While Apple’s iCloud is the easiest way to transfer photos from an iPhone to a Mac, it’s still possible and sometimes desirable to transfer them directly.

This could be the case if your iCloud storage capacity is limited, or if you’re in an area with no Wi-Fi connection and need to transfer your photos quickly. It is also just faster to transfer many photos at once using the physical transfer process.

Whatever the reasons, here’s how to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac directly.

What we used?

We used the iPhone 13 Pro, but these methods work on any iPhone. We used the official Apple Lightning to USB-C cable that came with our iPhone 13 Pro, but any Lightning cable will work. We used a MacBook Pro 16-inch (2019), but any Mac will work

The short version

Connect your iPhone to your MacOpen the Photos appTrust your MacImport photosDisconnect your iPhone


Connect your iPhone to your Mac

Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a Lightning to USB cable. The cable that came with your iPhone should suffice, but any USB cable with Apple’s own Lightning connector on one end will work.iPhone Connect MacBook Lightning Cable


Open the Photos app

Open the Photos app on your Mac. You should see your iPhone appear in the left menu, under Devices. Click here.Mac Photos app connect iPhone


Trust your Mac

Photos will now ask you to unlock your iPhone, and your iPhone (when unlocked) will ask you if you trust your computer. Agree to trust it and enter your passcode to verify.Trust this computer


Import photos

Photos now shows all apps available to import. Select the photos you want to import, followed by the Import Selected button, or press the Import New Photo button in the top right corner to import only new images that aren’t already in Photos.Photo App Import New Photo


Unplug your iPhone

Once your photos have been imported, disconnect your iPhone

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I have a Windows PC?

There’s a slightly different process if you have a Windows PC instead of a Mac, but it’s just as easy

What if my Lightning to USB cable won’t fit on my Mac?

There are two types of USB ports that you may encounter on your Mac: the smaller USB-A and the larger USB-C. If your cable doesn’t fit, you’ll need to invest in a suitable USB dongle.

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