Quickly share iOS photos with your Mac

Kirk McElhearn
30 May, 2012
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There are plenty of ways to transfer photos from an iOS device to a Mac – I generally email them to myself or use Messages – but it can still be a hassle. A tip recently published on The Iconmaster could be my new solution to the problem.

First, make sure you have Photo Stream turned on in each of your iOS devices, as well as on your Mac. Next, go to your ~/Library/Application Support/iLifeAssetManagement/assets/sub folder. There, you’ll see a bunch of subfolders with names like 013184d3f181aa175db7e48b08817861eff8cac25a.

Perform a search for image files in this sub folder by typing kind:image in the search field and selecting Sub as the focus of the search. (If you take a lot of photos or screenshots and only want to find one or the other, you could instead search for png for screenshots or jpg for photos.)

Now save this search as a Smart Folder by clicking on the Save button just below the search field. You can save it wherever you want: by default, it will go 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.

That done, 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 from the list), then sort by this date (click on that header so the most recent date is at the top).



2 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. connectionfailure says:

    Has anyone else noticed that Photo stream actually sucks? Either ALL the photos sync magically across ALL devices that I choose, or they don’t. What’s the deal with the last x000 photos? What happens when I take one more photo after that? Do I lose photos?
    Considering how many people deleted all the songs on their iPods when they tried to “sync” I think it’s dangerous.

  2. Tim E-H says:

    Hey connectionfailure, I’ve noticed that Photo stream works perfectly as advertised. As someone who takes a lot of iPhone photos, I appreciate not having to manually sync to get them onto my Mac. Five minutes after I start iPhoto, they’re all there.

    As for 1001 photos, if you use Photo stream on your Mac, then you don’t lose any as Photo stream is really just another smart folder. The “rule” for this smart folder-like behaviour are “last 1000 photos taken on your iPhone”. If you have a smart folder for the last fortnight’s images, you don’t lose any of photos after 15 days, they simply don’t appear in that folder. Similarly, you don’t lose photos on your Mac if you receive more than 1000 images via photo stream, they simply don’t show up in the photo stream folder anymore.

    If you also sync your Mac’s images to your iOS devices, then they will also still be available on them. Nothing lost.

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