How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

This post will walk you through moving important image files from an iOS device storage to a Mac computer. Here’s a quick guide to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac.

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iOS File Transfer

The storage capacity of an iPhone is predetermined and varies between models. That said, if you’ve bought an iPhone with a 64GB (base) storage capacity, then that is what there is to utilize. And since the iPhone doesn’t have SD card support, the only way to add storage space is through iCloud or iCloud+. 

If buying iCloud storage isn’t a suitable option for you, then your next workaround to free up space on your iPhone is to transfer files to your other devices like a computer. 

Tackled below are different file transfer methods that you can resort to whenever you need to unclog your iPhone storage to give way for new files.

Steps to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

Transferring photos from an iOS device to a Mac computer can be carried out in different ways. But the most commonly used method is through a wire/physical transfer (USB connection).

Before you begin, make sure that your iPhone is sufficiently charged. This is imperative to avoid any unexpected interruptions due to low iPhone battery.

Feel free to start whenever you’ve got everything ready.

Step 1: To begin, connect your iPhone to your Mac computer using the Apple-supplied USB/lightning cable. Make sure that the connection is secure.

transfer iphone photos to mac cable

Step 2: When the iPhone is connected, open the Photos app on your Mac. All the photos and videos that are on your iPhone will show up in the Photos app through an Import screen. If the Import screen does not show up automatically, you will need to select your iPhone first. Just click on your iPhone’s name located in the Photos sidebar.

transfer iphone photos to mac photos

Step 3: If prompted, enter your iPhone passcode to unlock it. Your iPhone may also prompt you to Trust This Computer, especially if this is the first time you connect it to your Mac. If you see this prompt, just tap Trust to proceed.

Step 4: On the following screen, set your preferred destination folder where you’d like to import your iPhone photos to your Mac computer. You can choose an existing album or create a new one from the “Import to:” dropdown.

Step 5: After setting the Import location on  your computer, select the photos that you’d like to move and then click Import Selected or Import All New Photos on the top-right corner of the screen.

Step 6: Wait for the importing process to finish. Do not do anything on your Mac computer that may interfere with the process.

As soon as it’s completed, you can disconnect your iPhone from your Mac computer.

Where to find transferred photos on Mac?

To check and see if all the selected photos are successfully transferred, just navigate to the (Import to) storage location you’ve specified on your Mac computer.

Just repeat the same steps if you need to transfer or import photos from your iPhone.

Other Ways to Transfer Media Files from an iPhone to a Computer

Aside from the traditional USB file transfer, you can also utilize any of the contemporary file transfer methods such as AirDrop and iCloud Photos. 

Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac with AirDrop

With AirDrop, you can quickly transfer files between iOS devices and Mac computers without having to use a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection.

transfer iphone photos to mac airdrop

All you have to do is enable Bluetooth on your Apple devices and start sharing files.

AirDrop File Transfer Requirements

AirDrop is Apple’s very own wireless ad hoc service that’s mainly designed to transfer files among supported Mac computer and iOS devices by means of close-range wireless communication.

Communication between devices is made possible with the Apple Wireless Direct Link Action Frames and Data Frames over a generated link-local IPv6 addresses.

In order to transfer files with AirDrop, your devices must be within Bluetooth and Wi-Fi range. In short, they have to be nearby.

The receiving device must also have AirDrop enabled and set to receive from Contacts Only and that you’re listed in their Contacts. If you’re not in their Contacts, then the AirDrop on the receiving device must be set to Everyone for it to receive the file that you’re sharing from your device.

Steps to Transfer Files from iPhone to Mac using AirDrop

A better way to transfer high-resolution photos from your iPhone to a Mac computer is through AirDrop. 

And here’s how it’s done:

Step 1: To begin, access your iPhone’s camera roll then select the photo that you’d like to share thru AirDrop. 

Step 2: After selecting the photo, tap the Share icon.

Step 3: Go to your Mac computer and then launch the Finder app.

Step 4: Still on your Mac, open AirDrop and then wait for your iPhone to find your Mac computer.

Step 5: When your iPhone discovers your Mac, tap Send.

Typically, the receiving device will get an alert message saying that someone shares something with AirDrop. Just tap to Accept the file on your Mac. Once you accept it, the AirDrop will come through within the same application it was sent from. 

By default, all selected photos from the iPhone will then be moved to the Downloads folder in your Mac computer. If you’ve changed this option to another storage location, then that’s where you will find your shared photos from the iPhone.

Transfer iPhone Photos to Mac with iCloud Photos

Aside from Airdrop, you can also do wireless file transfer from an iPhone to Mac using iCloud Photos.

transfer iphone photos to mac icloud

iCloud Photos is Apple’s very own online storage service dedicated for pictures or image files.

When this service is enabled, all your iPhone photos will be saved in iCloud and accessible to the iCloud photo library of your other devices including iPad and Mac.

To make this possible, you will need to sync iCloud Photos on your iPhone and Mac beforehand.

Here’s how it’s done:

Step 1: Launch the Settings app on your iPhone, to begin.

Step 2: While in the Settings menu, find and then tap Photos.

Step 3: On the succeeding window, toggle to turn the iCloud Photos switch ON.

Doing so will automatically upload and safely store all your photos and videos in iCloud.

Step 4: Go to your Mac computer then enable iCloud Photos. To do this, simply click on the Apple icon and then go to System Preferences-> iCloud menu.

Step 5: On the next screen, tap to mark the Photos checkbox and then click the Options button next to Photos.

Step 6: When you see a dialog box, tap to mark the iCloud Photos checkbox and then click Done.

To ensure file iCloud Photos works as intended, be sure to sign into the same Apple ID used on your iPhone.

By then, your entire iPhone Photo library will start copying the contents to the Photos app on  your Mac. Just wait for the process to finish and you should be all set.

  • Your devices must have a stable Wi-Fi internet connection for the iCloud Photo transfer to complete. Sufficient iCloud storage is also needed in order to store all your images in iCloud Photos. If the 5GB free iCloud storage is not enough, then you’ll need to upgrade to iCloud+ to get more cloud storage.

You can buy more iCloud storage straight from your iPhone settings. Just select your name on the top of the settings menu and then choose iCloud on the next screen. Select the option to Manage Storage then Change or Upgrade storage plan. 

transfer iphone photos to mac upgrade storage

Available upgrade storage in iCloud would range from 50 GB up to 2TB. 

And that’s all about transferring photos from an iPhone to a Mac computer.

Please keep posted for more comprehensive iOS tutorials and troubleshooting guides on this site. Or you can check out this YouTube channel to view more comprehensive tutorial and troubleshooting videos including recent iOS devices.

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