How to Find the Location Where macOS Stores Custom Profile Pictures?

2018-09-15 OS X

Recently I was playing around with an app that had a feature to assign a profile picture. What caught my attention was the fact, that the popup that allows to do so, shows all my profile pictures I used to have since macOS Mavericks in a section called Recents.

This section however does not appear when you try to change your profile picture through macOS System Preferences.

I was surprised that macOS still keeps my old profile pictures. I decided to locate the directory and bin all old pictures so only the current one would remain.

Step 1

Press ⌘ + Space to open Spotlight and type Terminal or iTerm.

Step 2

Go to

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

Step 3

Open above path by typing

open .

A Finder window should appear, containing all of the custom profile pictures you have ever assigned to your account. It also contains a Recents.plist file – an XML that contains some info about each image.

Step 4

Identify the picture you want to keep and store it’s filename, which in this case is just an UUID with the file extension.

Step 5

Open the XML file and delete each dict item that contains file name different that the one you want to keep. Save it.

Step 6

Move all old profile pictures to Trash (along with the corresponding thumbnail). Empty the trash.

You’re done.

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