Where Are Photos Stored On Mac And How To Find Them?

Most people store their photos and other media on their phones and laptops. If you are a Mac user, your photos will ultimately be stored in the Photos app on your MacBook. However, using the Photos app can be tricky as many features and options are available. Also, Mac uses different locations or places to store downloaded and deleted photos. So, it is imperative to know where photos are stored on Mac to access and organize them easily. In the following article, we will learn about the Photos app on your Mac and how to find photos on your device. Let’s get started!

Know How Do Photos Work on Mac

Usually, Mac stores all the Photos on the Photos app. It is a built-in program for handling pictures on your MacBook. However, importing and syncing media on the Photos app isn’t as easy as it may sound.

This is why you need to understand first how the Photos app works before we dive deep into “where are photos stored on Mac?“. So, the following is a quick introduction to the basic features you can find in the Photos app on your Mac:

Importing Photos

You may transfer photos to your Mac from your camera, iPhone, or other devices. These imported photos are usually imported into the Photos app. This process is seamless, and the app automatically stores your images.

The Photos Library

All imported and synced photos are stored in the Photos Library on your Mac. This Library contains a vast collection of your photos and other media. Also, the Photos App manages the Photos Library.

Organizing Your Photos

Photos app allows you to manage your media in different albums, events, and moments. The app also sorts your photos based on date, location, and similar faces.

iCloud Photo Library

This feature is ideal for users accessing their media across multiple devices. When enabled, this feature syncs your entire Photos Library with iCloud. Thus, you can access your media on your other Apple devices, like iPhone and iPad.

Editing Photos

The Photos app also includes essential photo editing tools. Using these tools, you can make quick adjustments, apply filters, crop, and enhance your images.

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Where are Photos Stored on Mac?

As said earlier, photos are stored on the Photos app on your Mac. Still, finding the photo you are looking for takes a series of steps. So, let’s move to the step-by-step guide on where photos are stored on Mac and how to find them. This is how you can do that:

  • Click the Photos app icon in the dock to open the app. You’ll see all your pictures in the main window when it opens.
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Clicking on the Photos
  • By default, the Photos app organizes your pictures by date and location in the Moments view. You can scroll down to see your photos grouped by days and places. Click any moment to view the photos within it.
  • To find specific groups of photos, go to the Albums tab at the top of the Photos app. You’ll see different albums like Favorites, Recently Added, Videos, and more here. You can click any album to view its contents.
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Selecting My Albums
  • Find the Search bar if you do not find any particular picture in the Photos app. It is located at the top right corner. Enter keywords, locations, dates, or recognized faces to see that photo.
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Finding Photos using Search
  • Next, go to the Library tab in the sidebar to view all your pictures in a grid layout. Scroll to view your entire photo collection.
Navigating to Library
Navigating to Library
  • In the Library, you can also select Moments, Collections, or Years to organize photos and view them in larger groups.
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Organising Photos to View Well

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Where are Imported Photos Stored on Mac?

Imported photos on Mac are those pictures that you transfer from external devices. These devices can be your iPhone or cameras, etc.

When you transfer media from external gadgets to your Mac, you can find them in the Imports category in the Photos app. Also, the app organizes media by dates. This way, you can quickly locate and access recently imported photos. The Photos app allows users to manage, edit, and organize their imported photos on their Mac computers.

Let’s dive deeper into the following step-by-step guide on where photos are stored on Mac if they are imported (transferred).

  • Open the Photos app and navigate to the side panel.
  • Find the Imports category at the bottom of the Photos section. This is where you can find all the imported photos from your iPhone or other devices.
Clicking on Imports
Clicking on Imports
  • When you first open Imports, you’ll see your latest imported photos. But you can also find photos imported earlier by scrolling through the list.
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Finding the Latest Imported Photos
  • Next, use the filter feature in the Photos app. Click Showing: All Items in the top-right corner of the Imports window. Here, you can select specific categories like Favorites, Edited photos, Regular Photos, or Videos. This further refines your search and helps you look for imported media.
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Selecting Specific Photo Category

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Where are Downloaded Photos Stored on Mac?

