Q. When I used iPhoto, I used to have a couple of shortcuts to show a picture’s location in the Finder. Now that I’ve switched to Apple’s Photos, how do I do that?
A. Apple pitches the Photos program it introduced this spring as a replacement for iPhoto, but in some ways Photos — even after gaining some new features in OS X El Capitan — still can’t match its predecessor’s capabilities.
One of those is the ability to get a picture file out of the program when you want to post it somewhere not supported by the app’s own sharing feature–Apple’s systemwide Share menu.
For example, you might want to post it to a photo-hosting site that you can’t add to that menu. Or you might want to upload it in a way that the Share menu doesn’t handle–for example, if you want to add a photo to a Facebook comment.
For those times, you need to get at the image file itself — and you’re going to miss the right-click “Show File” shortcut from older iPhoto releases or the “Reveal in Finder” command in later versions.
Apple’s advice is to use the Export command from Photos’ File menu. I’m not a fan of that, because that command subjects you to clicking through two tedious dialogs.
Dragging and dropping the photo to the desktop seems like a simpler option, but it carries a limit undocumented by Apple: Photos compresses images dumped this way, squishing their size slightly while retaining their original resolution.
I don’t know why Apple bothers — disk space is not exactly in short supply these days — but you can avoid this surreptitious squeeze by holding down the Option key when you drag an image to the desktop.
You can find yet another option in many file dialog boxes. The next time you click a site’s upload-a-photo button and find yourself looking at the usual OS X frame listing your files, look in the lower-left corner for a “Media” heading. If you don’t see anything below that, move the cursor to its right and click the “Show” command that should appear.
That will get you an alternate view into most of your Photos library. In this interface, you can browse your library by album, by date or by the location you took a photo in — but other Photos groupings, such as its automatically-generated listings of panoramas and selfies, don’t appear in this dialog.
Note that if you have a large Photos library or an older Mac, you may have to wait a bit the first time you invoke this browsing option in a dialog box.
If none of those options help locate a photo file outside of Photos, you can always try the workaround Glenn Fleishman offered in a recent Macworld writeup: Select a photo, click the lowercase-i button to display its info box, copy its file name, and then paste that file name into a Finder window’s search box.
If you’re thinking “it shouldn’t be this hard,” you’re on the same wavelength as me. Photos for OS X shows off two of Apple’s less attractive recent habits: making OS X work like iOS (in which there’s no equivalent of the Finder at all) at the cost of flexibility, then providing such skimpy documentation of its apps that users have to find out some limits for themselves.
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