3 Ultimate Solutions to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

"I have an iPhone 7 and recently I bought a new MacBook Pro, it is said that we can transfer photos from iPhone to MacBook using the Photos app and iCloud, but how to do it, which one is better?Please help."

For several reasons, you will choose to import iPhone photos to Mac. One common reason is that, people have to transfer pictures from iPhone to Mac is to free up space.

High quality photos look good but take up more space. So in this post, will show you some simple ways to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac.

Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

As it mentioned above, Apple has introduced several services and features into iOS and Mac, such as the Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, in order to help users transfer data between iPhone and Mac. In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac with ease. If you are ready, let's start the wonderful journey.

Part 1: How to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac with iPhone Transfer (Best Way)

When you want to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac, both Photos app and iCloud can help you do that. But you have to admit that, you prefer to check and view pictures one by one, and then pick some of them to copy to Mac. Apeaksoft iPhone Transfer can be the best option you are looking for. It is also the best alternative to iExplorer. Its key features include:

  • Easy to use. This iPhone transferring application allows you to save pictures from iPhone to Mac computer in one click. That is important to novice users.
  • Two-way transfer. With iPhone Transfer, you can upload pictures from iPhone to Mac, from iPhone to iPhone or iPad, and add photos from Mac to iPhone simply.
  • Preview for selectively syncing. It has the capacity to display all photos saved on your iPad/iPhone/iPod. And you can preview, manage, and transfer photos from iPad to Mac selectively.
  • No damage on existing photos. The application will not damage or interrupt current photos on your iDevice and Mac computer during transfer.
  • Faster and safer. It uses physical connection to transfer photos between iPhone and Mac, which is quicker and safer and does not require internet connection.
  • Higher compatibility. iPhone Transfer works for iPhone 15/14/13/12/11/X, iPad Pro/Air/Mini or earlier generation, and iPod touch.
  • There are two versions, one for Mac OS and the other for Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP.

In a word, it is the best option to upload photos from iPhone to Mac OS. And we use an iPhone 7 and MacBook Air as the example to show you the procedure.

How to transfer photos from iPhone/iPad to Mac with iPhone Transfer

Step 1. Get the best iPhone photo transferring application installed to Mac

Download the iPhone Transfer for Mac, double click on the installation file, and follow the onscreen assistant to install it on your MacBook Air. There is a dedicated version for Windows PCs. Hook up your iPhone 7 into your MacBook Air using a USB cable and open iPhoto Transfer. It will recognize your device automatically.


1. We suggest you to use Apple's Lightning cable or authorized products. Third party cords may cause data loss or device damage.

2. If you connect two iOS devices to this computer, this software will help you get photos sync between the two iOS devices, like move pictures from iPhone to iPad, etc.


Step 2. Preview iPhone photos before transfer

Choose the Photos option on left hand column, all your photos saved on your iPhone 7 will show up on the right detail window. You can preview the thumbnail for each photo. iPhone Transfer also allows you to manage your photos before transfer. For example, you can select unwanted pictures on the detail window, and click on the "Delete" button with a trash can icon on top ribbon to get rid of them on iPhone.

Step 3. Transfer photos from iPhone to Mac

To download photos from iPhone 7 to MacBook Air, select all photos or certain ones that you want to download, unfold the "Export to" menu from top of the window and select "Export to Mac". On the popup dialog, drop a location to save iPhone photos to Mac. There is another option in "Export to" menu, "Export to iTunes Library". It could upload photos from iPhone to your iTunes Library on Mac directly. You can select proper option according to your demands.

In this step, apart from photos, you are able to choose other data types, like books, SMS, videos, audio, etc. and you will get an easy transfer from iPhone to Mac.

Learn the details here: How to transfer contacts from iPhone to Mac


This software is not a single-transfer, it can works as the two-way move tool. You can add data from computer to iOS device. Learn the details here: How to put movies on iPad from computer.

Part 2: How to import iPhone photos to Mac using Photos app

Apple has introduced a Photos app into latest version of Mac OS X/11, which works very similar to the Photos app for iOS. As the successor of iPhoto, it also inherits some useful features of iPhoto, including import photos from iPhone to Mac. This way only needs a USB cable.

How to import photos from iPhone to Mac with Photos app

Step 1. Use the original USB cable to link your iPhone to your Mac computer. By default, the Photos app on your Mac should open automatically once you plug your iPhone into Mac.

Step 2. Unlock your iPhone. And tap on "Trust" when prompted whether to trust this device on iPhone screen. If iPhone photos do not show up in iPhoto or Photos app for Mac, you should see your iPhone in the list on the left hand column of Photos app. Select your iPhone and the pictures stored in Camera Roll will appear in the window.

Moreover, you could also find the videos taken in camera, and could follow this way to transfer videos from iPhone to Mac.

Step 3. To download photos from iPhone to Mac, go to the "Import" tab from top ribbon, click on the "Import All New Photos" button at upper right corner. Alternatively, you can select specific pictures and hit the "Import [number] Selected" button to import them to Mac.


