I'm using Yosemite's Photos app (switching from iPhoto).

I had a bunch of image files (about 200) on my desktop which I imported with the new Photos app.

I want to clean up my desktop, as all the image files are still there. The issue is that I've always found it bit confusing as far as where the source image files are stored for the iPhoto and Photos app.

I assume that they'll be gone altogether if I delete the files from my desktop. Is this correct?

2 Answers 2


OS X (10.10) Yosemite's Photos app stores all photos in its own library.

You can find this library in your «Pictures» folder (/Users/USERNAME/Pictures/Photos Library).

So any image that is imported is stored in that library (unless you have specified otherwise in the Photos app's preferences).

 has made a nice «Get started» page you should take a look at. There it states:

Photos stores your library in the Pictures folder on your Mac by default.

As a conclusion: You can safely delete any image files that has already been imported.

On a side note: You can also view the raw image files inside the Photos Library by right clicking, selecting Show Package Contents and navigating to the Masters folder.

  • 1
    You can also add to your answer that selecting File > Export > Export Unmodified Original in Photos, will allow you to export the files that you added to your Photos library. This bypasses the need to go through Finder and navigate the several layers of folders that Photos creates when storing a picture within the library.
    – AMR
    Aug 28, 2015 at 6:05

The Photos App stores your photos in its own library.

Check your settings (see screenshot) to be sure they were copied to the library. If so, then they are safe to delete.

To get to the Settings, in the Menu bar select Photos > Preferences... [command ⌘+,]

If you really want to be sure, move them to a flash drive or other location. Open Photos and see if the photos are still there. If so, then they were copied. If not, set the Import settings to copy and reimport them into Photos after you adjust the settings as shown below.

Photos Settings

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