This article is almost useless for most users, but I think it should be present in our manuals collection. And this material can be useful in the following cases, for example, when you need to “get” photos from your iPhone, iPad library to your Mac. In general, there is where to apply.

The Photo app on a Mac has a fairly large number of subtleties associated with storing and editing data. In this article, we will tell you where the Photo library is stored, how files are located and sorted, why there are no changes in the files created in the application and what nuances you need to know when working with it.

Store Photos and Videos

Any images or videos imported into the Photo program are stored in the application’s own library. In fact, the data is copied, which is why after dragging media files into the Photo window and completing the import process, you can safely delete the folder with the originals in the Finder.

Where iPhoto Pictures Are Stored

By default, the library is stored in the Images folder located in your macOS account and it is called Media Library Photo.photoslibrary (Photos Library .photoslibrary). The library is represented as a single solid file in the Finder, but in reality it is just a specific element containing a set of physical folders.

iPhoto 11 (9.0) Photo Library Storage Location:

~/Pictures/iPhoto Library.photolibrary/Masters/ 

iPhoto 10 picture library:

~/Pictures/iPhoto Library.photolibrary/Masters/

iPhoto 9 pictures location:

/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Masters/

iPhoto 8 and prior versions pictures location:

/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Originals/

To open the Photo library and view its contents, right-click on the file and select the Show Package Contents pop-up menu item. Explorer will show hidden directories and library files.

Read more: How to Save iPhone Text Messages and iMessages?

When you get to the library through the Finder and open the “Masters” folder, you can see the subfolders sorted by year, month and day of their creation, so look for the necessary images much more conveniently through the Photo application itself. In addition, the Finder will display only original images and videos, regardless of whether you applied editing tools to them (cropping, filters, and other settings). We will write out this moment in a separate chapter of this manual.

If there are no files in the “Masters” folder, it means that you have disabled the automatic copying of files to the photo library during the import. It is necessary to clear the library and drag the files into the program window again.

ATTENTION! Do not edit the files inside the library yourself through the Finder! Otherwise, the Photo application can lose either some changes or settings, or damage the library with data.


The Photo Library can be moved either to another place on the disk, or to another disk or Mac, copied using Time Machine or backed up to any safe place. When moving to another drive, make sure that it is formatted with HFS +, otherwise you will not be able to use the iCloud Photo Library.

It’s the best time to ask questions and give us your feedback in comments.


Hi there! My Name is Vincent Lago! My goal is to share insightful reviews, guides, and manuals for people looking to know more about current solutions for Apple hardware and OS. I have years of technological background knowledge including owning a custom iMacs & PCs which was using for different types of business. And now, I want to share my experience with you.

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