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Where does OS X store your current desktop picture? I read somewhere else that it was in /Library/Caches/ But I don't have that directory.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Starting in Lion, I don't think Lion caches desktop pictures anymore (possibly because you can have multiple at a time, for different desktops/spaces).

In that case, use plutil -p to dump the binary plist file in text form using terminal:

 plutil -p ~/Library/Preferences/

The Apple delivered desktop images are stored in /Library/Desktop Pictures , so you can eliminate those (or seek those if you used an Apple picture for one or more spaces). Before Lion, the preference file that controls desktop images is text format any to find out the current image, open ~/Library/Preferences/ in a text editor and find the first ImageFilePath property. That will tell you the path to the current desktop image.

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Awesome! thanks! ~/Library/Preferences/ is what I was looking for. And I'm still on snow leopard. – Daniel Pendergast Aug 5 '11 at 0:28
I'm not seeing this file on mavericks, any other ideas? – Smitty Mar 11 '15 at 4:12

If you just go into system preference, then desktop. you can simple click and drag the little image you have onto your desktop.

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This doesn't say where the photo is stored, just that you can copy it somewhere else. – grgarside Apr 11 '14 at 12:16

It does allow you to retrieve the image if that is what you want. Also once you drag it to your desktop you'll know the filename and then you can use Spotlight to search for the original copy, thus finding the location that you stored it in.

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