iPhoto: How do I access the actual files?


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 22, 2007
How can I see the actual files of my photographs and images in Finder? iPhoto just creates an "iPhoto Library" it it gives me no access to the files themselves. If I'm uploading photos to a forum or Facebook I need to access the files. Any idea how I can do this? Thanks. :)
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Administrator emeritus
Jan 15, 2006
The Kop
Right click on that "iPhoto Library" and click show contents.

Or within iPhoto right click "Show File"


macrumors 603
Jan 28, 2005
American Riviera
Don't go into the Finder to get your photos. Instead, just drag a picture from iPhoto to the desktop, and it'll make a copy. If you'd like more control over it, you can select the photo and choose Export from the File menu. You'll get a range of options going this route.

Stay away from the Finder!


macrumors 6502a
Feb 20, 2005
Nashville, TN, USA
Stay out of the finder! Users are not meant to go into the finder to do anything to their photos. Mucking abouit in there is the surest and quickest way to corrupt and/or lose your photos. Do anything and everything to/with your photos from within the app. Export and drag-n-drop are your friends -- use them!


macrumors regular
Aug 18, 2008
sorry to drag up an old topic here, but I'm new to iPhoto as I switched over to mac recently, and I guess I just don't get the mentality behind iPhoto working this way (or maybe I'm just not clear on how it works).

Why is being able to access the photo files themselves in finder such a problematic idea? Were they actually that worried that people cant handle accessing/opening an image file in finder without somehow ruining/corrupting it some way? I'd hope they have more confidence in users than that...
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macrumors 6502a
Nov 30, 2008
Moving the originals from the iPhoto library in finder doesn't support you being able to use them in iPhoto any more after that.


macrumors 6502
Jul 10, 2006
This is being really over complicated here ...

Actually there is a specific built in function into the Finder to do just this. If you are in most programs and you go to "File" ... "Open File..."... you then get a file browser like normal. If you scroll down the categories on the left hand side you will see "Photos" which if clicked on gives you full access to your iPhoto, Aperture and PhotoBooth library in their entirety. Events, Projects, Albums, Smart Albums etc etc etc .... This is all you need to do. I also second the iPhoto and Aperture plug-ins as well. They work wonderfully.

OldSkoolNJ :apple:



macrumors newbie
Dec 6, 2008
So I'm a little confused about how iPhoto works.
I thought it was importing a copy into it's own library and leaving the original alone.

So if I import photos from an external HDD into iPhoto library then subsequently delete one - am I deleting the original on the external HDD or am I deleting it from iPhoto library only?! :eek:


macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2006
Northern California
By default, iPhoto will import a photo into the library and leave the original alone. The original file is not linked to iPhoto in any way. The one in the iPhoto library is stored inside the iPhoto library file.


macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2008
I haven't quite got the hang of iphoto's file handling either. I moved my photos over from my PC (about 50 GB worth) where I had them sorted into folders on several levels. I wish iphoto would just keep files sorted in folder like itunes rather than just lumping them all into one big file.

So iPhoto seems useless to me for keeping and sorting more than a few photos unless there's a way to have nested folders etc. I do like the basic editing functions and that I can email a small copy of a photo without having to resize it then send it.
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macrumors newbie
Sep 2, 2008
Yes I have always wondered why iphoto library can't be accessed for purposes like uploading to online accounts like facebook. As someone mentioned, there is a plugin to use iphoto directly for facebook which is great, but I'm a music journalist who takes lots of pictures at concerts, an average of 150 pictures each at 15 concerts per month. I need to make as many people see my photos as I possibly can, so I use more than one social accounts like facebook, orkut and myspace.

What I'm forced to do is this:
1. Import all pictures from camera to iphoto
2. Out of all those, copy the pictures which I want to use for uploading.
3. Paste them in a folder on my hard drive.
4. Use that folder to access the files for uploading and emailing etc.

So. if anyone can tell me how to avoid wasting double memory space, it would be GREATLY helpful for me. If I keep double-copying photos on my HD like this, I'll soon run out of memory space!!

Now what would be ideal, is this:
Whenever I have to upload on say Facebook, I can use the 'browse' option in facebook and select the original files from the iphoto library itself, something which is not possible at the moment.
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macrumors 6502a
Dec 26, 2008
Calgary, AB
Wow this thread is old. It doesn't really apply to you anymore because it's so old. Just get iLife '09 and the Facebook/Flickr/MobileMe/E-mail is built right into the program.
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