Hiding pictures

by Ben Long

An interesting Aperture question showed up in my email box last week from a user with a curious problem: several people use his computer, which means that if any of them launch Aperture, they stand a good chance of finding pictures of his girlfriend (which, he assures, are quite tasteful, but intimate nonetheless). Because these are images that he didn't want just anyone to have access to, he wondered if there was any way to hide images in Aperture.

He could, of course, create a separate user account on his Mac using the Accounts System Preferences. This would create a completely separate, password-protected environment with its own Aperture library. This is the easiest, most secure solution, but it can be a little bit of a hassle if you don't want to divide up all of your data, and it only works if other users understand that they need to switch to their own account before they launch Aperture. It also requires you to log out of your account when you're not at the computer, which is easy to forget.

He could also try to hide the girlfriend images somewhere in his library. He could hide them in a project that has lots of other images, or stack them together in a stack with a particularly boring or ugly "decoy" image as the pick.

The best option, though, for the user who doesn't want to hassle with multiple user accounts is to create multiple libraries. Aperture allows you to create as many libraries as you have room for, and multiple libraries are often a good way to organize your entire archive. For example, you can have a library for your personal images, a library for your work and, perhaps, a library for your girlfriend pictures.

To create an additional library:

1. Export the project that contains the images that you'll want to place in the new library.
2. Delete the project from your current library.
3. In Aperture's preferences, click the Choose button beneath the Library Location. In the resulting Open dialog box, navigate to the location where you'd like your new library to be. Aperture will create a new library at that location. However, the new library will not be active in Aperture until you restart the program.
4. Quit Aperture.
5. Launch Aperture again and you should see your new, empty library.
6. Import the project that you exported from your old library.

At any time, you can change back to your other library by selecting it from the Preferences dialog. However, with Aperture 1.5 you can now open Aperture with a specific library by simply double-clicking on that library in the Finder. Aperture will launch and will automatically use the library you double-clicked on. Note, though, that Aperture will also change your preferences to use that library until you select another. So, before you quit Aperture, you'll want to change your library prefs to point to your more "public" library.

Finally, you can hide your new library somewhere, or store it on a password protected volume or disk image.

While Aperture won't let you change libraries without restarting, the ability to double-click on a library document to utilize it makes it much easier to quickly change libraries.

Keep those interesting problems coming...


2007-01-12 06:16:44
There really should be a privacy function in both iPhoto and Aperture. Some sort of password protected albums/projects.

And before anyone else says it, yes of course it could be use to hide pr0n. But it's really more than that. A professional photographer might want to hide photos of unreleased products (this should be a big hit withing Apple it self, with all that secrecy going on all the time). Or may you just don't want your parents to view all those photos from last nights party. Etc.

Jan Steinman
2007-01-13 04:31:01
I hope all such issues will soon be solved with a multi-user, network-distributed update to Aperture. They could stand to look over Extensis Portfolio in this regard. It has a flexible system that can be managed either by users or roles -- both are needed!
2007-07-28 01:19:43
Very nice post. It's important to keep privat things privat, specialy nowdays, when there is the YouTube and so on.

PS: I googled this kind asnwer over hour! At last I found answer :)

MacOSG podcast listener from FINLAND.