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As a professional photo organizer, I’m asked how to get your photos out of the Apple Photos Program. The Apple Photo program does not make it easy to get your photos out.

There are many reasons to want to get a copy of your photos out of Apple Photos. One reason is you should have an additional backup of your photos besides iCloud. In fact, I recommend having 3 backups (see What is 3-2-1 backup?).  Or maybe you don’t want to use Apple Photos anymore.

I don’t use the Apple Photo program even though I have all apple electronics. I have an apple iphone, apple iPad, Macbook air computer. 

5 Reasons I don’t use the apple photos program.

  1. Storing all my photos on my computer slows it way down. (I store them on an external hard drive, amazon photos, and dropbox)
  2. Apple photos interface is so slow once you have 25,000+ photos
  3. It is an all or nothing interface. If I have the photos in apple photos, they are all on my phone, ipad and computer. I can’t just pick certain photos on certain devices
  4. The actual files are stored in hidden folders and are saved in a billion sub folders. 
  5. It doesn’t work well with any program outside the apple family (i.e. HEIC files) for backup and photo book making or printing.

There is not an easy free way to get your photos out of Apple Photos.

You will have to put in time or pay money to get your photos out.

Here are 3 options to get photos out of the apple photos program 

1. Export Photos from Apple Photos Program (Free)

The reason exporting is necessary is to get full resolution photos. If you use drag and drop or copy and paste, your photos will not be full resolution.

i. Go to the Apple Photos program

ii. Select the photos (use control + a to select all)

iii. Go to file, then export

iv. Be sure to select full resolution

Be sure you have enough room for all the photos. I recommend saving to an external hard drive in order to not slow down your computer. 

v. Wait for your photos to export

Video: How to Export Photos from Apple Photo

The Drawback: if you look at your photos in finder, the date will be today (the date you export the photos), not the actual date the photo was taken

The Workaround: 

i. You can use adobe bridge to see the actual dates and organize the photos into folders on adobe bridge (Its free!)

ii. You can use Big Mean Folder Machine to automatically sort your photos into folders by year and month (It costs $19.95).

2. Navigate To Your Originals Folder (Free Option)

i. Open Applications and select pictures

ii. Right click on photo library and select show package contents

iii. Right click on ‘Originals’  and copy (Called Masters if iphotos program and not photos)

iv. Paste to where you want your photos (I recommend external hard drive to save space and not slow down your computer)

Video: Use the ‘Originals’ Folder

The Drawback:  Your photos will be saved in subfolders by year, month and then date. If tons of subfolders don’t bother you, you are done. You can copy and paste your photos into another cloud services such as Amazon or Dropbox

The Workaround

i. You can manually move folders out of subfolders 

ii. You can use Big Mean Folder Machine to automatically move your photos into folders by year and month and get rid of all the subfolders (It costs $19.95)

3. Picbackman ($129 one-time fee for lifetime access)

This program can help you get your photos out of Apple Photos.  

If you need help getting your photos backed up and out of apple photos, I can help you. I am a professional photo organizer and I offer digital photo organizing or digital consults.


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