The Quickest Way on How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

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The photos and videos in your phone are in some ways more valuable than gold. One picture of a precious memory has been lost, it’s gone. There’s no recreating youth, no revisiting a child’s first steps, no traveling back to Rome or Paris or New York with spending an inconceivable amount of money and time. What you need is to know how to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac.

Or, maybe you’re just making a collage, want to play with a photo in photoshop or any of a hundred reasons you’d want your pictures on your MacBook or desktop Mac.

No matter the reason, you need a quick, safe, and simple way on how to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac.

There are two easy ways to do it, and we’ll cover both methods in detail.

Learn How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac.

Don’t worry about your level of tech savvy – all of the directions here will be presented in simple language and in an easy-to-follow step-by-step manner. Apple prides itself on simplicity, and the process of transferring your pictures is no different.

If you’re stressed about how to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac, take a deep breath and dive right in.

This article on how to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac will be divided into two sections. This section will explain how to physically transfer your photos to a device of choice with a cable. The next section will detail how the Cloud library works, showing you how to digitally back up and transfer your photos without a fuss.

What You’ll Need to Have for a Physical Transfer

First – perhaps to no surprise – you’ll need both physical platforms at hand: your iPhone and your Mac. From there, you’ll need a USB cable to connect the two together.

There is a software component that needs to be taken care of in advance. Make sure that iTunes on both of your devices is updated. Your phone is probably taken care of automatically, but your Mac may need some attention. Also, make sure you have iTunes on your computer. If you don’t, visit the download page to get a free install.

In order to update iTunes (or check that iTunes is updated to the latest version), you’ll have to first open the App Store from your Mac. Then, click the “Updates” button at the top of the App Store. It should update both the OS and iTunes from there.

Making the Transfer

The first step is to unlock your phone using your normal password. The next step is to plug the USB cable into your iPhone and then into your Mac.

We’ll be using the Photo app that comes with your Mac next. Which ideally should open automatically as soon as you plug in your USB cable. If the Photo app doesn’t pop up, then all you have to do is click the app yourself and start it that way.

Now you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the Import section of the Photos App. Again, in theory, the Import screen should activate when the Photos App does. But in the case that it doesn’t appear, you can click on the tab that says “Import”. Then pick the name of your phone from the sidebar that pops up after clicking the tab. It should just be “iPhone” unless you’ve manually changed the name.


Once the “iPhone” is clicked, the main window of the Photos App should populate with all of the images and videos from your device. If you just want to copy all of the photos you have on your device to the Mac, or if you have imported before and just want to back up the newest photos, look at the top right corner of the app. Click the blue button labeled “Import All New Items” to copy all photos. Or, just the newest photos since your last import – the app will figure that out by itself.

If you only want to copy a few photos, then all you have to do is click on the photos you want to transfer. And then click “Import Selected” up near the top of the app to copy just those photos to your library.

Ending the Transfer

Once the process has finished your next step is to eject your phone. It may take some time depending on how many photos you have.

Just unplugging the USB cable is a bad idea and could corrupt the data on your phone. Instead, click the “Finder” icon on the bottom left side of the screen. A screen should pop up that shows Applications and Devices. Under the Devices area, find your iPhone and click the upward-pointing arrow just to the right of it.

Then you can unplug the USB cable and you’re done! All of your imported photos and videos will be found in your Photos App

How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac Using the Cloud

If you’d rather have your photos back up to your Mac automatically (and subsequently to the Cloud), the only thing you have to do is the initial setup.

That’s one of the best things about the Cloud. Once you’ve got everything in place, you don’t have to stress about your photos or videos anymore. You could drop your iPhone in a toilet. Or your Mac’s hard drive could crash, and you’d still have all of your backed-up photos and videos on the Cloud servers.

All you need to access them after such a hypothetical double-tragedy would be your Apple ID information. And either another computer or another iPhone to log into and retrieve your library.

But, if you’re just looking to use it to access photos on your Mac, it’s great for that too.

The Pre-Prep Work

Just like using the Photo App to make a physical transfer, you’ll need to make sure that your phone and Mac’s software is all updated to ensure compatibility.

For your mobile devices, you’ll have to go to the Settings menu. Then General tab, and then scroll down and tap “Software Update.” For your mac, you’ll want to open up the App Store. Then peruse the Settings tab, and select “Software Update.” Once you update all parties, we can move on to the next step.

Installing and Setting Up iCloud

As long as you sign into your Apple ID account on all of your devices, then iCloud should already be ready to go.

However, iCloud can sync separate parts of your phone and only your choice of media. So you’ll want to doublecheck that the Cloud is backing up what you want. To do this, navigate to Settings and pick your name. Then take a look at the list of available syncing options. These will include things like Calendars, Contacts, Photos (and Videos). And any other apps that may offer the option of syncing to the Cloud.

Next, you’ll want to use the Finder on your Mac computer to check if you have iCloud installed. If not installed, then you can find it in the App store. But more likely than not it’s already installed, updated, and logged in (if you’re using the same Apple ID as your mobile device).

You’ll go through the same process on your Mac as your mobile device. Open up the iCloud program, go into settings, and choose which things you’d like to sync (Photos, Calendar, etc.).

Checking and Usage

In theory, all should be well. And all of your Photos and other data of your choice should now be available on your Mac. Now, the nice thing about having set this up is that, from now on, you don’t have to worry about it. It’s a true “set it and forget” solution to backing up your photos. From now on (at least with these two devices), if you take a picture on your iPhone, it will show up on your Mac and be available for use.

The last step is verifying that all of this worked according to plan. Take a quick peek through all of the new photos and videos on your Mac (just a visual scan). This is to make sure it matches up with your iPhone. Once your satisfied, congratulations! Your photos are now on back up and ready for any Apple platform (or even PC platform with iCloud installed) from now on.

Now You Know How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

Just like that you’ve got two methods for moving photos from your iPhone (or iPad or another mobile device) to your Mac. Physical will generally be faster if we’re comparing them straight across. Because data transfer via physical cable is always to be quicker than Wi-Fi.

However, the hassle-free nature of using the iCloud to transfer your photo will probably save you time in the long run. And will absolutely save you frustration and hassle.

In fact, now you’re such a photo-transferring expert that your friends will probably ask your help on how to transfer photos from iPhone to mac. Just remember to give them a friendly ribbing beforehand.

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Last update on 2021-05-17 at 15:55 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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