Most photo applications provides some way to toggle between the original (unedited) version of a photo and the current (edited) one.

In Aperture, "M" toggles between the two, many iOS photo apps let you touch the screen to compare the edited or filtered version to the original, etc.

I can't find any way to show the original in the new Photos app other than "reverting," which removes all the edits.

I don't want to remove them, I just want to compare the two.

I realize that I can "revert" then undo, but it's hacky, slow, and worse, dangerous - counting on undo to preserve work in any app is iffy, at best.

Note: The fact that Aperture edits are saved "less destructively" than Photos shouldn't be relevant here. Both applications DO retain the original, in edition to the edited version.

  • M seems to work for me, as @user129036 suggests. Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 22:06

4 Answers 4


While in Edit mode, hold down the Control and M keys.

This will show you the original version of your photo, with no edits applied. If you want to temporarily undo the effect of the color adjustments but keep the cropping and rotation the same, hold down M by itself.

Unlike Aperture:

  • It doesn’t work in “view mode”; you have to be in edit mode. (To get into edit mode via the keyboard, press Return.)
  • It’s a hold, not a toggle, so you only see the original photo for as long as you have the keys held down.
  • Thanks - really helpful. I think I missed it because I expected "m" to toggle, so I wasn't holding it long enough to see it work.
    – Jaydles
    Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 13:36
  • This isn't working for me in Photos Version 1.3 (350.23.0) Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 4:43
  • I’m using Photos 1.5 (370.42.0) and this doesn’t work for me either. Holding down m is still mentioned in the Keyboard Shortcuts window, though. I guess I’ll open a bug report…
    – bdesham
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 19:25
  • 1
    It turns out that holding down m does work for me, but that it won’t undo certain kinds of edits: cropping, rotation by 90° (by clicking "Rotate"), or fine-grained rotation (by clicking "Crop") are not reset when you hold down m. I dislike this behavior and I opened a bug report telling Apple so. @SimonWoodside maybe this was the problem you were having too?
    – bdesham
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 19:40
  • Apple told me that If you hold down Control and M then you can undo all of your edits, including cropping and straightening. I’ve edited the answer to include this information.
    – bdesham
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 0:07

For now you could toggle between CMD + Z and Revert to Original from the Image menu.

Additionally you can make the process faster by adding a keyboard shortcut:

  • Go to System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts and then select App Shortcuts
  • Click the + and select Photos from the app list
  • Type 'Revert to Original' in the menu title field and choose a keyboard shortcut. I used CMD + Y.

Now you can flick back and forth by pressing CMD + Y and CMD + Z

  • On a sidenote, if you find yourself accidentally pressing CMD + Z when you needed the CMD + Y, you need to type CMD + Shift + Z to redo the undo, as you don't want to undo your last edit instead of reverting the image.
    – Tum
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 11:57

Why not duplicate the photo (by right clicking) and then edit one of them. Now, clicking the right and left arrow will compare the original and your edits. You could delete the original when you're done, since it's still available by reverting the edits on the other image.


I think you need to export them =(

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .