With iCloud’s Photo Stream feature, photos taken on a iOS device and photos imported to your computer are automatically sent to all your devices including Mac, iOS devices, Apple TV, and PC. On iOS, the photos are stored in the Photos.app and on Mac through iPhoto or Aperture. Understandably, launching iPhoto or Aperture just to pull a screenshot off an iOS device can be cumbersome. Most users would typically opt for Dropbox or email, which also requires several steps.

One way to avoid these steps is to create an auto-updating folder on your dock that allows access to Photo Stream images stored in the cloud. In this scenario, you will be able to instantly access photos on your Mac without having to use Dropbox or a similar solution. The Iconmaster (via LifeHackerpointed us to an easy trick that allows you to save a search for PNG screenshots and filter them based on resolution and the type of image. The trick could also be used to access Photo Stream files depending on your search criteria.

After enabling Photo Stream on your devices, The Iconmaster walked us through how it works:

1. Locate the Photo Stream in the Finder- Since the user’s Library folder is now hidden by default, I can’t just give you the file path. In the Finder, option-click on the Go menu and hit “Library.” Then navigate to Application Support > iLifeAssetManagement > assets > sub. In the search filed, type “png”; then select “Portable Network Graphics image” from the popup.

2. Save the Search- Click the Save button under the search field. Give the saved search a name like “Screenshots.” Leave “Add to Sidebar” checked…This ought to be the end, but it’s not. For some reason, this particular saved search acts up when accessed from the Finder sidebar (at least on my version of OS X). Sometimes it works, sometimes it returns zero results. The fix for this is to add it to the Dock instead. Hit up the contextual menu and do that.

If you wanted to get especially clever, you could add in pixel height and width metadata to filter screenshots from each device type into its own folder. The trick here is that those will vary with device orientation, so you’ll probably end up using a Raw Query — something like “kMDItemPixelHeight == 2048 || kMDItemPixelHeight == 1536” for retina iPad shots.

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