I have a large Photos library with approximately 100+ folders in My Album. I have set System Preferences Desktop to use my complete Photos library as source for wallpaper.
Occasionally I have a desktop wallpaper I would like to find the original Photos picture and folder in My Albums where it is located.

Earlier, in this forum, I found this command:

osascript -e 'tell app "finder" to get posix path of (get desktop picture as alias)'
/Users/snaguru/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/Masters/2013/09/29/20130929-164330/P1010004.JPG

When I search in Photos for P1010004.JPG I get displayed 16 pictures, none of which is the specific pictures used as wallpaper I am interested in. I have tried to use some parts of this path name to search in Photos but come up with a Not Found response.

Is there a way to find out the exact location in Photos (My Albums and sub-folder/sub-directory) of the original picture used as the wallpaper?

1 Answer 1


Here's a different approach: http://osxdaily.com/2011/11/20/show-the-location-path-of-current-wallpaper-in-mac-os-x/ In essence, type the following commands in Terminal.app:

  • Reveal the file path of the current wallpaper on the Desktop:

    defaults write com.apple.dock desktop-picture-show-debug-text -bool TRUE; killall Dock

  • Once revealed, hide the file path from the Desktop:

    defaults write com.apple.dock desktop-picture-show-debug-text -bool FALSE; killall Dock

It works this way on all recent macOS versions from 10.10 Yosemite onward (including Catalina).

  • Ok. I don't see how to reply to the previous replies.
    – snaguru
    Commented Dec 7, 2019 at 2:15
  • I don't see how the previous responses answers the question.
    – snaguru
    Commented Dec 7, 2019 at 2:16
  • 1
    In the approach I describe, the file path and name will appear centred on the wallpaper when desktop-picture-show-debug-text is set to TRUE. You can again hide this info by setting the parameter to FALSE. Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 10:22
  • ShutterFreak, I understand that. What I want is the Photos folder name and image name currently being used as wallpaper. The "desktop-picture-show-debug-text" variable doesn't provide me with any information that shows what I want. It only shows me the raw file path of where image is located, which as far as I can tell doesn't give me the Photos folder and image name. Maybe I don't recognize the components (directory, sub-directory, etc) contained in the full path name for the image being the information I want.
    – snaguru
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 11:10
  • 1
    I hoped I could give you that golden answer, but alas, nothing easy popped up so far. What you could do to more easily find the given photo, is to use the mdsltool or the free command-line utility exiftool. You can run it on the picture location displayed on the desktop, e.g.: mdls ~/Pictures/Photos\ Library.photoslibrary/originals/0/000ABC39-2ABB-4BC9-9333-82DA3CDACB33.jpeg (it will provide you details about the exact date and timestamp the photo was taken) Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 8:54

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