How to import photos from iPhone to Macbook [Starters Guide]

Multimedia content such as photos and videos are usually among the factors utilizing the most of your iPhone storage. Thus, it’s recommended to remove all unwanted photos and videos from your device. Nonetheless, some of these files are too important that you couldn’t afford to delete them from your device. As an alternative solution, you can import these files to your other devices like a Macbook.

If you need help in doing so, I’ve demonstrated a step-by-step walk-through below. Read on to find out how to import photos from your iPhone to a Macbook.

What you need before importing photos

First, check and ensure that you are using a later, if not the latest version of the iTunes app on your Macbook. Otherwise, consider updating iTunes on your Mac computer beforehand.If your Macbook is already running on macOS Catalina, you can use the Finder app instead. 

Your computer software must also be up to date to avoid bumping into some sort of system conflicts.

Also ensure that you are using the original USB cable or Lightning cable that’s functional.

Different ways to import photos from your iPhone to Macbook

Moving photos and other content from your iPhone to a Macbook can actually be done in various ways. You can use the typical file transfer method using iTunes or using a third-party iOS file transfer app. Another faster method is through AirDrop file transfer.

Find out how each of these methods is carried out and from there you can find the best way to transfer your iPhone photos to your Mac computer.

Importing photos from an iPhone to a Macbook with iTunes

The typical way of importing iPhone photos to a computer is carried out using iTunes, particularly version 12.5.2 or later. Then follow these steps to begin importing your iPhone photos to your Mac:

import photos from iphone to macbook using itunes

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer using the original USB cable or Lightning cable.

  2. Enter your device passcode, if prompted to continue.

  3. When asked to Trust This Computer on your iPhone, tap Trust to proceed.

  4. Then on your Mac, wait for the Photos app to open. If the app doesn’t open automatically, click to open it.

  5. From the Photos app, you will see the Import screen containing all the photos and videos that are on your iPhone. If you don’t see this screen, click the Import tab on the upper part of the Photos app or simply click on your iPhone name in the Photos sidebar to select the device.

  6. Click to select the photos that want to import and then click the Import Selected command. 

  7. Or you can click on the Import All New Photos command to import all new photos on your iPhone to your Macbook.

  8. Wait for your iPhone to finish importing the selected photos to your Mac. Afterwards, you can disconnect your iPhone from your Mac.

To view the imported photos in your Macbook (macOS High Sierra or later version), simply open the Photos app and then open the Import album. If your Macbook is still running on an earlier macOS version, imported files can be found in the Last Import album instead.

Importing/moving Photos from your iPhone to Macbook via AirDrop

A faster way to move or import photos from your iPhone to your Mac is through AirDrop. AirDrop is a file transfer feature in Apple devices that allows you to instantly send content from your iPhone to a Mac or other Apple devices nearby. The file transfer is done through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

To get started, you need to enable AirDrop on your iPhone first by heading to Settings-> General-> AirDrop menu and then select Contacts Only or Everyone from the given options. 

After enabling AirDrop, continue with these steps to instigate photo transfer from your iPhone to Mac via AirDrop:

  1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone and find the photos that you want to move to your Mac computer.

  2. View the photos in thumbnail then tap Select on the upper-right corner of the screen.

  3. Mark or select the photos that  you want to move to your Mac. 

  4. After selecting all photos, tap the Share icon represented with a square with an Arrow Up.

  5. Enter the name of your Mac in the AirDrop section.

  6. Then on your Mac, accept the photos.

The selected photos will then be saved into the Downloads folder on your Mac computer.

Hint: You can change the location as to where the transferred photos will be stored on your Mac instead of keeping them in the Photos library folder.

  • To view stored photos in the Photos app on your Mac, just go to  Finder-> Pictures-> Photo Library-> Show Package Contents. 

The photos are stored in different folders contained in the main folder named Masters.

Importing iPhone Photos to Macbook using Image Capture

Image Capture is a macOS feature that allows you to transfer images and video clip from your iPhone, iPad, or cameras to your Mac. And here’s how it to use it to transfer iPhone photos to your Mac computer:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Macbook using the original or Apple-supplied USB cable/Lightning cable. Make sure your iPhone is turned on and unlocked.

  2. Then open the Image Capture app on your Mac.

  3. Choose your iPhone from the Devices or Shared list by clicking on its icon.

  4. At the bottom of the Image Capture window are the buttons you can use to view the thumbnails as list. You can also use the button to view larger thumbnails or to rotate images. 

  5. To change the thumbnail size, simply drag the slider in the lower-right corner of the screen.

  6. Next, click the Import To pop-up menu.

  7. Select the location or folder where you want to save the photos. You can also set which app to use to open the photos on your Mac.

  8. Then start selecting the photos that you want to import.

  9. When you’re done selecting photos, click Import or Import All.

Just wait for your iPhone to finish importing and the photos to be available on your Mac.

Syncing Photos from your iPhone to your Mac using iCloud Photos

Apple has its very own online photo storage service called iCloud Photos. When iCloud Photos is enabled, all photos from your iPhone will be stored in iCloud. These photos can therefore be viewed and downloaded from your Mac or other Apple devices with the same Apple ID as the one set up on your iPhone

Here’s how to sync and transfer photos from your iPhone to Mac via iCloud Photos:

  1. Go to your Mac and then click the Apple icon on the upper-left corner of the screen.

  2. Click on System Preferences then select iCloud.

  3. Check the box next to the iCloud Photo Library or iCloud Photos.

  4. Then go to your iPhone and tap Settings.

  5. Select Photos then enable iCloud Photos, if necessary.

Your iPhone will then start syncing photos to iCloud, making them accessible on your Mac. Just be sure to sign into the same Apple ID account.

Importing photos from an iPhone to a Macbook using third-party transfer tools

Aside from iTunes, you can also other software to import iPhone photos to a Mac computer. These tools can be downloaded to your computer for free or via one-time purchase. Resorting to alternative tools like this comes in handy whenever you face some trouble using iTunes. Just refer to these steps:

import iphone photos to macbook using third-party ios file transfer software

  1. Download the preferred iOS transfer tool you want to use on your computer and then install the software.

  2. Once the software is installed and ready, run it or simply open the app.

  3. Then connect your iPhone to your Mac using the original USB cable.

  4. When the devices sync, go to your iOS transfer tool and then select your iOS device.

Use the given commands to start importing photos using the software. The steps may vary between iOS transfer tools.


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