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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder iOS devices
Transferring photos from an iOS device to a Mac can be a hassle. This is especially the case for those of us who take screenshots on an iPhone or iPad and want to use them on our Macs. I generally e-mail them to myself, but I won't be doing that any more.

A tip published on The Iconmaster website last week shows a nifty way to get near-immediate access to these files on your Mac. Here's what you need to do.
  1. Make sure you have Photo Stream turned in on each of your iOS devices, as well as on your Mac.
  2. Go to ~/Library/Application Support/iLifeAssetManagement/assets/sub. You'll see a bunch of subfolders with names like "013184d3f181aa175db7e48b08817861eff8cac25a".
  3. Perform a search for .png files in this folder. Enter "png" in the search field; you'll see only the .png files, which are all the photos currently in your Photo Stream.
  4. Save this as a Smart Folder by clicking on the Save button just below the search field. You can save this where you want: by default, this goes in the Saved Searches folder, but you can check the box that says Add to Sidebar if you want quick access from the Finder sidebar. You can also choose a different location for the Smart Folder, such as your Desktop. If you want this folder in the Dock, add it to the Dock by dragging the folder there.
  5. Whenever you need to get quick access to a photo or screenshot that you took on an iOS device, just open this folder and find it. If you have a lot of files, you might want to add the Date Created column (right-click on the sort headers and choose Date Created), then sort by this date (click on that header so the most recent date is at the top).
[kirkmc adds: As mentioned in the comments below, using png only finds screenshots; use jpg if you want photos, or kind=image if you want both.]
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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder | 18 comments | Create New Account
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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: pwsloss on Apr 09, '12 08:15:28AM

Or, use an access app like iExplorer (free). You get access to most of the iOS device's media and files can be copied to your computer in original format.



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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: Fofer on Apr 09, '12 08:26:59AM

This comment kinda misses the point of this tip. iExplorer (and the like) require you to plug in your iPhone via USB. And if you're plugging your iPhone in via USB, the photos in the photo roll are easily accessible with iPhoto or Image Capture. So why bother with iExplorer?

This tip makes it easy to get at the photos that have already been synced wirelessly and automatically via Photo Stream.



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Folder access
Authored by: SeanAhern on Apr 09, '12 08:16:24AM

Note that, to have a ~/Library/Application Support/iLifeAssetManagement folder, you have to have Photo Stream turned on in iPhoto (as mentioned in the hint). Otherwise, the folder won't exist.

Edited on Apr 09, '12 08:18:20AM by SeanAhern



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Folder access
Authored by: herbert68 on Apr 09, '12 08:38:53AM

I see everything up to this: ~/Library/Application Support/iLifeAssetManagement/assets/ - there is no 'sub' folder in here, only 'pub' and 'watch' and both are empty.



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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: solipsia on Apr 09, '12 08:27:59AM

This is an excellent hint! I also used to use Dropbox for accessing photos - very slow.

Small correction: "you'll see only the .png files, which are all the photos currently in your Photo Stream." Only screenshots are stored as PNG. Photos are stored as JPG. You can return both by choosing Kind=Image in the search options.



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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: makip on Apr 10, '12 05:46:41PM
To search for all images, Kind=Image doesn't work for me, but Kind:Image does the trick.

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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: Fofer on Apr 09, '12 08:35:03AM
Two things with this tip need correction/clarification.

"Perform a search for .png files in this folder. Enter "png" in the search field; you'll see only the .png files, which are all the photos currently in your Photo Stream."

Searching for png will only show the iOS screenshots; it won't show all the photos taken with the camera. If you want to see the photos you should do a search for JPG, and if you want to see all the images in the roll (ie: photos and screenshots) then type "image" and choose "kind = image" from the pulldown.

"(click on that header so the most recent date is at the top)."

In order for the headers to be clickable/sortable in a Smart Folder, you need to first go to the View menu, choose Arrange, and set it to "None."

