OS X and iOS are very wise. They know full well that you'll encounter files you want to import into Photos in several places on your Mac and iOS devices, including from within other apps. In this column, you'll discover several convenient sidedoors into Photos that work whether the program is running or not.
On your Mac
When you use the following import commands, OS X quietly and efficiently adds the files to a waiting folder in the Photos Library package file and, the next time you launch your System Photo Library (the main library that works with iCloud Photo Library), your digital goodies are automatically imported. You'll find them at the end of the All Photos album, though they're also visible in Photos view inside the moment the file chronologically belongs to. Here's how to do it:
Finder. Control-click an item anywhere in the Finder and choose Share > Add to Photos from the resulting shortcut menu or, if the item is in a Finder window, click the Share icon in the window's toolbar and choose Add to Photos. You can also import the file by dragging it atop the Photos icon in your dock, or onto the Photos window itself if it's open.
Mail. If you get an email with a picture or video attached, simply Control-click the item and from the shortcut menu that appears, choose Export to Photos or Share > Add to Photos. You can also drag the item atop the Photos icon in your dock.
Messages. If you receive an image in the Messages app on your Mac, Control-click it and choose Add to Photos Library from the shortcut menu. Alternatively, you can drag the image from the Messages app onto the Photos icon in your dock or atop the Photos window itself.
Safari. If you're on a surfing Safari (ha!) and browsing a webpage or accessing your webmail, you can save an image on the page or in an email message by Control-clicking it and choosing Add to Photos Library. You can also drag the file onto the Photos icon in your dock.
Photo Booth. If you capture an image using the Photo Booth app (it's preinstalled on your Mac), select the image and then click the Share icon and choose Add to Photos. Or, simply drag it onto the Photos icon in your dock or onto the Photos window itself.
Preview. If you open an image in the Preview app, click the Share icon in Preview's toolbar and choose "Add to Photos".
This trick also lets you import images into Photos from apps that don't sport a share icon. Shockingly, the selfish app list includes Apple's own Pages, Keynote, and TextEdit, as well as Adobe's Acrobat and Reader, and (unsurprisingly) all of the Microsoft Office apps.
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