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How to Share Pictures from OS X Photos App to OneDrive

Apple’s new Photos app provides seamless integration between OS X and Apple’s iCloud. If you use Apple devices, you can easily sync your files and photos between your Mac and iPhone or iPad. The thing about Photos, though, is you might feel locked into the service. It’s almost an all or nothing affair, but I like using other services like Microsoft’s OneDrive. Here’s we’ll take a look at how you can take pictures from the OS X Photos app and put them anywhere.

Apple’s Photos app was introduced in early 2015 with OS X Yosemite. The app was written from the ground up, replaces iPhonto, and puts its focus on simplicity and integration with Apple’s iCloud.

Export Pictures from OS X Photos App into OneDrive

The first you will need to have is the OneDrive client for Mac installed. You can download it from the Mac App Store for free.

Launch Photos from the Dock or press Command + Space key then type: photos then hit Enter. Select any of your photos, and then click File > Export > Export Unmodified Original for Photos.

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Leave the default as is then click Export.

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Navigate to your OneDrive folder then click Export originals.

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Automate the Process Using OS X Automator

This would be a one-off operation; since I know for sure future photos taken on my iPhone would automatically import into Photos, I would have to manually do this every time. Of course, you have the option to have photos taken on iPhone automatically backup to OneDrive. But, suppose I had a point-and-shoot camera, which I also use to import pictures into OS X Photos? I would have to manually export them each time unless I automate the process.

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Launch the Finder, and then open your Pictures folder, right-click the Photos Library file, then click Show Package Contents. Right-click on the Masters folder then tag the folder with a color.

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Launch the Automator app; press Command key + space key then type: Automator and then Enter. Under Library, select Files & Folders then drag Find Finder Items into the Folder into workflow window.

In the Search list box, choose Macintosh HD and then the following attributes as described in the screenshot below. Next, drag the action, Copy Finder Items into the workflow window. Click the To: list box and then select OneDrive.

Then specify to search for any of the color labels you had assigned, in this case, that will include the Masters folder. Then copy the files with a color label to OneDrive or any other folder you want.


Click the Run button to start copying the entire Masters folder to OneDrive. Save the Workflow when you are done so you can use it again in the future.

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The process certainly requires a little work, but you do get the best of both worlds. I don’t have a problem with iCloud Photos, but I like using OneDrive, too. Especially since I have more storage space than iCloud’s free 5 GB limit. Plus, you can access your Photos Library from virtually any other device this way.

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One Response to How to Share Pictures from OS X Photos App to OneDrive

  1. David J July 17, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

    After we do all this, do the pictures stay on hard drive twice, since it is in Photos app and in OneDrive folder as well?

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