Can’t View Raw Photos On Mac

By | 30/10/2022
mac os big sur photos icon

You can edit photos in a multifariousness of formats with the macOS Photos app. For some folks, working with the RAW format offers several benefits.


Of course, keep in listen that files in the JPEG format, the standard file format in the digital photography world, are stored as compressed files. This means they take up less storage space than RAW files.

Dissimilar a JPEG file, RAW format is uncompressed and isn’t actually an image file, merely is a drove of data from your camera’southward sensor that are saved on your camera. Software similar Photos allows you to view the data as images and edit the RAW files. The benefits — as noted by Format magazine are:

  • Your camera is capturing absolutely all the data it receives from the photographic camera’s sensor so you accept more than data to work with.
  • RAW has a higher brightness level than JPEG.
  • The RAW format contains 68 billion more than colors than JPEG files.
  • RAW files have a higher dynamic range than JPEG files.

See the image below — courtesy of Digital Photography School — to get an idea of the differences.

Image comparison of a mountain showing color difference between jpg and RAW

The best way you can use the RAW format is after yous’re done shooting, during the editing procedure. Which is where Apple’s Photos comes in.

Most RAW Files on a Mac

There are some things you should know about the availability of RAW files on your Mac depends on a few weather:

  • If you take the Download Originals to this Mac option turned on in Photos (Photos > Preferences > iCloud > Download Originals to this Mac), then your RAW files are always present in Photos on your Mac.
  • If you have the Optimize Mac Storage pick turned on, then your RAW files are stored in iCloud Photos. The Photos app saves disk space on your Mac by displaying optimized JPEG versions of your RAW images. If you edit an optimized paradigm on your Mac, Photos downloads the RAW file for that image.
  • When Photos downloads a RAW epitome from iCloud Photos, it creates a new full-sized JPEG for optimal viewing on your Mac. It won’t supercede the RAW and embedded JPEG file already stored in iCloud. iOS devices will view the embedded JPEG.
  • RAW files that you store outside the Photos app library (say, in your Pictures binder) are ever present on your Mac, but aren’t stored in iCloud and won’t stay up to appointment in the Photos app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod bear on.

How to Import RAW Prototype Files Into Photos

To import RAW image files into Photos, open the app and:

  • Select
    File > Import.
  • Go to the folder containing the files yous want to import equally RAW.
  • Select a file or files and click
  • In the Import view, select the images to go along, so click
    Import Selected.

Use a RAW File as the Original in Photos

Some cameras allow you to shoot photos in both RAW and JPEG formats simultaneously. When you import your pics from these cameras, Photos uses the JPEG file as the original. Even so, you lot tin can tell it to use the RAW file as the original instead.

In the Photos app,
a photo to open information technology, then click
in the toolbar. Choose
Prototype > Use RAW as Original.

How to Shoot RAW Photos on an iPhone

If you’re similar me, you take most of your photos with your iPhone. However, the iOS Camera app doesn’t back up capturing RAW photos. However, at that place are several third-party apps that allow you to do this, such as the free VSCO, which is pictured below, and the $5.99 Halide.

VSCO: Photo & Video Editor

Dennis Sellers

Dennis has over 40 years of journalism experience and has written hundreds of articles. For the past 20-plus years, he’south been an online journalist, roofing mainly Apple Inc. He’s written for MacCentral, MacWorld, MacMinute, Macsimum News, Apple Daily Report, and is now contributing editor at Apple World Today.