Photo Stream is an excellent iCloud feature that automatically syncs all pictures taken on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to one anothers Photo libraries, and it will even sync with Mac OS X through the iPhoto app. Not everyone uses iPhoto to manage pictures though, and if you just want quick access to those pictures from the OS X Finder you can use a neat trick to access the entire iOS Photo Stream directly from the Mac desktop.
In order for this to work, you will need the following:
- Mac OS X 10.7.2 or later on the Mac, with iCloud configured
- iOS 5 or later on all iOS devices, with iCloud configured
- Photo Stream must be enabled on all iOS devices involved, and must be enabled on the Mac
If you don’t have iCloud set up and Photo Stream turned on, do that before proceeding.
Accessing the iOS Photo Stream from Mac OS X Finder
- From anywhere on the OS X desktop, hit Command+Shift+G to bring up Go To Folder and enter the following path:
- In the upper right corner of the Finder window, search for “Image” and select “Kind: Image” from the pull down menu
- Now click the “Save” button to save this search, name it something like “Photo Stream” and check “Add To Sidebar” to keep the item in the sidebar
Now anytime you click “Photo Stream” in an OS X Finder window, you will get instant access to all images from the iOS Photo Stream from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or all of the above.
For quick access to photos, this is easier and faster than transferring them all from iOS to the computer because it’s practically instantaneous and automatic, and it’s simpler than using the past tip for an AppleScript to save all images from Photo Stream because there is very little potential for error.
Once you have this set up you’ll likely find yourself using it very often, it’s so useful that hopefully the upcoming release of OS X Mountain Lion will include a similar featured enabled by default.
This is a variation on a great tip that was posted a while back by IconMaster to get to iOS screenshots from OS X, but by specifying any images in the search you can access all the Photo Stream images rather than only screen captures. If you do want to see only screen shots searching for file type “PNG” will achieve that.