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How to sync photos from iPhone to Mac [5 Ways]

Discover various ways to efficiently sync your iPhone photos to Mac. Explore iCloud, the Photos app, wireless options, and 3rd-party tools for easy photo syncing!

Jasmin Woods Updated on Aug 17, 2023 7:32 PM

Easy and quick ways to sync pictures from iPhone to Mac wirelessly or using a computer.

Apple has created a seamless ecosystem, providing you with various ways to effortlessly sync photos from iPhone to Mac. Whether you want to move all your iPhone pictures to Mac or just pick a few to transfer selectively, the process is easier than you might think.

Through Apple's supported tools like iCloud, Mac Photos app, or the wireless convenience of AirDrop, it's effortless to sync iPhone photos to Mac without any hassle. Additionally, there's a handy tool called iPhone Data Transfer that lets Apple users quickly move photos back and forth between iPhone and Mac with a simple click, making it easy to sync your entire iPhone Photo Library to your Mac or select specific photos.

This guide explains how to sync photos from iPhone to Mac automatically or manually, and also covers beneficial tips on what's required before you get iPhone photos to Mac.

How to sync photos from iPhone to Mac automatically

For anyone looking for an automatic approach to sync iPhone photos to Mac wirelessly, there exists a seamless solution - iCloud. Once enabled, iCloud uploads and stores all your pictures in its cloud storage, ensuring seamless access to all iPhone photos across devices linked to the same Apple ID. That is, you don't have to sync photos from iPhone to Mac manually.

However, while iCloud makes all your iPhone photos synced to Mac automatically, it provides a mere 5GB of free cloud storage per user, which might not be enough to transfer all your iPhone photos to Mac even if you own a large Photo Library.

What you need:

  • Enough iCloud storage for iPhone-to-Mac photo syncing.
  • Good Internet connection on both sides.
  • Sign in to iCloud with the identical Apple ID on your iPhone and Mac.

Steps for how to sync iPhone photos to Mac with iCloud:

Step 1. Go to your iPhone's Settings > [Your name] > iCloud > Photos.

Step 2. From the next screen, turn on Sync this iPhone option. For device with iOS 15 or earlier, toggle on the iCloud Photos instead.

Step 3. On macOS Ventura, head to Apple menu > System Settings > iCloud; on macOS 12 or earlier, navigate to Apple logo menu > System Preferences.

Step 4. Click on your Apple ID and choose iCloud option.

Step 5. To sync iPhone photos with your Mac, turn on the Photos toggle.

Afterward, it will automatically upload and store your entire iPhone photo library to iCloud in their original formats and resolution, including all HEIF, JPEG, PNG, GIF, HEVC and other images. You're allowed to access them from your Mac, Apple devices or on iCloud web.

How to sync iPhone photos to Mac in one-click

If your iCloud storage is running out due to increasing iPhone pictures, there's another effortless option to sync iPhone photos to Mac all at once or selectively - iPhone Data Transfer.

This cross-platform data transferring tool facilitates seamless photo syncing between iPhone and Mac / PC, ensuring a smooth two-way transfer. Moreover, it boats extensive compatibility across all iOS devices and macOS computers, offering a user-friendly approach to sync all photos from iPhone to Mac with one click. Alternatively, you can selectively transfer specific iPhone pictures to iPhone, based on your preferences.

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What you need:

  • Your Mac with installation of iPhone Data Transfer.
  • A suitable USB data cable.

Steps for how to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac with iPhone Data Transfer:

Seamlessly transfer iPhone photos to Mac while preserving their original quality. It fully supports images, videos, camera roll, albums, live photos, and every single image within your Photo Library.

Step 1: Open iPhone Data Transfer on Mac and connect the iPhone. If required, unlock your device and trust your computer for authorization.

Step 2: Choose Photos tab from the left categories. This will scan and load all pictures on your iPhone by sort.

Step 3: Select the iPhone pictures you want to sync and click the computer icon at the top. To move the entire Photo Library, click the box next to Check All.

Give those selected items a location, and your iPhone photos will be synced to Mac directly. If you prefer a one-click shortcut to make a full photo syncing from iPhone to Mac, here's how:

  • Run the software and link your iPhone to Mac.
  • On the main screen, choose Device to PC from One-click Operation toolbar at the bottom.
  • Check Photos box and click on Start to be begin. You may set a destination from the right-side selector to save the synced iPhone photos on your Mac.

