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Question: Location of user account / profile photo

When I first got my MBP, I used the camera option to take a pic for my user account photo/icon. It turned out to be a really good pic of me, so I'm trying to locate the original file on my hard drive. I'm running Sierra 10.12.6.


Here are the google suggestions I've already tried:

~/Library/Caches/

~/Library/User Pictures

~/Library/images/ichat/recent photos

~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook/Images

~/Library/Caches/com.apple.iChat/Pictures/

~/Library/Images/iChat Recent Pictures/

~/Library/Containers/com.apple.ImageKit.RecentPictureService/Data/Library/Images /Recent Pictures/

/Mac HD/Library/Caches/com.apple.user501pictureCache.tiff


To be clear, this is how I took the photo.

User uploaded file


Anyone know where OS X stores this image?

MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016), macOS Sierra (10.12.6)

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Thanks. That's good news. I incorrectly assumed the screenshot was of a blank image because you had already deleted the image you want to retrieve.


Assuming the picture in that Users & Groups pane is really the one you want to retrieve, then do it this way using Terminal:


dscl . -read /Users/john JPEGPhoto | tail -1 | xxd -r -p > ~/Desktop/pic.jpg


That will perform a hex dump to deposit a .jpg of your login picture on your Desktop, named pic.jpg


It would be best to copy that line (triple-click to select the entire line), paste it something like TextEdit (for example), substitute your "short user name" for "john", and finally paste the result into Terminal.

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Jul 30, 2017 7:49 PM in response to kidchemical In response to kidchemical

It is stored as binary data in Directory Services, and can be retrieved from there.


Is it still your login picture? Because the bad news is that if you already changed it to something else, it's gone.


If it is still your login picture you can export it to an openable .jpg file. Write back for instructions.

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Question marked as Helpful

Jul 30, 2017 7:49 PM in response to kidchemical In response to kidchemical

It is stored as binary data in Directory Services, and can be retrieved from there.


Is it still your login picture? Because the bad news is that if you already changed it to something else, it's gone.


If it is still your login picture you can export it to an openable .jpg file. Write back for instructions.

Jul 30, 2017 7:49 PM

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Question marked as Solved

Jul 30, 2017 7:55 PM in response to kidchemical In response to kidchemical

Thanks. That's good news. I incorrectly assumed the screenshot was of a blank image because you had already deleted the image you want to retrieve.


Assuming the picture in that Users & Groups pane is really the one you want to retrieve, then do it this way using Terminal:


dscl . -read /Users/john JPEGPhoto | tail -1 | xxd -r -p > ~/Desktop/pic.jpg


That will perform a hex dump to deposit a .jpg of your login picture on your Desktop, named pic.jpg


It would be best to copy that line (triple-click to select the entire line), paste it something like TextEdit (for example), substitute your "short user name" for "john", and finally paste the result into Terminal.

Jul 30, 2017 7:55 PM

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Question: Location of user account / profile photo