A great question came up on the site where reader Dave T. asks “Are earlier vaults consumable by Aperture 3.3 if one has to restore?”. The answer was certainly “I should hope so!” but I ran a little test anyway.
Short answer is, it works. However there is a scary dialog that pops up that I think could be better written.
The Vault restore process
For my test, I created a new library in Aperture 3.2.4, added a few photos to it, and created a Vault. Then I copied the Vault to my system with Aperture 3.3, created a new Library there, and restored from the 3.2.4 Vault. At the end of the process, I got this scary dialog:
“Unable to Restore” made my heart skip a beat, for sure. However reading the fine print, it says “Relaunch is required for the library restore to take effect”. I hit OK, and expected Aperture to automatically relaunch, which it did not. So I manually quit, then launched Aperture again, and got this dialog:
On clicking Upgrade, the Library upgraded to 3.3 and all was right in the world.
Here’s what’s happening
When you recover from an old Vault, Aperture restores the Library back to its previous state — which in this case was an Aperture 3.2.4 library. However Aperture 3.3 can’t read that library, so you get the “unable to restore” message. I think that’s a very poorly written dialog, as it should say something like “Your restore process is nearly complete. Quit and relaunch Aperture to update your recovered library”.
This test was of course very small and limited, but it worked.
Create a new vault anyway
My upgrade advice still stands though. Before upgrading to Aperture 3.3, update your current vaults, backup our system, then upgrade the software and update your Library to 3.3 Then create a whole new vault, using Aperture 3.3, and when that’s completed, you can trash the old pre-3.3 vault. Or keep it just to be extra safe. But don’t update your 3.2 vault with 3.3 software.
This is sage advice for ANY major upgrade in Aperture (which this is), not just this 3.3 change.