How to “Show In Finder” the Original File in Photos App for Mac OS X
The ability to quickly jump to a photo in the Finder file system of Mac OS has changed in the new Photos app. For now, the traditional “Reveal In Finder” option in Photos app for Mac OS X is missing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show the original file in the Finder or access the photos from the Mac file system.
There are actually a few ways to access the original image file in the Finder from Photos app, and one method works almost exactly to the “Show In Finder” option that used to exist in iPhoto and Aperture. Read on to learn three different ways to reveal an original image file in the Mac Finder from Photos app for Mac.
Option 1: Use the Photos “Show Referenced File in Finder” Option to Reveal the Original File in Mac OS X
The Photos “Show Referenced File In Finder” function is basically exactly the same as the “Reveal in Finder” option that existed in prior photo management apps in Mac OS. But there’s a catch: you must be manually managing your photo library, and not importing copies into Photos app library. In fact, if you’re not self-managing the library, the “Show Referenced File in Finder” option won’t even exist, it will be grayed out or just outright invisible. If you don’t import image copies into Photos app however, this feature works great and is quite simple:
- From Photos app, right-click (two-finger click on trackpads) on any image you want to access in Finder
- Choose “Show Referenced File in Finder” from the option list to immediately jump to that image files finder location
You can also access the same option from the File menu of Photos app:
- Select an image in Photos app for Mac OS X and pull down the “File” menu
- Choose “Show Referenced File in Finder” to open the original files location within the Mac file system
Whichever way you access this feature, you will end up in the Finder with the original image selected.
Option 2: Access the Original Image File with a Drag & Drop from Photos App to a Mac Folder
If you choose to maintain the default Photos function of importing and copying pictures into a distinct Photos library, the “Show Referenced File in Finder” won’t be available to you. This means you’ll need to use a workaround to access the original image, perhaps the most simple is a basic drag and drop:
Just select the image you want to access in the Finder of Mac OS X, and drag it from the Photos app into a folder on the Mac desktop. A copy of the file – not the original – will reveal itself in the location you dropped the picture.
Option 3: Use Finder to Dig Around in Photos.photoslibrary
Not necessarily recommended but another possibility is to root around in the Photos.photoslibrary package found in ~/Pictures/ and manually attempt to locate the master image file(s). This works, but the .photoslibrary packages are clearly not intended to be user facing, and the directories are not organized in a manner that makes them easy to browse. While this is possible, we do not recommend this unless the above methods don’t work and you absolutely must access the original image file, mostly because improper handling of these master picture files can lead to problems in Photos app, or worse, the loss of an image or photo.
The video below quickly shows how you can access the Photos app master image files through Finder in Mac OS X
The Photos.photoslibrary file is located in the user Pictures folder with the following icon:
Perhaps a future update to Mac OS X Photos app will include a “Show In Finder” option natively for all photo libraries, that would certainly be a welcome feature for many Mac users. In the meantime, if you have migrated a library into Photos app from iPhoto or Aperture, you won’t have the right-click option unless you specifically chose to stop import copying files into Photos before you moved the library over. The only real workaround to that would be to make a new Photos app library and having it use references rather than copying into the app itself.
Do you know of another way to access the original picture file of an image found in Photos app? Is there a better or faster way to get quick Finder access to referenced photos? Let us know in the comments!