In Yosemite, I am trying to upload a photo to website. So I open Photos, select a photo and then try to locate the location of the photo. However I could not find it. Before Photos it was possible in iPhoto. Is there a way to locate a photo in Finder? By the way if relevant, I am also using iCloud Storage for photos. However my hdd is big enough so it should be storing photos locally too.

  • So the "Photos “Show Referenced File in Finder” Option to Reveal the Original File in Mac OS X is not working ?
    – Ruskes
    Commented May 3, 2015 at 16:01
  • @Buscar웃 - where is that? I've never been able to figure out how to get pics to reveal in Finder since Photos, either.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 3, 2015 at 16:24
  • 2
    @Buscar웃 When I right click on a photo, there is no “Show Referenced File in Finder” link in menu. When I try to access from File, “Show Referenced File in Finder” exists however, it is disabled. Commented May 3, 2015 at 19:08
  • I can drag and drop the photo to desktop from "Photos". At least this way I can access to the photo file. Commented May 3, 2015 at 19:09

6 Answers 6


OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 - Photos Version 1.0 - Looks like Apple removed the option to show the photo in Finder.

Not the most direct method, but try this:

  1. Go to Photos Menu -> Preferences -> General

  2. Click the "Show in Finder" button in the dialog box. In Finder you'll see a "Photos Library" highlighted

  3. Right-click and select "Show Package Contents", this will show a directory listing

  4. Select and open the folder named "Masters"

  5. Browse by Year-Month-Date of when the photos or videos were created

I hope Apple restores the more direct "Locate in Finder" for the photo itself.

  • I don't see a shortcut named "Originals"
    – Charles
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 2:57
  • 1
    Apple renamed the "Originals" directory. It's now called "Masters". I submitted an edit to this answer.
    – plowman
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 20:54
  • 27
    Why did they take away the "Locate in Finder" option when the photo is right clicked? This is so annoying....
    – Powers
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 16:04
  • 1
    I think this is generally a poor idea and the reason is likely similar to the reason Apple removed the "Locate in Finder" item - mucking about in folders that Photos (or iPhoto) expect to be in a very specific format, with files very specifically arranged just so, is a recipe for disaster. In any event, if you choose to use this method be very careful or you may screw up your library or cause loss of files. I'm not really sure why dragging-and-dropping from Photos itself is so difficult or nonsensical.
    – tubedogg
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 2:33
  • 3
    Apple has changed their naming convention again, it's back to "originals". And it's no longer organized by date. So please see my complete answer below for a new way which I use to do this. apple.stackexchange.com/a/378946/147258
    – Rich
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 5:33

Check Preferences > General > Importing and see if the "Copy files" checkbox is checked.

If it is not: you have a referenced photo library. This means that all of your photos stay in their original locations when added to Photos. All that Photos does is make thumbnails and catalog the metadata so you can view your library. Therefore, Show Referenced File in Finder is available. Think of "reference" as a pointer in this context. Each thumbnail is basically a pointer to the original file, wherever it was when you added it to Photos.

If it is: you have a regular (non-referenced) photo library. This means that during an import, Photos copies all photos into it's own internal library bundle and manages where they are stored within that bundle. This is the default. However, this means that "Show referenced file" will not be available, because there is no "referenced" file, just the file that Photos is managing.

(iPhoto had a "Show in Finder" option that showed you the original photo on disk - this option is not present in Photos. My guess is it was removed because if those files were within the iPhoto library bundle, moving or renaming it would cause problems with iPhoto displaying it.)

  • 1
    @superarts.org It is not horrible design to try to prevent people from screwing up their managed Photos libraries. You don't have to let Photos manage your photos on disk. If you choose to do so, why would you subsequently be angry that the managed library is in an opaque format with a very simple-to-use option for getting originals back out? It's like going to McDonald's to be served cooked food and then being angry because you don't get to go back behind the counter and touch the hamburger patty before it gets put on the grill. (I acknowledge in advance it is not a perfect analogy.)
    – tubedogg
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 21:44

It's not available in the menu and mileage may vary when using the 'show referenced file' menu option. However, Photos does let you quickly export a selected file by pressing CMD + Shift + E or selecting 'File' > 'Export' > 'Export one photo'. The Export menu can also facilitate the export of the unmodified original.

Whilst this isn't the same as finding the original file, I find it is the quickest way to access a copy* and it therefore could be a suitable alternative for many users.

*I'm not clear how Photos exports a jpg if the file is already a jpg (copy or create new). So there could be some loss of quality over the original if exporting to a lossy file format like jpg.

