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 May 3 '15 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 May 3 '15 at 16:24
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    @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. – Nuri Tasdemir May 3 '15 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. – Nuri Tasdemir May 3 '15 at 19:09

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.

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  • I don't see a shortcut named "Originals" – Charles Jun 29 '15 at 2:57
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    Apple renamed the "Originals" directory. It's now called "Masters". I submitted an edit to this answer. – plowman Jul 28 '15 at 20:54
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    Why did they take away the "Locate in Finder" option when the photo is right clicked? This is so annoying.... – Powers Sep 4 '15 at 16:04
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    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 Aug 27 '16 at 2:33
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    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 Jan 4 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.)

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  • Unclear why this was downvoted, as it is completely accurate. (Obviously excluding my speculation on why Show in Finder was removed.) – tubedogg May 3 '15 at 21:22
  • This explains it! – Weishi Zeng Aug 5 '16 at 7:20
  • @tubedogg I agree it is accurate, but on the other hand, it is useless for people who want to find where the actual file is stored. I guess some people are pissed off because of the lack of this feature, and this answer sounds like "it is the way it is, just accept it" which may make these people even more angry to downvote. The most upvoted answer, on the other hand, does show a way to fix the problem. (Personally I would say this is horrible design of Apple.) – superarts.org Nov 18 '19 at 2:20

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.

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  • As I wrote in the comments section of the question, you can also drag and drop the photo from "Photos" to another location. – Nuri Tasdemir Sep 5 '15 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 Sep 9 '15 at 5:57

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.

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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.

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  • "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 Jan 29 at 6:18

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

show in finder

Or from File Menu in Photos:

You can also access the same option from the File menu of Photos app:

Select an image in Photos app for 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

But it is not working always:

Perhaps a future update to 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.

source: http://osxdaily.com/2015/04/22/show-original-file-from-photos-app-mac-finder-osx/

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  • I have it in the File menu, but greyed out, not in the right-click menu at all. – Tetsujin May 3 '15 at 17:27
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    Wow! They've done a real Microsoft on this one, haven't they? Has anyone found any single thing in Photos that is actually better than iPhoto was? – Tetsujin May 3 '15 at 17:59
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    @Tetsujin it is Sunday, relax, and no swearing :) – Ruskes May 3 '15 at 18:08
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    I apologise for saying the 'M-word' ;) – Tetsujin May 3 '15 at 18:21
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    "Show referenced file" is working exactly as intended. If you do not have a referenced photo library (check Preferences > General > Importing; if "Copy files" is checked, you do not have a referenced photo library), there is no referenced file to show. Likely they removed the "Show in Finder" option due to support requests from people who viewed photos within the iPhoto library structure and then screwed it up. I'm not sure what viewing in Finder does for you anyway - you can copy the photo to another location by dragging it from Photos to a folder in Finder. – tubedogg May 3 '15 at 19:36

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