Blog Post

How To: Access your iPhoto ’08 Library from your browser

Since iPhoto ’08 came out back in August, I’ve had mixed feelings on its new features.

I’m not a huge fan of Events and there are lots of little things that just annoy me now. One of which is that the iPhoto library now exists as a “package” instead of a readily accessible set of folders. Even after doing “Show Package Contents” on the library file it can get pretty hairy trying to actually get to the raw photographs.

Generally the only time I really have a desire to get to said files is when using a browser to upload photos. You can’t just navigate to your library files and grab the picture you want. There is a way to make it possible, though and it’s fairly straight forward.

1. Access the iPhoto Library Folder

iPhoto Library

Control-click (or right-click) on the iPhoto Library file and choose “Show Package Contents.”

iPhoto Library

2. Create Folder Aliases

After doing “Show Package Content” you should now see the folders and files contained in the package.
iPhoto Library

You’ll see two folders, “Modified” and “Originals,” which contain the actual photo files that iPhoto uses. These folders contain sub-folders which seem to be, for the most part, identical to the Events you might have set up. These are the folders we want access to when getting single files to upload in a browser.

What we have to do is create a folder alias to give us access directly to these folders outside of the iPhoto Library package.

Control-click on the “Modified” folder and choose “Make Alias” from the contextual menu. Leave it named “Modified alias” and then drag the new alias folder to the same directory that your iPhoto Library is in.

Repeat this for the “Originals” folder.

You can then rename the aliases to whatever you choose. You should end up with something like this:
iPhoto Library

3. Access the Files

Chances are the aliases still won’t give you access to the files when you are just in the Finder, but they will work when you are using a browser to open them.

Take a site like Flickr, for example. I’d like to upload a few of the original photo files to my account. I’m presented with the “Choose File” upload buttons and I can now access the files from within the browser:
iPhoto Library

And there we have it! It’s definitely a bit of a hack job for what should be a simple task, but until Apple changes this format we seem to be stuck with this solution.

61 Responses to “How To: Access your iPhoto ’08 Library from your browser”

  1. ok i got it i am able to right click now but when i went into my gmail and tried to attatch a picture it still wont show me my iphoto pictures. i tried to right click on ‘ iphoto’ but nothing happens

  2. Okay. So under Keyboard & Mouse, go to the Trackpad option, an make sure that the option ‘For secondary clicks…’ is checked. Then you’ve got two ways to make a right-click.

    – press the CRTL key, keep it held down, then press the trackpad mouse button
    – put two fingers on the trackpad itself, and then press the trackpad mouse button

    If neither of those work, let me know :-)

  3. Right… I just unplugged my mouse, and the Mouse option from the menu disappeared. So the computer doesn’t recognise the mouse as being plugged in—which is why right-clicking doesn’t work!

    Try plugging the mouse into the other USB port and see if it shows up. Also, if you’ve got any other USB devices, try plugged them in as well. You need to know if the USB ports are functioning, and that’s a quick way to test.

    If the USB ports are okay, then my guess is that it’s a driver problem. What kind of a mouse do you have?

  4. In Leopard, there are five sub-pages in a menu bar at the top of the System Preferences page: Keyboard—Trackpad—Mouse—Bluetooth—Keyboard Shortcuts… In Tiger, there’s only three options instead of five, and Mouse is the second.

  5. @mona: Make sure that ‘Primary mouse button’ is set to left under System Preferences—Keyboard & Mouse—Mouse. Sometimes (under Tiger, I think) I had that get confused. And make sure that you’ve got the latest driver installed and the device properly configured (if you’re using a Logitech mouse, for example). You could try those for a start…

  6. This is all so unnecessary.

    There are many, many ways to access your files in iPhoto:

    For 10.5 users: You can use any Open / Attach / Browse dialogue. On the left there’s a Media heading, your pics can be accessed there. Apple-Click for selecting multiple pics.

    To upload to a site that does not have an iPhoto Export Plug-in the recommended way is to Select the Pic in the iPhoto Window and go File -> Export and export the pic to the desktop, then upload from there. After the upload you can trash the pic on the desktop. It’s only a copy and your original is safe in iPhoto.

