Photos can be taken by the Mac Webcam, or even uploaded through iTunes, iPhone, or a memory card and stored for easy access on Mac. The Mac Photo app manages most of the images once they are stored on a Mac computer.
However, you may wonder just where are the photos on your Mac stored. This tutorial will show you where your photos are actually stored on Mac and in the iCloud, and show how you can access them.
Photos Stored on Photo app Library
Accessing your photos through the Phone app is perhaps the most straightforward approach to locating the photo files on Mac. Photo app photos are located in the same containers and in the same parent directory as the iPhone images and Photo Booth files. If the Photo app is installed on your Mac, then most of your photos are likely stored in the following location:
~ represents your home directory and what you must use to implement the Go To folder command to access the directory. This is a local location for the photos, as some may be stored in the iCloud. To access the photos stored locally on Mac, follow these steps:
1. Go to Finder and then go to your home directory
2. Go to Photos and search for the file Photos Library.photoslibrary in the Photos folder.
3. When you locate the file, right click or Control + Click on the Photos Library.photoslibrary
4. Select Show Package Contents (This folder is hidden as it is not recommended for use by anyone except an administrator.):
5. Open the Masters folder. This folder contains photo directories by specific date.
You can click on any photo and it will be enlarged inside the Photo app. Any files that you delete from this directory will be permanently deleted.
6. Locate your photos within the Photos app and you can download them to your desktop.
Note: You can also access photos in the Photo app by choosing Quick Look “Photos” from the drop down menu, or by using Show Referenced to open Finder with the file displayed in the Window. You can also locate your photos in the Photos folder on your Mac.
Photos Stored in iCloud
iCloud stores many of the documents and media that are generated on your Apple devices to save space for more applications on the device. iOS now has a centralized panel that allows you to view documents in your iCloud. Your Mac has the same feature under System Preferences. However, you can still access your photos through iCloud.com on your Mac.
1. Go to the iCloud website from your browser. Or go to Settings > iCloud on your Mac:
2. Once you are logged into iCloud, you should see a desktop with icons for the different applications on your Mac.
3. Click on the iCloud Drive icon and choose Photos. iCloud will show a Library of the application files, Hidden files, and Recently Deleted files for the Photos application:
4. You should be able to see the number of image files and the time the files were last updated toward the bottom of the screen. The files may be separated by the month.
5. To recover deleted image files, click on Recently Deleted Files and search the list. Or, go to Settings > Restore Files.
6. You may click on Select on the right side of the screen to highlight a photo.
7. Under Library, there should be an Album option with Media Types. Click on Album to open a group of files that were saved during a specific period.
8. When you are done viewing the contents of your Photos account, log out of iCloud.
Contact Apple Support
If you have not been able to find your photos storage on Mac you can contact Apple Support, the Apple Forums, or the Genius Bar for more help.