Anyone notice this File Browser behavior in accessing photos?

FogCityDiner guy, (yah, I used to eat there)

Here’s an Apple article for setting up and using iCloud Photos.
Spoiler (I’m using Big Sur so your mileage may vary; I don’t use iCloud Photos though I looked into it when it was introduced. Didn’t need it. )

I skimmed over this part of your message "I use Finder/Media/Photos to locate the photo and attach it.”.
I’m not familiar with the Media folder in the User folder list. Are you not using the Photos app to export a photo?

If you have set the Mac Photo preferences to Optimize for Storage some resizing may have happened.
Accessing these photos to get to the original will trigger a visit to the iCloud image to get the latest version.

HTH Mike

Media is not a folder but a feature of the Finder. From the few responses it seems most people don’t use it.

I’ve never seen the “Media” item in the side-bar. Maybe it’s a smart folder? Does it have the gear icon that is indicative of smart folders? If so, you should be able to right-click (or ctrl-click) on it and select Show Search Criteria from the popup menu to see what it’s actually doing.

Depending on the criteria, the number of files on your computer, and the number of files that the saved search will present, it could easily take several seconds to produce results. Because that “folder” is actually a saved search command, which may take some time to execute.

It’s been a very very long time since I set up a new Mac user account (all my computers have accounts that were migrated from older computers, going back more than 20 years), so I have probably never seen the factory-default sidebar contents that Apple ships today.

I also have never seen a Media item in the sidebar of a Finder window. I have seen in in the sidebar of a File Open, Save or Save-As dialog box but it depends on the context. I think the confusion comes from that fact that the file browser function in these File dialog boxes looks and behaves much like a Finder window.

I believe Photos maintains a preview of the images — a relatively small JPEG, reduced quality, and possibly reduced resolution — so that you can scroll through and look at versions of your images quickly. If you drag and drop from Photos this is almost certainly what is being copied (that’s how it worked in Aperture).
If the preview is acceptable for your purposes, that’s fine — it might be for email or Facebook posting, for example — but you should know that what you get with this method is not the best image quality Photos is capable of exporting.

This discussion is mis-named, since as stephen.kawalko noted, the Media Browser appears in Open dialogs, not in the Finder. The Finder has nothing to do with this issue.

Are you sure about that? When I drag photos from my Big Sur to Finder I indeed get JPGs and not the original HEIC format. But those JPGs are far from low-res previews. They’re often 5+ MB images with 10M pixel resolution.

For me, it’s not just because of the delay. Quite often I will take a screenshot on my iPhone but want to post it using a Mac, but using this media picker from within Safari I usually find that iCloud photos has not yet updated, and it will not update if I keep this media poker open - I would need to cancel, then choose the upload again. So, I open the Photos app, wait to see that the Photo is there, then export it and just drag-and-drop into Safari, or choose from the exported location in the file chooser view.

Another case is when I want to choose an older photo - it’s just a lot easier to find it in the Photos app.

Lastly, in Big Sur at least anyway, the picker at the top that lets you select a particular album is minuscule and it’s hard to discern that it’s even there. I know now that it is, but the first time I used it, it took me a while to find out where it was (or, really, figure out that MacOS was just not showing it for some reason, or it had been inexplicably removed in Big Sur.)

(Regarding my previous comment about not knowing if this is still an issue in Big Sur, I was traveling without a Mac and just tried for the first time this morning.)

You can all see this behavior by starting a reply here and tapping the “upload” toolbar item in the reply window and ten scroll down to the sidebar to find “Photos”. You can see why it was characterized as being Finder behavior - this file picker sure looks almost exactly like the Finder.

You are correct. . . It is in File Browser dialog. Part of Finder, but not Finder.

Thanks. This was confusing me, and I suspect many people.

And now I understand the delay. When you click on that item, the file-picker dialog opens your local photos database (I assume by sending an Apple Event to the Photos app or some similar behavior), and collecting the results. It’s the logical equivalent to launching Photos in the background, although this seems to be a bit faster, which makes sense since it’s not launching the entire app (e.g. its GUI doesn’t get opened).

I’m still not sure why some dialogs present this Media section and others don’t. I assume it has something to do with the data type requested by the app (e.g. presenting Media/Photos if an image type is requested).

If we’re going to get technical, the NSOpenPanel is a part of the AppKit framework. Appkit is used by every Mac app that presents a GUI to the user, including the Finder.

Whatever it is called or how it works, it still is way too slow for day to day practical use.

The “go to Photos app, find it and download it” method should take longer than the supposed direct method in file browser, but the convoluted method using the app that creates an extra file on your Mac is faster.

My point remains the same. The Photos app can open the photos database in a few seconds. Apple knows how to do this.

The file browser is likely written by a totally different team who never talks to the Photos app team. It would seem Apple has not paid any special attention to accessing photos in the file browser. Yet the photo library can easily exceed 10,000 images.

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It’s not a feature I have ever seen in Finder in close on 40 years of Mac use.

I see Media as a button in various apps - but not in Finder.

The slowness is in WebKit. It shows up in Open File Dialogs, looks similar to a Finder window, but isn’t Finder but WebKit. And it is still slow as Heintz Ketchp.

It has always been that way for me.