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This is basically a duplicate of this question, which was answered for prior versions, but whose answer is no longer applicable in El Capitan.

My question includes programmatically: if there's a programmatic / Cocoa way to access the Photo Stream contents stored (somewhere?) on your computer, then perhaps we can build a filesystem-in-userspace or similar to access them?

  • I have not heard of Apple releasing an SDK for Photostream (which is very unfortunate). – bassplayer7 Jan 20 '16 at 1:59
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So, I've answered this for myself: iCloud Photo Library photos are buried in subfolders of "~/Pictures/*.photoslibrary/Masters" on El Capitan!

Using a savedSearch, the same approach as was popular under Yosemite and earlier, we can create a Finder folder that lists, chronologically, your Photo Stream. The XML version is here (you may have to modify some paths), or you can download my pre-compiled version instead:

iCloud Photos smart-folder

Ta-da!

List of iCloud Photos files in the Finder

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