how to transfer photos from iphone to mac 740x416 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

There are many reasons for you to transfer photos from your iPhone to a computer. The number one reason for me is to save storage space. It’s so easy to build up the photo library: snapshots of everyday life, images saved from the web, and screenshots taken on the iPhone. As the photo collection grows, you want to sort out and back up the photos to your Mac before deleting them.

You can find many ways to transfer photos from your iPhone (or iPad) to your Mac. This tutorial will show how you can use Apple’s built-in functions on the iPhone and Mac. You will find out how to share photos on your iPhone without internet access, or update photos on your Mac without being nearby. So read on to find out which way works the best for you.

This tutorial is for people who own a Mac.

Import photos to your Mac with the Photos app

Apple has set up very easy methods for you to download photos from an iPhone to a Mac. You can use a USB cable to transfer your photos to the built-in Photos app on your Mac. The Photos app used to be the iPhoto app.

To import your photos into Photos:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a USB cable.
  2. Open the Photos app. If your Mac doesn’t automatically launch the app, you can either If your Mac doesn’t automatically launch it, you can use these shortcuts. You can go to the Launchpad and click the Photos icon. Or click the Spotlight search icon in the menu bar and type “photos” in the search box.
  3. Under Devices in the sidebar, you can see your iPhone listed there. Click your iPhone, and you’ll see all the images on your iPhone camera roll.
  4. Select the images you want to transfer, and then click Import Selected. If you want to download all the images, you can click “Import All New Items”.

Once the transfer is completed, you can see your photos in the Photos section under Library in the sidebar.

Import photos into Photos - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

Transfer photos to your Mac with AirDrop

AirDrop is another method to share photos directly from the Photos app on your iPhone to your Mac. It’s my favorite way to transfer photos to my Mac because it’s fast, easy, and most importantly, wireless.

To send photos from your iPhone to your Mac with AirDrop:

On your Mac:

  1. Choose Go > AirDrop from the Finder menu bar, or select AirDrop in the sidebar of a Finder window. If your Bluetooth and WiFi are not turned on, you’ll see a button to turn them on. AirDrop doesn’t require an internet connection for photo transfer. But you need to turn on Bluetooth and WiFi on both devices.
  2. In the “Allow me to be discovered by“setting option, select Contacts Only or Everyone. This doesn’t matter that much because you’re sending photos from your iPhone to your Mac. Leave this window open until the transfer is done.

Transfer photos AirDrop - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

On your iPhone:

  1. Turn on Bluetooth and WiFi.
  2. Open the Photos app on your iPhone.
  3. Tap Select, and choose the photos you want to share, then tap the Share icon.
  4. Find the device. Your should see an icon of your name and device (your Mac) in the AirDrop row.
  5. Tap the device icon (your Mac), and the transfer starts automatically.
AirDrop 2 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
AirDrop 3 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
AirDrop 4 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

When the transfer is completed, you can find your photos in the Downloads folder.

Upload your photos to the iCloud Photo Library

You can share your photos from your iPhone to your Mac using iCloud. iCloud lets you sync photos on all your iOS devices to one single iCloud account. This wireless photo sharing option is convenient because you don’t have to be near your Mac. You can upload the photos to the iCloud and then access them later on your Mac.

How to enable iCloud Photo Library:

On your Mac:

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Choose Photos > Preferences from the menu bar.
  3. Click iCloud.
  4. Select iCloud Photo Library. You can select to download original or compressed images.

Transfer photos iCloud Photo Library - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

On your iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Photos.
  2. Toggle on iCloud Photo Library.
iCloud settings 1 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
iCloud settings 2 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
iCloud settings 3 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
iCloud settings 4 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

When you take a photo on your iPhone, the photo automatically uploads to the iCloud Photo Library and updates on your Mac.

Share your photos to your Mac with iCloud Photo Sharing

If you don’t want to upload the entire camera roll to iCloud, you can create a shared album with iCloud Photo Sharing. You will only sync the photos that you’ve added to the album.

How to set up iCloud Photo Sharing:

On your Mac:

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Choose Photos > Preferences from the menu bar.
  3. Click iCloud.
  4. Select My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing.

Transfer photos iCloud Photo Sharing - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

On your iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Photos.
  2. Toggle on iCloud Photo Sharing.
iCloud settings 1 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
iCloud settings 2 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
iCloud settings 3 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
iCloud settings 5 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

To use iCloud Photo Sharing:

  1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Select, and choose the photos you want to share, then tap the Share icon.
  3. Select iCloud Photo Sharing, and create a name for these shared photos, then tap Next.
  4. Tap Create. If you are sharing these photos with others, you can add their emails so they get notified. Because you’re sharing these photos with yourself, you can skip this step and just tap “Create”.
  5. Tap Post.
AirDrop 2 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
AirDrop 3 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
iCloud photo sharing 1 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
iCloud photo sharing 2 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
iCloud photo sharing 3 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
iCloud photo sharing 4 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

Now you open the Photos app on your Mac, and you’re able to find the shared albums under the Shared section in the sidebar.

shared album mac - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

You can go to Photos > Shared on your iPhone and find all albums that you’ve shared via iCloud Photo Sharing. Once you’ve created the first shared album, you can You can create more shared albums by tapping the + button.

shared album iphone - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

Download your photos to a computer from iCloud.com

There are times when you want to transfer your photos or other documents from your iPhone to a computer but don’t have your MacBook or laptop with you. iCloud.com comes handy for you to download files stored on your iCloud account.

Make sure you have turned on iCloud Photo Library on your iPhone (go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Photos).

To download photos and documents from iCloud.com:.

  1. Visit iCloud.com.
  2. Enter your Apple ID and password. Do NOT select “Keep me signed in” when you use a public computer.
  3. Enter the verification code sent to your iPhone.
  4. If you sign in to iCloud for the first time, you’re asked: “Trust this browser?” Select Not Now if you use a public computer.
  5. Click Photos.
  6. Select photos you want to download and click the Download icon.
  7. Choose [your name] > Sign Out when you’re done.  This step is very important when you use a public computer.

iCloud.com 1 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

iCloud.com 2 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
iCloud.com 3 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
iCloud.com 4 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
iCloud.com 5 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac
iCloud.com 6 - How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

Note: you can also download files stored on the iCloud Drive, documents saved on Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.

Conclusion

It’s a good idea to regularly upload photos from your iPhone to your computer. The regular backups protect your images in case something should happen to your iPhone. They also help you stay organized. I recommend that you get into a photo sorting habit such as creating different directories for different places and events, deleting shots you don’t want to keep anymore. It will be a lot easier for you to find photos at a later date.

Happy organizing and synchronizing!

1 comment

  • Amazing! I could only boast of two ways of transferring photos from my iPhone to mac (that’s the AirDrop and iCloud photo library), I never knew there are multiple ways to do this. Good I stumbled on this post.