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Six ways to transfer photos from your Mac to iPhone quickly

Transferring photos between Mac and iPhone can be very easy if you follow the instructions in this guide. Let's scroll down to see how.

Jasmin Woods Updated on Jun 20, 2023 6:19 PM

Every once in a while, your Mac might have some important files that you really need on your iPhone. It could be your favorite music, a couple of documents, or perhaps some precious pictures that you'd like to save into your iPhone Photos. If you're the one who's wondering how to get the photos from a Mac to an iPhone, this is the post you'll be interested in.

Whether you want to transfer all your picture folders or only some essential images, there're quite a few different approaches that you can take to send your photos from a Mac to the Photos Library on your iPhone. From using a USB cable to using the cloud storage, we have you covered with our guide on how to transfer your pictures to your iPhone from a MacBook.

Simple but useful instructions on how to put your photos on both your macOS and iOS devices.

Import photos from a Mac to an iPhone with a wired connection

For Mac to iPhone transfer, you can use a USB cable to bridge your devices, which is usually quicker than using the cloud storage services since the copy-and-paste process happens simultaneously between the connected devices. When using the cloud storages based on the Internet, you're basically syncing your pictures among three places, but a cable makes it two.

Transfer photos via iTunes or Finder

When you need to transfer photos from a Mac to an iPhone or vice versa, iTunes or Finder is one of the most useful tools in this space, letting you move your photos and files to another Apple device over a USB cable.

1. Run Finder or iTunes on your Mac, and connect your iPhone. (If your Mac is running macOS Catalina and later, use Finder on your computer. If it's macOS Mojave or earlier, try iTunes.)

2. Click your iPhone's name from the left sidebar. If your iPhone hasn't been connected to this Mac before, you'll have to confirm 'Trust' on both devices.

3. Click 'Photos' from the horizontal option bar. If your iPhone has enabled iCloud Photos, you will not be able to find the 'Photos' button. Turn it off first, and try again.

4. Tick the checkbox 'Sync photos to your device from'. And choose either Photos app or another picture folder you want from the drop-down menu.

5. At the bottom of the window, hit 'Apply' option to start syncing.

You can also choose to sync 'All folders' or just 'Selected folders' from your Mac.

Once done, you can check the synced pictures in your Photos Library on your iPhone.

However, iTunes or Finder is kind of apps that either work perfectly or don't work at all. Alternatively, there's another third-party solution worth checking out. Below, we'll explain how to import photos from your MacBook to your iPhone using iPhone Data Transfer.

Transfer photos to an iPhone from a MacBook using iPhone Data Transfer

If you're looking for a quick and easy app that lets you transfer photos and files across your devices, then look no further than iPhone Data Transfer. It has abundant features, like the ability to transfer photos and files from Mac to iPhone, PC to iPhone, and even iPhone to iPhone. With its focus on data transfer, you'll find it effortless to import your photos and files across iOS, macOS and Windows system with no barrier.

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for macOS | for Windows

Get photos on your iPhone from Mac in 3 steps:

Step 1: Launch iPhone Data Transfer and connect your iPhone

To make the content and data on your device accessible, you may need to enter the screen passcode to let your iPhone trust the computer.

Step 2: Click 'Photos' from the left sidebar

It also supports photos from iPhone to iPhone, iPhone to iPad, and iPhone to PC or vice versa.

Step 3: Add pictures from Mac to iPhone

Click the '+' button at the top from the options. Then select the photos you want to move into your iPhone from a picture folder on your Mac computer.

You can choose either photos or picture folders as many as you'd like.

Once done, the syncing process will follow immediately. It usually takes a few seconds to import the photos to your iPhone from your Mac. After that, you'll be able to check the added pics in Photos Library on your iOS device.

Of all the transfer apps out there, iPhone Data Transfer is the most simplistic and easy to use. And you can also transfer your music, videos, messages, contacts and other documents to or from another connected device via a USB cable.

How to transfer photos on Mac to iPhone wirelessly

Well, with a wired connection, you can easily transfer your photos directly. But it doesn't mean there are no simple and quick methods to get your photos to your iPhone from Mac wirelessly. The most obvious way to sync your pictures between your Mac and iPhone is to use the cloud storage that both of your Apple devices can get connected to.

Sync pictures between Mac and iPhone with iCloud Photos

iCloud Photos has made it simple to sync your photos between Mac and iPhone without needing any intermediate cables. With your Apple account, you can get 5 GB online storage for free, or a much larger capacity if you upgrade to iCloud + with a paid subscription.