  • As I wrote in the comments section of the question, you can also drag and drop the photo from "Photos" to another location. Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 23:09
  • Yes - that's a good way of doing it. I and others may not wish to do this they are working in the full screen view. The key additional piece of info is that some users may want to access the original/unmodified file and so I added this answer in for completeness.
    – Oliver
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 5:57

I will share my method. It is hard (thanks Apple for ignoring us on this!) but it works.
I'm assuming you are not using a "referenced library" as noted elsewhere here, but are importing all images into the Photos library. I might switch to a referenced library actually. But for now, this is how I do it.

In a non-referenced imported image library, note that Apple renames all images which it imports to names like "Pictures/Photos\ Library.photoslibrary/originals/1/1A0CFDAF-E43B-49E1-AC88-CD8CC9146947.jpeg" so you cannot just search for the photo name.


  1. Right click on the photo you want to look at in Photos.

  2. Choose "Edit in Safari" (Yeah I know this doesn't make sense, but wait...)

  3. Look at the path in Safari. It will be something like "file:///Volumes/2%20TB%20SSD%20external/Pictures/Photos%20Library.photoslibrary/private/com.apple.Photos/ExternalEditSessions/427E59A2-1DAB-4DBD-95AF-D538AE2D9E9A/IMG_1409.tiff"

  4. The "427E59A2-1DAB-4DBD-95AF-D538AE2D9E9A" is the name of the original file in the Photos library on your disk! "IMG_1409.tiff" is its title, which you will ignore.

  5. Assuming that your photos library is in your home directory as "Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary", launch the Terminal.app and type this:

find "~/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/originals/" -name "427E59A2-1DAB-4DBD-95AF-D538AE2D9E9A.*"

Note: Replace the 427E59A2-1DAB-4DBD-95AF-D538AE2D9E9A with the name you got from step 3. Don't forget the quotes, asterisks and other weird symbols there. They all mean something.

You should get the file location as the answer. Voila!
Apple has made this common and useful operation unnecessarily difficult.

Oh another note: if you don't want to use the terminal, you can just open "Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/originals/num" directory using the Finder (if you know how to look inside packages. Here "num" is the first digit of the photo name, which is "4" for my example of 427E59A2-1DAB-4DBD-95AF-D538AE2D9E9A. the file is in there, in alphabetical order.

  • "Apple has made this common and useful operation unnecessarily difficult." Have they? What exactly does your method provide that dragging-and-dropping from Photos to a folder doesn't? I will reiterate my earlier comments that Apple has gone out of their way to prevent users from mucking about in the library as it exists on disk because of the way it is structured and the ability of wrong one move to cause massive problems. If you do not understand exactly how the (undocumented) .photoslibrary bundle is designed and implemented, you should not be modifying or accessing anything within it.
    – tubedogg
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 6:18
  • 2
    @tubedogg protecting users from accidentally doing something bad is a good thing. But this design prevents users doing incredibly simple things easily. Like quickly looking for a photo. Finder does absolutely perfectly and photos is a layer that doesn't need to be forced on to users
    – stevec
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 19:28
  • 1
    @tubedogg just as an example. I need one photo. I've narrowed it down to 1 of 4 libraries. 1 library takes ~10 minutes to load into photos. It's unfathomable that it should take ~40 minutes to look for one photo... I appreciate the protection, but there has to be better ways
    – stevec
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 19:30
  • @stevec You seem to be saying contradictory things. If you don't want Photos as a "layer to be forced onto" you, then don't use it. Meanwhile you are discussing a completely different set of circumstances. Others are discussing finding the file in Finder that they already have located in Photos, which there is no need for because of the Export Original option.
    – tubedogg
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 21:33
  • @stevec You want to browse for a particular photo, which you can easily do in Finder. Right-click on the library, Show Package Contents. Command-F to open a search in this folder (you may need to click on "Photos Library.photoslibrary" instead of "This Mac" depending on your system preferences) then change Kind is Any to Kind is Images. Click on the first one, space bar for quick look, arrows to navigate. Done. Has nothing to do with how Photos is setup.
    – tubedogg
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 21:35

As others mentioned, "Show Referenced File in Finder" is now greyed out in the regular case where Photos.app is managing your library. Instead, select the photo and then choose File > Export > Export Unmodified Original to get the photo. Or, you may prefer the modified export, where it can (for example) create a smaller JPEG suitable for emailing.


If the goal is to use the photo in another app, then one way to do get what you want is to first drag the photo to the Finder, then drag or import it into the destination app. You'll then need to delete the files in the Finder afterwards. For some reason the current implementation of Photos forces us to do this step.

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