How to Fix ‘Please Unlock iPhone’ Photos Error

Importing photos from your iPhone to your Mac should be a simple process. However, sometimes you may face issues when importing these photos, and one common error message is “Please Unlock iPhone.” This article will overview the issue and discuss various solutions to fix the error.

Part 1: Introduction

The “Please Unlock iPhone” error appears when importing photos from an iPhone to a Mac. This issue often arises due to passcode protection on the device, connectivity problems, or software compatibility.

In this guide, we will discuss some possible reasons for this error and offer several tried-and-tested solutions to help you eliminate this annoying problem.

Part 2: Possible Reasons for the Error

Before diving into the solutions, it’s essential to understand the possible reasons behind this error message.

Reason 1: Passcode Protected iPhone

One primary reason for seeing the “Please Unlock iPhone” message is the passcode that protects your iPhone. When importing photos from a locked device, macOS requests that you unlock the device first. You might receive this error if you haven’t entered the correct passcode.

Reason 2: Connectivity Issues

A stable connection between your iPhone and Mac is crucial for transferring photos efficiently. A bad-quality cable or USB port could cause connectivity issues that result in this error message. It’s essential always to use good-quality cables and check if any debris is obstructing your ports before attempting photo transfer.

Reason 3: Software Compatibility

Up-to-date software on your iPhone and Mac is necessary for seamless photo transfer. Outdated software may cause compatibility issues and errors during photo import attempts. Ensure that both devices are running their latest versions for a trouble-free experience.

Part 3: Solutions to Fix the Error

Now that we understand some possible reasons behind the “Please Unlock iPhone” error, let’s explore various solutions to fix it.

Solution 1: Upgrade your Mac to the Newest Version

One of the easiest ways to resolve this error is by updating your Mac to its latest version. Here’s how:

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences.”
  2. Click on “Software Update.”
  3. If an update is available, follow the on-screen instructions to download and install it.

Updating your Mac can help you fix many issues, including the “Please Unlock iPhone” error.

Solution 2: Switch Another USB Ports and Cables

Using a different USB port and cable helps resolve connectivity issues causing this error. Ensure you’re using a good-quality cable, preferably an official Apple product. Test different USB ports on your Mac, as one may function better.

Solution 3: Hard Restart iPhone

Hard resetting your iPhone could also help fix this error. Follow these steps below based on your iPhone model:

For iPhone 8 or later:

  1. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  3. Press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears on your screen.

For iPhone 7 or 7 Plus:

  1. Press and hold the Volume Down and Power (Side) buttons simultaneously.
  2. Hold these buttons until you see the Apple logo appear on your screen.

For iPhone 6s or earlier:

  1. Press and hold both the Home and Power (Top/Side) buttons simultaneously.
  2. Hold these buttons until you see the Apple logo appear on your screen.

After hard restarting your device, try importing photos again to check if the error persists.

Solution 4: Update or Reinstall Apple Mobile Device Driver

An outdated or corrupted Apple mobile device driver can also cause this error. Here’s how to update or reinstall the device driver for both Windows and Mac users:

For Windows users:

  1. Ensure your iPhone is unlocked, then unplug and replug it into your computer (ensure the iTunes app is not running).
  2. Open “Device Manager” on your Windows PC.
  3. Locate your device in the list, right-click on it, and select “Update Driver.”

For Mac users:

  1. Unlock your iPhone screen and connect it to your Mac via a USB cable.
  2. Press the Option Key and click the Apple Menu.
  3. Scroll down and click USB.
  4. If your iPhone is listed, install the latest macOS version.

Updating or reinstalling the Apple mobile device driver may help resolve the “Please Unlock iPhone” error while importing photos.

Solution 5: Backup Photos to Mac, Instead of iCloud

By default, Finder’s backup setting is set to “Back up your most important data on your iPhone to iCloud.” You should change Finder’s backup settings to backup on your computer to fix this issue. Follow these steps:

  1. Unlock your iPhone and connect it to your Mac using a USB cable.
  2. Open Finder, pair your device with it and click on your iPhone in the sidebar.
  3. In the “General” tab, check the option “Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac.”

Solution 6: Delete Corrupted Lockdown Folder Files

When you tap on Trust when prompted by macOS while connecting your iPhone, files are created in a lockdown folder. If these files become corrupted, you may see Finder requesting you to unlock your already unlocked iPhone. Deleting the corrupted lockdown folder files can help resolve this issue:

  1. Disconnect your iPhone from your Mac.
  2. Navigate to /private/var/db/lockdown/. (Using Finder, press Shift+Command+G for the “Go to” option, then copy and paste the path above.)
  3. Delete the folder named “lockdown.”
  4. Reconnect your unlocked iPhone to your Mac.

Part 4: Alternative Methods for Importing Photos if Error Persists

If you continue to experience issues, try these alternative methods for importing photos:

Alternative Method 1: Use Image Capture

Image Capture is a macOS application that can quickly import photos from your iPhone. Follow these steps:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a USB cable.
  2. Open Image Capture on your Mac.
  3. Select your iPhone in the device list and choose the folder to save your photos.
  4. Click “Import All” or select specific photos and click “Import.”

Alternative Method 2: Wireless Transfer Options

AirDrop and Mail are wireless transfer options that can help import photos from your iPhone to your Mac without requiring cables:

For AirDrop:

  1. Enable Bluetooth on both devices.
  2. Open the Photos app on your iPhone, select the images you want to transfer and tap the Share icon.
  3. Choose “AirDrop” and select your Mac to transfer photos.

For Mail:

  1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone, select the images you want to transfer and tap the Share icon.
  2. Choose “Mail” and send an email containing the selected photos to yourself.
  3. Access this email on your Mac and download the attached images.

Follow these solutions and alternative methods to fix the “Please Unlock iPhone” error while importing photos from your iPhone to a Mac computer.

In addition to fixing the ‘Please Unlock iPhone’ photos error, another essential step is to delete hidden apps to ensure a clutter-free and optimized iPhone experience.

Happy photo transferring!


  1. What does the “Please Unlock iPhone” error mean when trying to import photos?

    The “Please Unlock iPhone” error occurs when there are connectivity issues, software incompatibility, or passcode protection on an iPhone. This error usually appears when a user tries to import photos from their iPhone to their Mac.

  2. How do I fix the “Please Unlock iPhone” error?

    There are several solutions to fix the “Please Unlock iPhone” error:

    1. Update your Mac and iPhone software to their latest versions.
    2. Switch to different USB ports or use a high-quality cable for connection.
    3. Hard restart your iPhone.
    4. Update or reinstall the Apple mobile device driver.
    5. Adjust backup settings in Finder to back up photos to your Mac instead of iCloud.
    6. Delete corrupted lockdown folder files on your Mac.

  3. Can I try alternative methods to import photos if I still face the error?

    Yes, you can try using alternative methods like Image Capture or wireless transfer options (AirDrop and Mail) if you continue experiencing the error.

  4. Why might a bad-quality cable or USB port cause the “Please Unlock iPhone” error?

    A bad-quality cable or USB port might lead to poor connectivity between your iPhone and Mac, ultimately causing issues like the “Please Unlock iPhone” error while trying to import photos. It’s essential always to use good-quality cables and ensure that your ports are clean and functional.

  5. What if I have already unlocked my iPhone but still see the “Please Unlock iPhone” error?

    If you have genuinely unlocked your iPhone but continue seeing this error, it could be due to other reasons, such as software incompatibility, outdated Apple mobile device driver, corrupted lockdown folder files, or poor connectivity. Follow the solutions mentioned in this guide for various scenarios, or try alternative methods for importing phot

Leave a Comment