What's the best way to transfer the photos on my iPhone on to my Mac? 

You've taken a load of great snaps on your iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S (preferably using our iPhone-ography guide) and now you want to get them safely on to your Mac. What's the best way to transfer photos from an iPhone to a Mac?

How can I upload photos from my camera to my iPad?

Transfer photos from iPhone to Mac: iPhoto

The traditional method for transferring your photos on to the Mac is to use iPhoto, which is preinstalled on all Macs as part of Apple's iLife package of media apps. iPhoto is principally a photo editing program, but you can also use it to import your snaps.

(If you've not added iPhoto to your Dock of apps at the bottom of the screen, you can find it in Applications - the icon depicts a camera with a photo of a palm tree. If you're going to be using it regularly, drag it on to the Dock, wait for a space to open up and release to place it. Click the icon to start iPhoto up.)

How to import photos from an iPhone to a Mac

Plug your iPhone or iPad into the Mac if it's not already, and you'll see the appropriate icon appear in iPhoto's lefthand menu bar under DEVICES. Click the iPhone and you'll see information about all the snaps on there, together with the option to import selected photos, or to import all of them (250 in our case) at once. Select the option you prefer.

How to import photos from an iPhone to a Mac

Now all our photos have imported, iPhoto offers the option to delete the imported shots from the iOS device - think carefully before agreeing to do so. If in doubt, keep them.

How to import photos from an iPhone to a Mac

Now you can examine your photos in iPhoto. Click Events and you'll see your photos organised according to when they were taken; click on a date and you'll see the photos from that date. Right-click and you'll get the most basic of options - rate it, rotate or delete. Double-click to view in a larger form, and you'll see more options along the bottom of the window, such as more complex edits.

How to import photos from an iPhone to a Mac

You can also drag photos from this screen into emails.

How to import photos from an iPhone to a Mac

Transfer photos from iPhone to Mac: Image Capture

If you find iPhoto a bit full-on for simple photo copying/import duties, however, here's a simpler alternative: Image Capture.

Our favourite method for copying snaps from the iPhone (or an iPad) on to a Mac is Image Capture, a Mac app that's preinstalled on Mac OS X Mountain Lion and all other versions of Mac OS X going back to Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4) and possibly before. (If you're on an earlier version of Mac OS X and haven't got Image Capture, let us know!)

Again, Image Capture can be found in the Applications folder. Start it up and you'll see any plugged-in iOS devices listed under DEVICES. Click the one you want to import photos from and you'll see thumbnails of what's available.

How to import photos from iPhone to Mac

You can simply drag any of the photos on to your desktop (this is the simplest method of all, and the one we use for one-off photo import) or set up a larger mass import: click one photo, hold Shift while clicking another, and Image Capture will select both photos and all in between.

How to import photos from iPhone to Mac

You can then drag and drop the whole set on to your desktop or to a specific folder, or click Import and they'll be imported to wherever you select in the 'Import To:' menu at the bottom of the window. Lastly, you can click Import All.

Note that any photos you've already imported to this Mac will have a green tick next to them: a handy reminder.

Transfer photos from iPhone to Mac: Email

Okay, if you're feeling really low-fi and you're just importing one photo, you can email the photo to yourself, then open your email on the Mac and copy the attachment wherever you want it. This might just be the best option if you wanted to send a baby photo, say, to the grandparents at the same time as importing it into your Mac.

Go to Photos on your iPhone or iPad and find the photo you want. If the menus have disappeared, touch the photo to make them come up again - there should be 'Camera Roll' at the top left, and an arrow coming out a box at the bottom left, among other things. Tap the box/arrow icon (which stands for sharing) and select Mail. This will pop the photo into an email for you.

How to import photos from iPhone to Mac

How to import photos from iPhone to Mac

See also:

Editing and annotating images with Preview

How can I upload photos from my camera to my iPad?

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