Posted in Howto Guides

How to Import Photos from iPhone to Mac (3 Options Available)


How to transfer your favorite photos from iPhone to Mac computer? There are 3 ways to handle this task, i.e. iCloud Photo Library, Mac built-in apps, and AirDrop. Read through this post to learn how to import photos and videos from iOS to macOS.

Option 1: iCloud Photo Library

If you want to make your photos and videos available on all devices (including Apple devices, and even Windows PC), utilize iCloud Photo Library to sync them, and any changes you make on one device will kept up to date across other ones.

  • First, set up the iCloud on your devices, and sign in with the same Apple ID.
  • Connect your device to Wi-Fi, and make sure your iCloud has enough space to store your entire collection. Note that it requires money to upgrade your storage plan.
  • On your iPhone, go the Settings > iCloud > Photos, and then turn on iCloud Photo Library. If you have synced photos to your iOS device from iTunes, you will be notified that “Photos and Videos Synced from iTunes will be Removed”.
  • Meanwhile, on your Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud, click the Options button next to Photos, then select iCloud Photo Library.

After you turn on iCloud Photo Library, all photos will be uploaded to your iCloud account and can be accessible from the Photos app on all of your iCloud-enabled devices, including your Mac. One iCloud account offers 5GB of free storage.

Option 2: Photos/Preview/Image Capture

For me I would rather keep different collection of photos in different devices. So if you choose to store photos locally on your Mac, take the following methods.

  • Connect your iPhone to Mac with a USB cable, and unlock your screen.
  • Open the Photos app on your Mac, and click on your iPhone’s name on the sidebar.
  • As the interface shows all your collection of photos and videos, choose the ones you want to import to the Mac, and click the Import selected button on the right side.
  • If you don’t want to keep the photos on your iPhone (so you can free up some space), check the box saying Delete Items after Import before performing the transfer.

All your imported photos will show up in the Last Import folder on the side bar. If you wan to move them to a different location, select the ones , go to the Edit menu on the top bar next to the Apple icon, choose Import option, and specify the location. Additionally, Preview and Image Capture can do the same job (see what else you can do with Preview). You can have a try on them as well.

Option 3: AirDrop

Just want to import a few photos or don’t have a USB cable right now on your hand? Then try AirDrop. It allows you to quickly transfer files wirelessly. Here’s how to do:

  • On your Mac, open Finder, click on AirDrop on the side bar, then click on Turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and set your Mac to be discovered by Contacts or Everyone.
  • Unlock your iPhone, swipe up from the bottom of the screen, and tap AirDrop.
  • When prompted, choose From Contacts Only or Everyone as you need.
  • Open the Photos on your iPhone, select the ones you want to import, and tab Share.
  • Tap on your Mac’s name that appears in the list of AirDrop recipients.
  • Click Save button in a pop-up message on your Mac to accept the transfer.

To use AirDrop your iPhone should be iPhone 5 (or newer model) running on iOS 8 (or later), and you Mac on Yosemite (or later). If not, use the methods above.

Beside, there are many third party management tools on Mac that can help you transfer data between multiple devices such as PrimoPhoto, AnyTrans, Wondershare TunesGo, etc. You can choose the most suitable way to handle transferring task.


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