Where Are Apple Photos Stored?.
Ever wondered where Apple Photos stores photos on your Mac? Most likely, yes, since these photos are not found anywhere on your system as regular files.
The reason you can’t access Photos in Photos as you would regular files is because they are stored in a library file. These files work differently from regular folders, so you cannot directly access them to view your photos.
However, there are ways to access the contents of these libraries, move those Apple Photos Libraries to other locations such as an external drive, and even modify and create new libraries.
Apple Photo Library Site
If you or someone else hasn’t changed the path, you will find the Apple Photos Library along the following path on your Mac. To access the library, you need to replace the username with your own.
/ Users / / Images /
In this folder, you will see an item called “Photo Library”. This is the Photos app library for your images, and this is where Apple’s photos are stored. It contains your entire collection of photos that you see in the Photos app.
How to back up photos from Apple Photo Library
One way to export photos from the Apple Photos library is to use the Photos app itself. There is an option to export photos from your library to any location on your Mac or external drive.
However, if you don’t want to go that route for some reason, there is another way to view and back up specific photos from your Apple Photos library. This method does not require opening the Photos app at all.
- To access the Apple Photos Library, use the Finder to follow the path below.
/ Users / / Pictures /
- Don’t double-click the library or it will open in the Photos application. Instead, right-click it and select the Show Package Contents option. This will allow you to view the contents of the library.
- You will find several folders inside the library file. Find the folder labeled Masters and double-click it to open it.
- You will see different folders for your photos. These are the folders that store the photos from your library, and you can open any of them to access and view your photos.
- When you find the photo or photos you want to back up, right-click it and select Copy.
- Open the folder where you want to save the photo, right-click anywhere in an empty spot and select Insert Item.
This method allows you to use images from the Apple Photos library like regular files on your Mac.
Change Apple Photo Library Location
If your Photo Library is taking up too much memory on your Mac, you can move it to an external drive and save space on your computer. Your library will continue to work as it does now.
You can also delete a library from one folder to another on your Mac using this method.
- Access your Apple Photos library from the following location on your Mac.
/ Users / / Pictures /
- Right-click the library file named Photo Library and select Copy Photo Library.
- Navigate to the folder you want to move your library to, on your Mac or external hard drive, right-click anywhere on an empty spot on the screen, and select Paste Item.
- After the entire library has been copied, double-click the copied library file and it will open in the Photos application. The app now knows that you have changed the location of your library and this will be reflected in the app’s preferences pane.
- Once you’ve made sure everything works with the recently moved library, you can get rid of the old library file. Navigate to the next folder using Finder on your Mac.
/ Users / / Pictures /
- Locate the library file, right-click it and select Move to Trash.
- Right-click the trash can icon and select Empty Trash to get rid of the duplicate library permanently.
Use other libraries in Apple Photos
Apple Photos gives you the ability to open and work with any library on your Mac or other drives. The only thing you need to do is select the library you want to open when you launch the Photos app and that’s it.
- Click the launcher in the Dock and find the Photos app. Don’t run the app yet.
- Press and hold the Option key on your keyboard and click the application.
- You will receive a request asking which library you want to open with the application. Click the button labeled “Other Library” to select the library to load into the application.
- Select the library file anywhere on your Mac or external hard drive and it will open in the Photos app.
Create a new library in Apple Photos
Sometimes you might run into an issue where Apple Photos app refuses to load your library by default. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common reasons is library file corruption.
If this ever happens, you can create a new library and have the application run successfully.
- Press and hold the Option key on your keyboard and click the Photos app on the launcher to open it.
- Click the “Create New” button to create a completely new library for your photos.
- On the next screen, enter the name of your library in the Save As field, select the folder where you want to save the library from the Where drop-down menu and finally click OK. to create a library.
Select a specific system library in Apple Photos
To use features such as iCloud Photos, Shared Albums, and My Photo Stream, you need to define a designated system library in the Apple Photos app. If you don’t and try to access these functions, you will receive a message similar to the following.
The good thing is that you can make any of your libraries the default system library.
- Press and hold the Option key on your keyboard and click the Photos app.
- Select the additional library that you want to make the default library and click Select Library. The library you selected will open in the application.
- Click the Photos menu in the upper left corner of the screen and select the Settings option.
- Click on the General tab at the top if you’re not already there.
- You will find a button labeled “Use as System Photo Library”. Click on it and your current library will become the default system library for the Photos app.
Now that you know where Apple Photos are stored, what are you planning to do with your photos? Will you move them to a new location, such as an external hard drive or cloud storage? We are interested to find out in the comments below.