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Where does the Mac Photo app store the original files?

The default settings in the Mac Photos app copy all the photo and video files you import into your own library. This means that, for example, if you drag a folder with photo and video files that’s on your Mac desktop into the Photos app, the app will copy all the files into its own library and then you can delete the folder from the desktop to save storage space.

It’s true that you can disable this behavior so that you can organize your photo albums yourself, but the reality is that most users don’t do this and stay with the application’s default settings.

Where does the Mac Photo app store the original files?
Where does the Mac Photo app store the original files?

If this is your case and you have a large enough photo and video library, you might be interested in knowing the location of the original files within the Photos app .

Where are the photo and video files in the Photos in MacOS app stored?

As we said, the Photos app maintains its own library with the video and photo files we imported . This library is stored inside a package called ” Photo Library.photoslibrary ” located inside the active user’s Pictures folder.

Finder displays the package as a single file, but it is really a set of files and folders from which it is possible to see its contents. To do this, right-click on the trackpad and choose the option Show Package Contents .

Once opened you will see several folders including one called Masters . Inside it you will find all the photo and video files managed by Photos sorted into folders by years and months .

It is important to mention that the files you will see here are the originals imported into Fotos. If you have made modifications using the program’s functions they are not stored in the files themselves. These modifications do not destroy the original files, but create other files with an AAE extension that save the changes made to the original photos .

The AAE files only save the instructions of the changes made and when you open the original photo you apply them on the fly . This saves storage space, since it is not necessary to save a copy of the original file for every change applied to the photo or video (as iPhotos did in the past).

It is not advisable to modify the files manually

Now that you know where he keeps your photo and video files we have to issue a warning . Modifying files manually from the library package can cause the entire library to fail, which can mean losing all albums, tags and other information.

That’s why we advise not to modify anything in this path and to use only the Photos app to manage the files and to resort to the original location of the files only in case of a disaster, some software failure that prevents working normally with the MacOS Photo Library.

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