Tip: If you want to delete iPhone photos automatically after transfer, tick the checkbox next to "Delete items after import" on top of the window. Then the pictures will be deleted in Camera Roll after transfer to Mac.

Of course, sometimes you just want to charge the battery by connecting you iPhone to Mac, but not sync photos from iPhone to Mac. Photos will not open automatically as soon as you uncheck the "Open Photos for This Device" at upper left side.

How to upload photos from iPhone to Mac with iPhoto

If you have an old version of MacBook, you cannot find Photos app, instead iPhoto is the built-in photo gallery app on Mac.

Step 1. Also connect your iPhone to Mac and start iPhoto if it does not open spontaneously. Then the thumbnails of iPhone photos will show up in the window.

Step 2. To transfer photos from iPhone to MacBook, click on the "Import Photos" button. Or you can highlight the photos you want to save to Mac and click the "Import Selected" button to execute transferring.



  • 1. iPhoto app and Photos app for Mac are able to detect iPhone photos automatically when your iPhone connects to Mac computer.
  • 2. This way does not require third party apps and extra hardware.
  • 3. Photos app uses USB cable to transfer photos and not need Wi-Fi network.
  • 4. It could organize your photos in the way similar to Photos app on iOS.


  • 1. You have to take the Lightning cable here and there, which is not convenient.
  • 2. It is only feasible to the photos saved in your Camera Roll.

Part 3: How to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac using iCloud Photo Library

In addition to the Photos app, iCloud Photo Library is another option to copy a photo on a Mac from iPhone. iCloud transfers photos from iPhone to Mac through the internet, so it is a proper choice when you do not have the USB cable.

How to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac using iCloud Photo Library

Step 1. Unlock your iPhone, open the iOS Settings app from your home screen, turn on "Wi-Fi" and enter your Wi-Fi network credential. Then back to Settings screen, head to "iCloud" > "Photos" and put the switch of "iCloud Photo Library" to ON position. It may take a while to sync photos to iCloud.

Tip: If you choose to "Optimize iPhone Storage", it will stop iPhone getting full up of all the photos after syncing them to iCloud.

Step 2. Turn on your Mac computer, such as iMac, open the iCloud panel within System Preferences and turn on iCloud Photos Library.

Step 3. On the other hand, it is better to set up iCloud Photo Library in Photos app since it provides extra options.

Photo Library

Open Photos app on Mac, go to Preferences and activate iCloud Photo Library. Then you will be presented two options. If you have a large hard drive on your Mac, select "Download Originals to This Mac" option. This will transfer photos from iPhone to iMac/MacBook in original conditions. Otherwise, choose "Optimize Mac Storage" to copy photos from iPhone to Mac in lower resolution. The high-resolution photos will still save in your iCloud Photo Library.

After set up iCloud Photo Library on both your iPhone and Mac, your photos will sync to all your devices once they are online.

How to import photos from iPhone to Mac using iCloud Photo Stream

If your iCloud storage is not enough, My Photo Stream is a good alternative to transfer photos from iPhone to MacBook Air/Pro/iMac.

Step 1. Set up My Photo Stream on your iPhone. Go to "Settings" > "Photos & Camera" and turn on "Upload to My Photo Stream" by toggling the slide to right.

Step 2. Switch to your Mac, open the Photos app, head to "Photos" > "Preferences" > "iCloud" and enable "My Photo Stream".

Photo Stream


  • 1. iCloud Photo Library and iCloud Photo Stream could sync photos to all devices attached with the same account automatically.
  • 2. Apple gives 5GB free storage for each account.
  • 3. iCloud Photo Stream does not take up your iCloud storage.
  • 4. This way does not require a USB cable.


  • 1. If you want more storage, you have to purchase the paid plans, such as $1.99 per month for 50GB. If not, manage and clear iCloud storage.
  • 2. It usually takes more than half an hour to upload photos from iPhone to iCloud.
  • 3. iCloud is a web-based service, so you need a Wi-Fi network to look at iPhone photos on Mac via iCloud Photo Library.
  • 4. My Photo Stream only stores up to 1000 photos that you took in 30 days.
  • 5. Both My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Library need an Apple ID and password to set up.


In this tutorial, we have shared how to transfer photos from iPhone to MacBook Air/Pro/iMac/iMac Pro. Three methods are provided to help you easily copy iPhone images to Mac. Actually, youcan also transfer iOS data with AirDrop or Image Capture.

Go without saying that, Apeaksoft iPhone Transfer is the best tool to transfer pictures from iPhone to Mac. This all-featured iOS data transferring software also allows you to transfer other iOS files like contacts, songs, call logs, messages, videos, and more between iPhone/iPad/iPod and PC/Mac. Just free download it and have a try.

We hope that our guides and suggestions are helpful to you. If you have more questions related to transferring iPhone photos to Mac, please feel free to leave a message below.

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