Copy photos and video from iPhone to Mac

iPhone Screen

iPhone Screen

One of the problems people run into when using their iPhone or iPod is copying the photos and videos off the device to their computer.  The common way to get things off the phone is to email it your yourself, then download it to the computer.  Though this does work, there are drawbacks.  Having to move items one at a time is a real annoyance.

What happens when you want to snag a pile of photos or video?  The one-by-one option isn’t effecient.  And it can eat up your data budget if there’s no wi-fi available. The biggest problem is for video – when you email it to yourself, the phone compresses the video prior to sending.  Thus, you loose that wonderful 1080p video you just recorded.

There are two very simple ways to copy a bunch of images and video from your iPhone or iPod to your mac.

1) The first is to use Mac Preview.  Yes, that simple program you use to look at videos and

Using Preview to copy iPhone / iPod video and pictures

Using Preview to copy iPhone / iPod video and pictures

pictures also allows you to download the same from your phone in full, glorious resolution.

All you have to do is plug in your phone/pod to your Mac, wait a few moments for the computer to register everything and then either open any picture on your computer or open Preview from the dock.  Then, go to the File menu and select “Import from xxx’s iPhone” or whatever your device reads.

Preview import window

Preview import window

A  window will then appear with a screen listing several options on how to get what you want off your toy and into your computer.  You can either select the ones you want and drag them to any folder, the desktop or wherever.  Or, you can use the importing options in the Import control.

On occasion, I have had the import menu item gray out, making it impossible to do the import from Preview.  If that happens, just disconnect the iPhone or iPod in iTunes, then reconnect.  In a few moments, the device will re-register and you will be able to use the preview import option again.

2) The second method is to use the application Image Capture in your Applications folder.  If, for whatever reason, Preview isn’t cooperating or you want a different approach, Image

Image Capture Application

Image Capture Application

Capture works wonderfully.

Use Finder and get to your Applications folder.  Then open Image Capture.

Once you have done that, you will have a window open that allows you to select the attached device.  As soon as you select your iPhone or iPod, the entire contents of the photos folder will be available for copying to

Image Capture window

Image Capture window

your Mac in full 1080p.  I prefer this method to Preview, as I don’t get grayed-out menu items.  Preview is quicker to get to, though.

Image capture has some handy photo and video information, as well.  You can find out file size, aperture, shutter speed and, amazingly, GPS info on the pictures!  That alone makes the image capture very nifty.  Where did you take this photo?  You can now find out.

iPhone photo/video GPS information

iPhone photo/video GPS information

What you might find on the web are articles describing another applications to do what is already built into your Mac.  I’m sure they have other great features.  But, I’ve never had a need for anything other than Preview or Image Capture to get everything off my iPhone.

I don’t use iPhoto or iTunes to do my importing because I can’t control where things land.  Since I have an older Macbook Pro, there isn’t as much space to let things land randomly.  I don’t like having uncontrollable things happen during my expeditions and I certainly don’t want things ending up where I can’t find them on my computer.

3 thoughts on “Copy photos and video from iPhone to Mac”

  1. macdvd says:

    If you mean the iPod camera pictures, Connect your iPod touch to computer through USB cable, and then open ‘My computer’, click on what should say ‘Apple iPod touch’ (possibly have a picture of a camera next to it). And then go to folder ‘Internal Storage’. You should find all your pictures and videos that you recorded with your iPod touch.
    For Mac user, you can use iPhoto to transfer the camera pictures.

    If you mean the photos that you sync from iTunes. You may refer to this step by step guide, it’s about how to copy photos from iPod back to computer. It’s easy to understand and works pretty well for my iPod touch.

    1. admin says:

      The article was written for Mac users. I don’t like using iPhoto, that’s why I offered these other methods. Also, the link you posted directs people to load more software on their machine when it’s not necessary.
      On the PC, at least in XP, you have to open the iPod/iPhone as a camera device and copy from there. Not sure in any other Microsoft OS.

  2. victoryox says:

    You may download wireless transfer app from App Store to help you. using the wifi connection, it lets you transfer photos and videos from iphone to Mac with ease. of course, there is no need for itunes or usb cable.

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