Follow the video guide to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac easily:

How to sync photos from iPhone to Mac manually

In addition to the automated iCloud photo syncing, the Apple ecosystem offers two alternative desktop methods for manual syncing of iPhone photos to a Mac.

Import photos from iPhone to Mac using Photos app

As the default manager tool for pictures and videos, the native Photos app on Mac allows you to manually import photos from your iPhone through a cable connection. Following the replacement of the former iPhoto app, Photos can make all your iPhone pictures available in one place and allows for easy editing and sharing after you sync iPhone photos with your Mac. Thus, the Photos app is now a quicker way to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac without iPhoto.

Note: If the iCloud Photos is activated on your device, the Mac Photos is unable to load and transfer the pictures from your iPhone.

What you need:

  • A proper data cable to connect your iOS device.
  • You're using macOS Yosemite or later.
  • Enough Mac storage for the iPhone photos you want to sync.

Steps to transfer iPhone photos to Mac by Photos:

1. Attach your iPhone to Mac using a USB cable, and launch Mac Photos app.

2. Click on your iPhone's name under Devices on the left sidebar. If asked, let your device trust your Mac and enter the passcode to proceed.

3. From the Import to box at the top middle, choose an existing folder where you want to save the synced iPhone photos on Mac.

4. Select the pictures you desire, and hit the Import Selected button to start syncing. Alternatively, you may check Import All New Photos to sync all newly added photos from your iPhone.

Move iPhone photos to Mac using Image Capture

Another way to manually sync pictures from iPhone to Mac is to use the Image Capture. Comes with macOS, it allows you to import images and movies to Mac from iPhone, camera, or other external devices. It's very easy to use Image Capture tool and get your photos from iPhone to Mac through a quick process.

What you need:

  • A Lightning-to-USB cable.
  • Sufficient storage on Mac to save imported iPhone photos.

Steps to import photos from iPhone to Mac by Image Capture:

1. Plug your iPhone into Mac via a USB data cable.

2. Enter your iPhone passcode and trust this computer.

3. Run Image Capture, select your iPhone in the Device section from the left side.

4. Select the iPhone photos to sync, and choose a location from the Import To menu at the bottom.

5. After selection, click the Download button to save the synced pictures on your Mac.

If you want to import all photos from iPhone to Mac, simply check the Download All option to save all images. Afterwards, it will be a breeze to transfer iPhone photos to USB flash drive for other potential uses.

How to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac wirelessly

The best thing in Apple ecosystem is that you can always share files between devices with the preset AirDrop. Instead of syncing pictures from iPhone to Mac by connecting your device, AirDrop offers a wireless option to share iPhone photos with Mac with a few taps.

What you need:

  • Enable AirDrop on your iPhone: Go to Settings > General > AirDrop > set it to Everyone or Contacts Only.
  • Turn on AirDrop from your Mac: Access Finder > Go > AirDrop; in the next window, set Allow me to be discovered by: Everyone at the bottom.
  • Position your iOS device and Mac within the range of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Steps to send photos from iPhone to Mac wirelessly by AirDrop:

  • Open the Photos app on your iPhone and locate the pictures you want to send.
  • Press the Select button in the upper right corner and tap on your desired photos.
  • Tap the Shae icon below > choose AirDrop among the pop-up sharing options.
  • From all detected nearby AirDrop users, select and tap on your Mac.

Once done, let your Mac accept the shared iPhone photos and save them to a local picture folder.

FAQs about iPhone photo syncing

1. How do I automatically sync my iPhone photos to my computer?

To automate photo syncing from iPhone to computer, iCloud would be your top-pick. When you enable iCloud Photos on both your iPhone and computer, the new photos you take with your iPhone will be automatically uploaded to your iCloud account and become available across all your iCloud-authorized devices, including your computer and iCloud web.

2. Why aren't my photos syncing from iPhone to Mac?

When utilizing iCloud for syncing iPhone photos with your Mac, ensure enough cloud storage is accessible. Make sure that both your Mac and iPhone are registered under the same Apple ID. Once confirmed, connect both devices to a stable Wi-Fi connection.

In the absence of these conditions, consider employing alternative methods to sync your iPhone pictures with your Mac:

  • Use the native Photos app on macOS.
  • Opt for cable-based importing via Image Capture.
  • Employ iPhone Data Transfer for seamless two-way photo transfers.
  • Leverage AirDrop for wireless photo sharing.
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