When you download a picture or video on your Mac, it goes to the Downloads folder. It has various categories and features to help you locate your downloaded media. So, let’s see in the following step-by-step guide where photos are stored on Mac if you download them.

  • Look for the Finder icon in your Mac’s taskbar and click to launch the Finder app.
Finding the Finder Icon on Mac
Finding the Finder Icon on Mac
  • Navigate to the Downloads folder. You can find it in the left panel of the Finder window. Find a list of shortcuts and select Downloads to access the folder. Once the folder opens, you can see all your downloaded files.
Clicking on Downloads
Clicking on Downloads
  • Scroll down the list of files in the Downloads folder to find the photos you want.
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Finding the Photos in Downloads
  • If you want to find your photos fast, select the grouping icon. You can locate it in the top-right corner (the fifth icon next to the upload icon). Once selected, click Kind in the drop-down menu. This will sort your downloads into relevant categories.
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Sorting Photos
  • After you select the Kind option, you will see all your downloads sorted into their relevant categories. Look for the Images category. This feature will group all the image files you’ve downloaded. You can scroll through this section to find the specific photos you want.
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Searching the Photos in Images Category

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Where are Deleted Photos Stored on Mac and How to Restore Them?

Did you accidentally delete your photos on Mac? The good thing is that you can restore them. Mac has a feature to keep deleted photos for up to 40 days, so you can quickly restore them. However, you must note that once 40 days are over, Mac will permanently remove your deleted photos from your Mac. So, make sure you restore them within 40 days of deletion.

Let’s dive into the step-by-step guide on where photos are stored on Mac if you delete them and how to restore those deleted photos.

  • Open the Photos app on your Mac.
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Opening Photos App on Mac
  • In the left panel of the Photos app, click Recently Deleted. It’s the last option in the Photos section.
Clicking on Recently Deleted
Clicking on Recently Deleted
  • Inside the folder, you’ll see all the photos you’ve deleted recently. The countdown below each photo shows the time left before they are permanently removed. As mentioned earlier, Mac removes each photo permanently after 40 days of deletion.
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Checking Countdown Time of the Deleted Photos

How to Restore Deleted Photos on Mac?

  • To recover a deleted photo, click it once to preview it.
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Clicking on the Deleted Photo
  • Select Recover, located at the top-right corner of the window. It will restore the photo and store it in your Library.
Selecting Recover Option
Selecting Recover Option

Once you recover a deleted photo, it returns to its original location in the Photos Library. You can easily find the restored photo in the Photos app by going to the Photos tab in the sidebar. You will find the restored photo here and the rest of your pictures in the Library.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where are photos stored on Mac by default?

By default, Mac stores photos in the Photos Library. The Photos app manages it and keeps all imported and synced images from various devices. You can get the Photos Library in the Pictures folder on your Mac.

Can I store my photos in a location other than the Photos Library on Mac?

Yes, you can store your photos in other locations on your Mac. But, it is better to keep them in the Photos Library for easy management and syncing across devices. Still, you can create external libraries or use third-party apps to organize your media.

Are photos stored on my Mac also accessible on other Apple devices like iPhones or iPads?

Yes, if you use iCloud Photo Library, your photos are stored in the Photos Library on your Mac. You can sync and access these photos on your other Apple devices linked to the same iCloud account. You can access your photos and media on other Apple devices like iPhones and iPads.

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Knowing “Where are photos stored on Mac?” is important for Mac users to manage their photos and media. The Photos Library in the Pictures folder keeps all imported and synced images. Also, the iCloud Photo Library ensures that your pictures remain up-to-date. They will be accessible across all your Apple devices. We recommend always storing your photos and media in the iCloud Photo Library because it does not limit media accessibility to one device only.

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