How to Transfer Photos From an iPhone to a Mac

By Andrew Tennyson

Learn how to use the Image Capture and Photos apps to transfer photos onto your Mac from your iPhone. Also learn how to transfer photos using iCloud and email.

Things You'll Need

  • USB cable

Take advantage of the Image Transfer and Photos apps on your Mac to transfer images onto the computer from your iPhone. Both apps are part of the OS X operating system and come preinstalled on your Mac. If you'd prefer to work wirelessly, you can also transfer photos from your iPhone to your Mac using iCloud or email.

Using the Image Transfer App

Step 1

Connect your iPhone to your Mac using the iPhone's USB cable.

Step 2

Open the Image Transfer app on your Mac and select your iPhone under the Devices heading in the top-right corner of the application window.

Step 3

Choose your import destination

Click the Import To drop-down menu at the bottom of the application window and select the folder on your Mac into which you want to transfer the photos.

Step 4

Transfer the photos

Click the Import All button to import all available photos from your iPhone to the selected folder on your Mac. If you want to transfer only certain photos, select the photos to transfer and then click the Import button.

Using the Photos App

Photos is Apple's photo management application that comes bundled with OS X. It replaced iPhoto when Apple released the Yosemite version of the OS X operating system.

Step 1

Connect the iPhone and open the Photos app

Connect your iPhone to your Mac using the iPhone's USB cable and then open the Photos app on your Mac, if it does not open automatically. You can launch the Photos app using the Launchpad or by selecting it in the Applications folder in the Finder.

Step 2

Open the Import panel

Click File on the main menu located along the top of your Mac's screen, and then select Import and choose your iPhone on the list of connected devices, if Photos doesn't select it automatically.

Tip

You can also initiate the Import tool by clicking the Import tab located along the top of the Photos app.

Step 3

Delete items after import

Place a check mark in the Delete Items After Import check box if you want to remove the transferred photos from your iPhone after the transfer is complete. This step is optional.

Step 4

Select and transfer your photos

Click the Import All New Photos button to transfer all new photos from your iPhone to your Mac. Alternatively, if you only want to import certain photos, select them and then click the Import Selected button.

Alternate Import Methods

Although Image Capture and Photos represent the two simplest and fastest ways in which to import photos, they are not the only methods available.

If you'd prefer to work wirelessly, use iCloud to sync photos from your iPhone to your Mac. Open the Settings app on your iPhone, select iCloud, tap Photos and then enable the My Photo Stream feature. Open the Preferences panel in the Photos app on your Mac, click iCloud and then place a check mark in the My Photo Stream check box. Photos not automatically transfer from your iPhone into the Photos app.

You can also transfer photos to your Mac from your iPhone using email. Open the Photos app on your iPhone, select the photo you want to transfer, tap the Share icon and then tap Email to attach the photo to a new email message. Email the photo to yourself and open it on your Mac.

Warning

Connect to a Wi-Fi network whenever possible when using iCloud or when transferring photos through email to avoid using a large amount of your monthly cellular data allotment.