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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: MtnBiker on Apr 09, '12 09:08:58AM

This is a good tip and narrowly focused for those needing Finder access to specific files. But for most of us for occasional use, iPhoto access will do and from there you can copy or export the photos. And if I'm correct that is available once you've turned on Photo Streaming (which is necessary for this tip anyway).

---
Hermosa Beach, CA USA



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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: greyjay on Apr 09, '12 10:08:39AM

Or forget about half-assed 3rd-party WiFi-transfer apps and / or tethering:

Try Cloud Photos a new app that (finally) leverages DropBox, from the front end, for syncing and more importantly organizing photos in folders, from within the app. More than that it conserves storage space on the device by uploading native files to the DropBox servers, and retaining a thumbnail version of each photo on the device for local viewing. If you want to edit a photo on the phone, download a higher-res version (from within the app) of the photo from DropBox servers. DropBox in iOS allows one to limit the local storage capacity with an in-app preference setting.

Use the in-app camera (and specify a target folder before taking the photo), or move / copy any or all of your camera roll into custom DropBox directories. In my case, I had over 2GB of photos in the cameral roll on a 16GB iPhone4S, and worrying about depleting precious storage capacity with 8MP photos. Now my photo library sits in DropBox, accessible from the phone and all other linked-devices. I set a 500MB local storage limit for DropBox, and the low-res (local) images occupy only a few hundred kilobytes of storage. And it syncs over 3G, if desired and if you have the data allowance to accommodate it.

Of note: DropBox just upped their referral incentive to 500MB per referral, max 16GB. They also currently offer a 3GB incentive for testing the "Camera Upload" beta release.



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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: bjsvec on Apr 09, '12 11:37:43AM

If you are using photo stream why would you look in an obscurely named directory and search for file extensions instead of just looking in iPhoto or your iPhoto folders in finder? I read this hint twice, but fail to see any purpose behind it.



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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: kirkmc on Apr 09, '12 01:49:07PM

Because if you're just looking to grab some screen shots, it's a lot easier than going through iPhoto.

---
Mac OS X Hints editor - Macworld senior contributor
http://www.mcelhearn.com



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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: zpjet on Apr 10, '12 05:36:09AM

Great hint, Kirk. And exactly that kind of stuff I expect t find here.

Photostream will now stay in my Finder's sidebar. Very convenient.

If you go on, you might bring the site back to what it once was - a great mix of such clever hints and excellent trouble-shooting resource.

Thank you!



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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: deserter on Apr 27, '12 02:47:02PM

Or you can simply open "Image Capture" (If it doesn't open automatically) and import any pictures or videos you want. Simple and easy.



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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: ae6dx on Jun 09, '12 10:02:40PM

Tried this but the saved folder does not seem to update when I add pictures from my phone to photostream.



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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: QuarterSwede on Jun 24, '12 04:32:11PM
Make sure you didn't just do a search for png as those will only show screenshots and you may not have taken any in a while. Do a search for jpg for photos, img or kind:image and it'll show you both png's or jpg's.

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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: gillesguillemin on Jul 26, '12 03:47:18AM

The trick doesn't seem to work on Mountain Lion anymore (I bet there are still somewhere, just can't find where exactly...).



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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: kirkmc on Sep 20, '12 02:19:09AM

I've gotten it to work from time to time, but with the just-released 10.8.2, it fails totally. In fact, when I look in the folder that contains the photos, its subfolders are often empty. I've found that turning Photo Stream on and off can fix this, but not entirely. I'm seeing some photos in iPhoto that aren't in those photos, so I wonder if there's another location.

If anyone's found anything, please post so I can update the hint.

---
Mac OS X Hints editor - Macworld senior contributor
http://www.mcelhearn.com



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Easily access photos from iOS devices in Finder
Authored by: fogboy on Oct 03, '12 11:43:06AM

Seems to be the same folder?

Edited on Oct 03, '12 11:44:59AM by fogboy



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