Install & Run iTunes, Aperture, or iPhoto in MacOS Sonoma with Retroactive

May 31, 2024 - 12 Comments

Install iTunes, Aperture, or iPhotos on a modern MacOS Sonoma Mac

Do you miss iTunes for Mac? Do you really miss Aperture for Mac? Do you have fond memories of iPhoto in MacOS? What if you could run any of these three now defunct apps in modern MacOS Sonoma? With the help of an app called Retroactive, you can do exactly that, installing iTunes, Aperture, and iPhoto, onto modern Macs running MacOS Sonoma (or Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur, and Catalina).

iTunes was the all-in-one app for managing your iDevices, music, TV/movies, and podcasts, but with the introduction of MacOS Catalina, Apple shattered iTunes into multiple pieces, bringing device management into Finder, Apple Music for Music, for movies and TV content, and for podcasts content.

iPhoto was the consumer-level photo manager and editor for Mac that has become kind of a cult-classic, and was replaced by the unenthusiastically named (and arguably better equipped) Photos app for Mac.

And Aperture was a wildly popular pro-level photo editor for Mac that was replaced by… Photos? Or a subscription Adobe product like Lightroom? Maybe Pixelmator or Photomator? There hasn’t really been a true Aperture replacement for many Mac users who have fond recollections of Aperture.

Whichever of these apps that you wish to use in MacOS Sonoma, you can with Retroactive. And they’ll run not only in Sonoma, but also in macOS Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur, and Catalina with the help of Retroactive too, but we’re focusing on Sonoma since it’s the latest.

How to Install & Run Aperture, iTunes, iPhoto, on MacOS Sonoma

  1. Get Retroactive from the developer here on github
  2. Right-click on Retroactive and choose “Open” to bypass Gatekeeper (you may need to do this twice, depending on your system settings
  3. Bypass Gatekeeper

  4. Select the app you want to install from the list: iTunes, Aperture, iPhoto
  5. Install iTunes, Aperture, or iPhotos on a modern MacOS Sonoma Mac

  6. Go through the installation process (note that for some apps like Aperture, you need to have a copy of Aperture available from another Mac to install onto the MacOS Sonoma Mac)
  7. Installing iTunes on MacOS Sonoma with Retroactive

Soon you’ll have Aperture, iTunes, or iPhoto, installed, and all you need to do is open them like any other application to have them up and running on your modern Mac.

Each of these apps continues to work in modern MacOS, though you’ll likely find that iTunes will have issues with modern iPhone or iPad hardware running the latest iOS versions. This isn’t too surprising given that iTunes was killed off five years ago on the Mac, so don’t expect that to work perfectly. Aperture does work just as it always did however, making one wonder why Apple decided to do away with the popular photo editor.

Going beyond Aperture, iTunes, and iPhoto, Retroactive can even go further and expand into more apps with other older Mac operating system as well, enabling the usage of Xcode 11.7, Final Cut Pro 7, Logic Pro 9, and iWork suite 09 in MacOS Mojave, or even macOS High Sierra.

While Retroactive will get these old Mac apps working on your modern MacOS hardware, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to continue working in the future, and it’d be wise to not depend on third party tweaks like this in order to run outdated software. Retroactive actually has an entire document dedicated to transitioning away from these unsupported older apps and into new and modern Mac apps, and that may be worth checking out if you’re not sure where to go next.

Have you ever used Retroactive to install and run Aperture, iTunes, or iPhoto on a modern Mac? What do you think of these apps or this tool in general? Share your perspectives in the comments.


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Posted by: Jamie Cuevas in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Expo Bill says:

    I am amazed how 2018 “tech” works better than the programs  is spewing out recently. iTunes is flawless compared to “music” with less clutter, less space and more responsive as the albums are easier to navigate.

    there are 2 quirks I need to bypass but overall im glad I installed iTunes and deleted everything “music” if they only had an ios version…..

    The most important aspect of the reinstall is the sound from iTunes is deeper, clearer and fuller on a pair of HomePod minis (i’m using the MBA and mini speaker compeer instead of iTunes airplay) and will sacrifice.

    I’m not pestered or asked every boot-up to join their useless monthly subscription service which I don’t need at all.

    this article probably stopped me from installing linuxon my Macs!

    so thanks….

    • Expo Bill says:

      on second thought, this is not a stable way to use iTunes, yes the non-bothering about joining music every launch is a blessing and nice and play back is much better
      the program just erased both iPods, a 32GB itouch and a 4GB Nano. Furthermore, the iPad “remote” app does not sync with so I need to use music along with iTunes of this to work fully.

  2. James Davidson says:

    I don’t know either why Apple dumped Aperture but I would wager a little money on the possibility that Adobe pushed them to dump it.
    Lightroom didn’t (and still doesn’t) hold a candle to Aperture. I’m so excited by the possibility of being able to run Aperture again

  3. arnii says:

    Apple’s decision to abandon Aperture was perhaps the stupidest one they’ve ever made. At the time they stopped updating it it was the best one-stop photo management/editing solution available. Glad to see a way to use it again, although it doesn’t have anything available that isn’t covered in the options that have replaced it.

  4. Dale Mackie says:

    If anyone is afraid to try out this app-Don’t be!
    I have ran Retroactive on my iMac since November of 2020, and to steal a quote from Apple…It just works.
    I run iTunes and Aperture and I have never had a hiccup of any kind on either app since I installed it.
    Just get the app, right click on it and you will be presented with the options it provides. Click on any app (or apps) you want to use and finally have your favorite apps from the past working perfectly on your computer.
    And by the way, software updates from Apple don’t effect your retroactive apps in any way.

  5. expobill says:


    thank you so much, that was the easiest GitHub process (perhaps dortina should take notes) and the 2011 iTunes version works with the  pods speakers. the only problem is updating beyond the 12.4 version (12.13.2 / December 15, 2023; 5 months ago). That would be my next task!

    again thank you for the article, OSXdaily!

  6. Bill says:

    Michael, the github page has a link to a much longer explanation about how it works.

  7. Craig says:

    Tried tin install Retroactive but my computer wouldn’t let me. Said the developer “could not be identified.” Using the latest version of the MacOS so this article above is not valid for me.

    • Jeffrey Sachs is Right says:

      As the article mentions, you have to right-click the app and choose “Open” to bypass Gatekeeper. If you don’t want to bypass Gatekeeper (reasonable) and you don’t trust unidentified developers (also reasonable), you won’t want to use any app that requires those compromises.

      Most people, including myself and likely yourself included, don’t need iTunes, Aperture, iPhoto, old Xcode anyway. Aperture and iPhoto are superseded by Photos. iTunes functionality is now in Finder and Music.

      Apps like Retroactive remind me of Hackintosh, which is super useful for a limited group of people, but widely not applicable.

  8. I never thought I’d hear myself say it, but yes, I do miss iTunes. As a non-subscriber to Apple Music (or any streaming service) I just want to listen to my same old MP3s, and the current Music desktop app is not great at that. A hundred small interface quirks, but they add up. I’m gonna give this a spin.

    • Follow-up: I’m still on Monterrey and iTunes works fine, except it doesn’t connect to the Apple Music Store. So some of my songs which request authorization won’t play due to an error.

      Also we can’t import Apple Music libraries, which isn’t entirely surprising. Would be nice if they could read-write the same Library, as well as the underlaying Media, but alas, we’ll live to fight another day.

      Still, for playing songs, it’s nice to have an old friend back.

  9. Michael Spencer says:

    Some discussion of how these things work would be helpful. What exactly are they doing?

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