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Access Photo Stream Pictures on Your Mac Without Loading iPhoto or Aperture

The promise of Photo Stream is easy to see on iOS devices. Take a photo or screenshot on your iPhone, load up the Photos app on the iPad, and wait for the images to land on the device via Photo Stream. The phrase “it’s so easy with online” comes to mind.

Strangely enough, things aren’t quite as easy on the Mac. The only way to access Photo Stream pictures is to manually activate the service within iCloud settings and then use iPhoto or Aperture to view and manage the pictures. Or so I thought.

Thanks to this awesome post on The Iconmaster, I now have a saved Spotlight search that targets the folder in which all of my Photo Stream .PNG files are stored. By saving this search to the sidebar in Finder (or the Dock, if quick access is a priority), I can now view and manage files from Photo Stream without having to load any extra apps up. In my quick tests, a screenshot from my 4S took about 30 seconds to appear in the Photo Stream folder on my Mac. The only caveat here is that you may need to have either iPhoto or Aperture installed on your Mac for this to work (I didn’t want to uninstall my apps to find out).

I used to use the Dropbox app for quickly shooting photos straight to my Mac for posts, but thanks to this tip, I can now take full advantage of Photo Stream for painless and automatic photo transfers across all of my Apple devices.

[via Shawn Blanc]

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  • Renkman

    I didn’t have a iLifeAssetManagement folder 🙁

    • @Renkman

      did you turn on Photo Stream inside of Sys Prefs and also inside of Aperture/iPhoto? Do you know how to un-hide the Library folder in Lion? Hold option while looking at the “Go” menu at the top of the screen.

  • Renkman

    Library folder–no problem

    Needed to update iPhoto–forgot I couldn’t turn on Photo Stream on Mac without updating it first–thanks!