How to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac?


For OS X, the fastest and simplest way to copy pictures from an iPhone to a Mac is with Image Capture and Preview. We’ll discuss how with both apps.

Using Image Capture to Import Photos in OS X

Image Capture is a fast and efficient way to pull photos off the iPhone, which treats the device as a digital camera:

  1. Open Image Capture from the /Applications/ directory (or through Launchpad)
  2. Connect the iPhone to the Mac through USB
  3. Select a folder from the menu (default is Pictures folder) and then click “Import All”
  4. OR: Select individual photos, and click “Import” to only copy those pictures over

Image Capture is my preferred method because it’s fast, efficient, no frills, and allows users to quickly and easily copy the images from an iPhone (or iPad, or any camera), directly to the Mac. You simply choose where in the file system to copy the pictures, and it transfers them for you.

You can also transfer pictures to your Mac with Photos app, iPhoto, or Preview, which is just as simple and actually has a virtually identical interface for initiating the transfer. Here is how to import with Preview:

Copying Photos to the Mac with Preview in OS X

Though Preview is usually thought of as an image viewer, it can also serve as a fast importer:

  1. Plug your iPhone into your Mac
  2. Launch Preview
  3. From the File menu navigate down and select “Import from iPhone…”
  4. Select “Import All” to get all the pictures, otherwise individually select pictures and click ‘Import’
  5. Look in your ~/Pictures/ folder for the photos from your iPhone


How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to PC

On a Windows PC the easiest way to get pictures from your iPhone is to just use Windows Explorer, but there are two ways to go about this. In either case, unlock the iPhone before beginning, or else the photos may not be visible.

Using Windows Plug & Play to Transfer Pictures from iPhone to Computer

This utilizes the AutoPlay pop-up that shows by default in Windows when a device is connected to the computer by way of USB. This is the easiest way to access and copy pictures from iPhone to a Windows PC:

  1. Plugin your iPhone to the computer without iTunes running
  2. Wait for the AutoPlay popup asking you what you want to do with the device
  3. Select “View Content” or choose a device option like ‘Import pictures and videos’
  4. Find your photos through the folders that are displayed
  5. Copy the images from Windows as usual

How to move and view your photos if you have iCloud Photo Library enabled?

While I still have some issues with Apple’s iCloud Photo Library, it remains one of the best ways to keep your photos in sync between your Mac, PC, and any other iOS devices you may own. There are a few different ways to transfer photos from your Mac, which I’ll outline below.

Transfer Photos from Mac to iPhone with iTunes

Transferring photos from Mac to iPhone with iTunes requires that you have your iPhone attached to your Mac using a cable.

Then you just run iTunes and follow the steps below:

1) In Mac, create a folder with the photos you want to transfer.

2) In iTunes, press your device name and switch to the Photos tab in the right panel.

3) Choose the folder you just created.

4) Click the Apply button to start syncing photos from your Mac to your iPhone.

Transfer Photos from Mac to iPhone without iTunes (Wirelessly)

What if your cable is not available? Or you never use iTunes to sync files? Or you worry about any data loss during the sync? Here is the way to transfer photos from Mac to iPhone without iTunes and cable. You just get Wireless Transfer App to help you. It lets you upload photos from Mac to iPhone wirelessly and instantly. Moreover, if you need to transfer photos and videos from iPhone to Mac, or between iPhone/iPad/iPod devices, you can still have this app help you.

To transfer photos from Mac to iPhone using Wireless Transfer App:

1) Download and install Wireless Transfer App to your iPhone.

) Make sure your Mac and your iPhone are in the same Wi-Fi network.

3) Run Wireless Transfer App on your iPhone.

4) Tap the Receive button in the welcome screen of the app.

5) Go to the Receive from Computer screen.

6) Open a web browser in your Mac (i.e. Safari, Firefox, Chrome) and type the http address as exactly shown in the Receive from PC screen.

7) Find the Upload Images and Videos button in your web browser.

8) Browse your Mac and choose the photos you want to transfer to your iPhone.


Use Photos for Mac

If you’ve upgraded to Photos for Mac and you’re running OS X Yosemite or later, you should have no problem syncing your Mac’s images to your iPhone or iPad.

  1. Launch the Photos
  2. Go to the Photos menu and select Preferences.
  3. Make sure the iCloud Photo Library option is checked.

If you’re just not that into Photos for Mac yet, you can still send some of your Mac’s photos to your iPhone or iPad using iCloud’s older image-sharing features. It also happens to be my favorite hack for getting images from the now-discontinued iPhoto or Aperture onto your iOS devices.

Use iCloud Photo Sharing

  1. Go to Settings > Photos & Camera on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Make sure iCloud Photo Library and iCloud Photo Sharing is enabled.
  3. On your Mac, open iPhoto or Aperture.
  4. Select the pictures you want to upload.
  5. With your pictures selected,create a new Shared Photo Stream for them by clicking Add To > iCloud or Share > iCloud.


How to use iTunes (if you don’t have iCloud Photo Library enabled)

If you don’t yet have iCloud Photo Library enabled on your iPhone or iPad, you can use iTunes to sync your Mac or PC’s images to your iPhone. (If you do, skip to the next section.) Here’s how.

Prefer iTunes syncing to iCloud? No problem. It’s a piece of cake to get your images from Photos — or old versions of iPhoto or Aperture — to your iPhone or iPad, and you’ve got plenty of options for what you’d like to sync: albums, events (dates), and faces (people based on facial recognition), or individually choose a combination of albums, events, and faces that you want to sync.

  1. Organize your photos accordingly in iPhoto, Photos, or Aperture.
  2. Plug in your iPad or iPhone to your Mac.
  3. Open iTunes, if it doesn’t open automatically.
  4. Click on the iOS device icon in the top bar, then click the Photos
  5. Check the“Sync Photos”
  6. Choose iPhotoPhotos, or Aperture from the “Copy photos from” drop-down menu.
  7. Select the options you prefer.
  8. Click Sync in the bottom right corner.

Your iOS device will copy over all the images you’ve selected, and you’ll be set to go.

If you have any questions please feel free to comment below.

About mallo

Founder and CEO. I'm an Independent Cyber Security Researcher, Web App Penetrator, Server Penetrator, IT expert, Web entrepreneur, Tech blogger, Avid reader and dreamer. With more than a decade of experience in Software, Web and Mobile development.

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