Step by Step: How To Add Photo Stream to Your Mac Sidebar

Our favorite iCloud feature is probably Photo Stream. Take one picture on an iOS device and it's synced auto-magically to all your other iOS devices. You can even throw a machine running OS X into the mix — such as an iMac or Macbook — but the synchronicity there may fall a step short for some. Read on and we'll step through making Photo Stream a little more accessible to you on your Mac by adding a bookmark to it on your sidebar.

I came across a how-to by the iconmaster, via The Verge, that showed how to add a sidebar bookmark on your Mac for all your iOS screenshots. The post revealed that all my Photo Stream files are actually stored and managed by iCloud in a hidden Library folder (~/Library/Application Support/iLifeAssetManagement/assets/sub/).

I wanted to go a step further and not just have my screenshots accessible on the sidebar, but ALL my Photo Stream content — all without the need of running an application such as iPhoto or Aperture. To do this I opened up Finder and navigated to the folder above.

Click Go -> Go to Folder -> type "~/Library/Application Support/iLifeAssetManagement/assets/sub/" -> Click Go
Pin it button big

You'll see a directory filled with a bunch of cryptic looking folders.

Now go to the search bar and type "image", then scroll to select "Kinds: Image" — make sure the "sub" directory is selected next to Search:, not "This Mac".
Pin it button big

Now all images from your Photo Stream should be visible.

Click the "Save" button and give a name to your search such as "Photo Stream" and make sure the "Add to Sidebar" box is checked.
Pin it button big

I also changed the image and preview size so that I could easily navigate through my latest files and work with them as I needed.

Right-click inside the Finder window and click "Show View Options"
Pin it button big

Tailor the settings to your preference. I used an Icon Size of 256x256, "Browse in icon view", and "Arrange by Date Added" to get the grid as shown below.

Pin it button big

Now you'll have a handy link to all your photo stream files. Unfortunately, photos can't be added or deleted from your Photo Stream through the sidebar. The moments you capture, however, will be that much more accessible to you on your Macbook, iMac, or Mac mini for insertion into Twitter, Facebook, or other photo-sharing apps.

(Images: Chris Perez)