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I know that all pictures from 'photos' are stored in the photos library. I want to move the whole library to my hard disk due to space constraints. I know that they are located in the masters folder.

The problem is, pictures are located according to the date of import in many separate folders. Is there any method to get all of them into a single folder? It would be easier to browse if they were all in one big folder/fewer folders.

  • If you just want to move the library, don't attempt to pick apart its format, just move it - see apple.stackexchange.com/questions/259941/… for a method – Tetsujin Dec 28 '16 at 7:50
  • Thanks. I guess my library is already consolidated. Is that why it shows in grey (I'm not able to click on it). So I can't separate folders right? – Polisetty Dec 28 '16 at 8:10
  • If 'Copy items to Photos Library' has always been checked, then there's nothing to consolidate & the entire PhotosLibrary can be copied/moved as one entity. For safety, I'd copy it, check the copy is good before deleting the old. You can dictate which Lib to use if you hold opt straight after you launch Photos – Tetsujin Dec 28 '16 at 8:15
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Is there any method to get all of them into a single folder? It would be easier to browse if they were all in one big folder/fewer folders.

You can use Finder to search for all files.

  • Open ~/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/Masters in Finder*
  • Press +F
  • Select Search: “Masters” in the toolbar
  • Select Type: Image as a search criterion, or
  • Use the + button to add more search criteria as required

This will show all photos as a flat list. (Thus, copying them will copy the individual files without the folder structure.)

For easy access, you can use the Smart Folder feature to store this search for later. Just press the save button.


* If you're using Mac OS in a language other than English, the folder may be named in your language, like ~/Pictures/Fotos-Mediathek.photoslibrary/Masters or ~/Pictures/Phototèque.photoslibrary/Masters. The easiest way is to type open ~/Pictures/*.photoslibrary/Masters from a terminal.

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