1. Enable iCloud Photos on your iPhone: Access Settings and tap the user's name. Locate iCloud>Photos, and toggle on iCloud Photos.

2. Open 'Setting Preference' on your Mac.

3. Tap your Apple ID and choose 'iCloud' from the left menu.

4. Tick the box beside 'Photos'. That's how you enable iCloud Photos on your Mac.

Once you've turned on iCloud Photos on both of your macOS and iOS devices, it will begin uploading pictures from your iCloud devices to iCloud Photos. You can go to Photos Library and locate the synced pictures on your iPhone.

Generally, iCloud upload your photos from your devices to iCloud storage. If both your macOS and iOS devices are syncing pictures locally, then as one uploads photos, the other will download simultaneously. However, it's important to understand that if you delete pictures on your devices or iCloud, you may also get them deleted from all your iCloud devices.

Download photos to iPhone from iCloud web

iCloud Photos is an excellent option as long as you have enough storage space for your photos. Additionally, you can use its website to upload the photos on your Mac, and then download to your iPhone. With a simple link to your iCloud Photos, it allows you to quickly sync your photos from your Mac to your iPhone.

First, open a browser on your Mac and go to iCloud Photos.

Next, sign in to your iCloud Photos by entering your Apple ID and the password.

Then click the upload button in the upper right corner and select the pictures from your Mac.

It's also available to save pictures to your Mac from iCloud by clicking the download button.

When the pictures are added to iCloud Photos successfully, you can easily check them in Photos Library on any of your iCloud devices.

Import photos to an iPhone from a Mac using Google Photos

Like iCloud Photos, Google Photos is also an ideal pick for people who want to import photos from their Mac to their iPhone. Google Photos provides each user with 15 GB free cloud storage, which is much larger than iCloud offers. Just install it on your Apple devices and sync your photos as needed. Be aware of the storage space that your pictures may take up.

1. Open Google Photos on your Mac and log in to your account with your Gmail ID. Or you can also access Google Photos through Google Photos website.

2. Click 'Upload' > 'Computer' in the upper right corner. Then choose photos or entire picture folders from your Mac to Google Photos.

You can also drag and drop your pictures or videos here to upload.

3. Click the 'Upload' button after you pick what you want.

Click 'Upload' and the selected pictures will be uploaded to Google Photos soon.

4. Open Google Photos app on your iPhone, and sign in with the same Gmail ID.

5. Locate the pictures on your Google Photos. Select the images you want, and tap 'Share' button. Then choose 'Save Image' option to get the photos to your iPhone Photos Library.

There are many cloud storage apps you can choose from. Just keep in mind that cloud services have storage limit, so to transfer a large number of photos, you might be better off using a physical cable as we mentioned above.

Bonus: AirDrop photos from your Mac to your iPhone

If you'd like to use neither USB cable nor cloud storage services, AirDrop will be a good option for you to send photos from your Mac to your iPhone. You don't need to use a cable to connect your phone with your computer. AirDrop performs a wireless transfer across your Apple devices which are within Bluetooth and Wi-Fi range. Just make sure your devices have AirDrop enabled and also set to receive from 'Everyone'.

First, on your computer, open the folder where you have your pictures. It'll be quicker if you put all the photos you want into the same folder.

Next, choose the photos you'd like to share. You can hold the 'Command' key on your keyboard while selecting multiple pictures from the folder.

Then, right click your mouse and locate 'Share' > 'AirDrop' from the following options.

You can also click the 'Share' button at the top and choose 'AirDrop'.

After that, choose your iPhone's name when the AirDrop window pops up on the screen.

When it's finished, your iPhone will receive a notice message asking whether to accept the pictures that someone shares with you. Tap 'Accept' and all the selected pictures will show up in Photos Library on your iOS device.

As a built-in feature, AirDrop does have the ability to help you share photos between your Apple devices. But in general, it may not be your top pick especially when you have an enormous number of photos to transfer.

Getting photos to your iPhone from Mac can be easy

Hopefully, the various methods in this guide will help you import photos from your Mac to iPhone with ease. Depending on how many photos you want to transfer, or whether you'd like to use a USB cable, the only problem you have now is to decide which way you prefer. And you will not be limited to sending photos from a Mac to an iPhone, you can transfer your music, videos and other documents from your Mac to an iOS device as well.

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