Having the same library did that. I doubt they will abandon one or the other. iPhoto comes free with every Mac, makes it easy to move up to Aperture as soon as you find its limitation. No need to convert library, export/import etc. I believe more and more advanced users are using Aperture (always in the Top Paid and Top Grossing at the App store). The advertised mass migration to Lightroom is a great marketing campaign, the same one that will show how great is to pay for rental when Lightroom becomes a CC only option.

      • October 3, 2013


        Adobe has already introduced the Lightroom+Photoshop CC subscription… Knowing many folks at Adobe and from what’s we were able to read in-between the lines, I would not be all that surprised if LR6 is subscription only.

  11. September 25, 2013


    I’d like many of the options mentioned: noise reduction for sure! Lens correction, grad filters, HDR ability, and how about some serious tilt shift option. I have to switch to or use my onOne software and/or plug in’s for that.

    A long time ago I would have asked for a BURN EXPORT option instead an outrageously priced plug-in for the feature. I might still like the feature, but several months back with the release of the newest iMac model, according to Schiller, the optic disc and drive is antiquated.

    I’d still like to see a better integrated watermark option, however, I could care less about using it for any social media. If Aperture is going to be considered a “Pro” application then treat it as such. iPhoto can have all the children’s eye candy, social sharing options.

    Certainly though, Aperture is in dire need for a facelift and some serious coding help with it’s poor memory use! SO tired of beach balls on my screen.

  12. September 19, 2013


    Better noise reduction. Lens distortion corrections, CA correction, more refined sharpening, better watermarking for all image exports, better RAW refinement.

  13. September 12, 2013


    Id be happy with only lens correction

  14. September 4, 2013


    Better noise reduction…. I have to use topaz now. And faster way to move projects and libraries between computers

  15. September 4, 2013


    I would like everything that LR5 has plus layers. Then it would be a great program. Otherwise it doesn’t offer a lot. Apple may just decide to target the majority of photographers and the iPhoto probably works pretty well so it really may not need to spend any money on Aperture development. Hopefully this is not the case but the advantage is a really good program only needs camera updates not full revisions yearly.

    Maybe with the Mac Pro they will introduce a suburb version but if not then I think we can be assured Aperture is dead.

  16. August 24, 2013


    Integrated HDR merge with raw files, raw or png fileformat, better noicecontrol, speedboost, raw layers with brushes and masking, new multimediaserver solution for Aperture and FinalCutPro and iTunes would be my dreamsoluton.

  17. August 20, 2013


    Has anyone thought about an Exposure brush? there’s brush features in just about every brick in AP3 but not exposure, I find this very odd.
    Aside from that I think I’d prefer a LOT LESS amateurish features (iPhoto effects) If AP4 does not get more serious in both GUI and focusing on RAW file adjustments I will have to let it go. Generally AP3 has better exposure responses and better highlight recovery over LR (any versions) they just really need to refine the GUI get away from large icons in the tool bar and continue to provide pro-level adjustment features – with all due respect to iPhoto users you still have iPhoto etc.

    • August 20, 2013


      Regarding the exposure brush, I brush in Dodge and Burn instead.

  18. August 19, 2013


    Sometimes I feel (myself included) that it is just blind loyalty that keeps people from ceasing to use Aperture 3, for whatever reason. LR5 or even 4 technically offers more except the more aesthetic or pleasing GUI of the Aperture. For hobbyists, this is not an issue. But for pros like me, it’s like prioritizing pleasure of using it over what is needed in the business if you continue to stick it out with Aperture.
    I do hope Aperture 4 really comes out within the year. Otherwise, where does that leave the existing Aperture users?

    • August 19, 2013

      Rafael Sandoval

      I agree with Jay.
      I am not a pro but I insist on pro results for my product outcomes.
      Apple is missing the boat and will soon miss the fleet if it doesn’t produce a SIGNIFICANT new version very soon. I as many of you own an iPhone, iPad, mac and macbook pro.
      Apple is the only product I am loyal to but right now, it’s eating Adobe’s dust.
      I am done.

    • October 7, 2013

      Rob McIver

      I have used both and for me it is just that my image looks better on import in Aperture than it does in any iteration of LR. Just gives me the starting point that I prefer. Obviously that is subjective and only my 2 cents.

  19. August 14, 2013


    I’d certainly be glad if it has better support for syncing photos between my macs. Having to export a project as a library and then import it all again is pain in the ass.

  20. August 13, 2013


    Lens correction
    Grad filters
    Better key wording
    Noise reduction
    Better auto enhance
    Better white balance

    • August 25, 2013


      I’ll like to see better, stronger and especially more user friendly dust removal tools. I still use elements 4.0 in 99% of the time.

  21. August 3, 2013


    I would agree with Isaac. My top wishes are for lens correction models and much better noise reduction controls.

  22. July 31, 2013


    I would like to see lens correction and better noise reduction.

  23. July 25, 2013


    I would like to see watermark when sharing on social networks, Paypal services in web gallery creation, and better integration with other ilife products or with final cut pro.

  24. July 17, 2013


    Tons of release dates in the past, starting off in 2011, all rumors from fairytale land, people suffering from wishful thinking and keeping the blahblah running. Keep on dreaming folks! 🙂

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eric owenWritten by Eric

This page was written by Eric Owen, an expert on software news and deals. Connect with him on Google+

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