    This is also true for emailing with Web-based services. If you’re using Gmail you can use THIS

    If you use Apple’s Mail, Entourage, AOL or Eudora you can email from within iPhoto. Also, if you’re using Mail in 10.5 you can browse your library from within the message window.

    If you use a Cocoa-based Browser such as Safari, you can drag the pics from the iPhoto Window (or from a Media Browser) to the Attach window in the browser.

    Or, if you want to access the files with iPhoto not running, then create a Media Browser using Automator (takes about 10 seconds) or use THIS

    Other options include:

    1. *Drag and Drop*: Drag a photo from the iPhoto Window to the desktop, there iPhoto will make a full-sized copy of the pic.

    2. *File -> Export*: Select the files in the iPhoto Window and go File -> Export. The dialogue will give you various options, including altering the format, naming the files and changing the size. Again, producing a copy.

    3. *Show File*: Right- (or Control-) Click on a pic and in the resulting dialogue choose ‘Show File’. A Finder window will pop open with the file already selected.

    You can set Photoshop (or any image editor) as an external editor in iPhoto. (Preferences -> General -> Edit Photo: Choose from the Drop Down Menu.) This way, when you double click a pic to edit in iPhoto it will open automatically in Photoshop or your Image Editor, and when you save it it’s sent back to iPhoto automatically. This is the only way to have changes made with an external editor available in iPhoto.

    All of these are faster and safer than surfing the iPhoto Package File.



  7. I discovered this on my own as soon as I got iLife 08′, but I’ve ran into a very annoying problem. When I try to open the alias while in column view (which I use 95% of the time) it will show the folders inside the modified/originals for less than a second before the little information/preview thing pops over them. So if I want to access the folder from the Finder I have to do one of the following: Show package contents again. Switch to a different view. Try to hit the year folder before the info thing comes up, which usually takes quite a few tries. I’m sure there is a way to fix this, but I have been unable to find one. :/

  8. Also, you may want to add an alias to the “Auto Import” folder in your Pictures folder. This allows you to easily drag (or save) images to this alias folder and have iPhoto import them automatically.

  9. This is great! Just what I needed. Thank you for posting this very helpful tip. I am using fireworks to edit pictures and was having problems accessing our pictures.

    All the best!

  10. Create a Media Browser using Automator (takes about 10 seconds) or use THIS

    Also, for 10.5 users: If you use the extended Open or Attach dialogue (with Column View) you can scroll to the bottom of the Shortcuts and find the Media browser there. Select any pic you want from there.



  11. You can also, in iPhoto, Control-click on an image and choose “Show File”, or “Show Original File”. A Finder window appears with the selected photo highlighted. You’re now where you want to be.You can also Control-click on the title of the Finder window and navigate to other iPhoto library folder(s).

  12. Dee Dee Warren

    OH I see why I didn’t understand – I never use Safari, but use Firefox and there isn’t such an option. That software actually seemed like it might be a right “fit” for me, but there wasn’t a price listed on the purchase page oddly enough. (and yes I am using Leopard)

  13. Dee, if you’re using Leopard 10.5 then you will see the media browser in the Open dialog of Safari when you upload to the website.

    If you’re using Tiger you need to follow the directions in the article above. Oh, and rather than emailing yourself the photo you could have been simply dragging the photo thumbnail from iPhoto onto the desktop.

    There is also this software: but I think it is not as convenient.

  14. Exactly what the other Ben said above. You should amend the article to include that information, because this tip is only really applicable to Tiger users now, not Leopard users.

  15. Ben Barczi

    Actually, in Leopard there’s a much easier way to access photos in iPhoto in any application’s “Open” or “Place” dialog. Surprisingly, Apple seems to have been very quiet about it. I only found it by reading the entire list of 300 new features in Leopard (yes, obsessive).

    In the Source pane to the left of the Dialog, below “Places,” you ought to see a “Media” section, which includes pictures. This essentially brings the iLife Media Browser into any application; you can select any photo as you would in iWeb or any other iLife/iWork application and then select “Open.” I haven’t yet run into a program that this doesn’t work with. Nice trick for quickly placing a photo from iPhoto into InDesign.