How to Transfer Pictures from your iPhone to a Mac

Are you having trouble transferring media files from your iPhone to your Mac? Do you consider it a job only for tech experts? Well, don't panic. Transferring pictures is a fairly straightforward task. Whether you want to save storage on your iPhone or edit photos on your Mac – we have created an easy to follow, step-by-step guide on the four ways it can be done.


Arguably the easiest method of transferring photos from your iPhone to a Mac is to use an email client. First launched way back in the 1960s, email has been around for a very long time, and now more than ever, it is accessible and is convenient. Some of the most popular email clients are Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo Mail.

How to Transfer Pictures Via Email

  1. Create an email account (if you don’t have one already).
  2. Login to the email account on your iPhone.
  3. Compose a new email.
  4. Add pictures to the email as attachments.
  5. Save the email as a draft.
  6. Login to the email account on your Mac.
  7. Save the attachments to your device.

Problems with Email

This method has one major drawback. Most email providers limit the size of the attachments that you may send, usually to around 25MB, which is insufficient when you're trying to transfer pictures in bulk. You can get around that by drafting multiple emails, but that is just a big hassle. Not to mention that you will have to download every single one of the photos individually on your Mac – which is a lot of work.


The second method for transferring photos is to use Apple's Airdrop. First introduced in Mac OS X Lion and iOS 7, Airdrop is a file-sharing feature for devices within the Apple ecosystem. This is a huge selling point for the Apple users since the transfer speed is insanely fast, and so long as you have a compatible Apple device, of course, the integration is seamless. There is no drop in the quality of the pictures either, so you get exactly what you initially captured on your iPhone.

How to Transfer Pictures Via Airdrop

  1. Turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth your Mac.
  2. Turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth your iPhone.
  3. Go the Photos app on your iPhone and select the photos you want to transfer.
  4. Hit the Share button on the bottom left-hand corner.
  5. Select ‘Airdrop.’
  6. The name of your Mac will show up on your iPhone.
  7. Hit 'Send'

Problems with Airdrop

There is only one minor problem with Airdrop. Even though Apple hasn't specified a limit, some users complain that transferring files over 10GB often returns an error message. Besides that, this is an excellent method of transferring files, especially if you're looking for something fast and quick.

Data Cable Method

This next one is probably the most reliable method. The only extra accessory you need is the iPhone USB cable that comes in the box with your phone. This is perhaps the most traditional method and involves simply plugging in your iPhone to your Macbook via the USB and transferring pictures via iTunes. Since it's done through a cable, the transfer speeds are significantly higher and any risk of data loss is essentially nil.

How to Transfer Pictures Via Data Cable

  • Connect the USB cable from your iPhone to your Mac.
  • Your phone will be detected and the photos app will pop up in iTunes.
  • If you want to transfer all pictures, select "Import All Photos."
  • If you want to transfer a few, select "Import Selected."
  • Click "Import."
  • Your pictures will be saved on your Mac.
  • Problems with Data Cable

    It should be noted that this process takes on an average of three to five minutes. Still, this time may be significantly more or less depending on the number and size of pictures you are transferring.

    Cloud Storage

    Cloud Storage is a web-based service that allows you to save data and files online. Cloud Storage options have become increasingly popular in the last decade. With iCloud, Google Drive, and One Drive becoming more affordable and accessible, the use of cloud storage has grown exponentially, and most provide free accounts with a reasonable amount of storage included.

    You can use the Cloud not just to store your data, but also to access it across several devices. This helps in our case as it simplifies sending pictures from your iPhone to your Mac.

    How to Transfer Pictures Via Cloud Storage

    1. Login to your Cloud Storage provider on your iPhone (this usually involves downloading their app and logging in).
    2. Upload the photos to your Cloud app.
    3. Login to your Cloud Storage website on your Mac.
    4. Download the photos to your Mac.

    Problems with Cloud Storage

    The trade-offs are a few. Firstly, you need a fast internet connection. Anything lower than 10 MBs/s, and you will face fairly slow upload and download speeds. Second, you should have enough data in your plan, and if data is costly where you live, this might not be a good option for you. Thirdly, even though most Cloud Storage options provide some sort of free trial, once you have used up that free space, you will have to pay to keep using it further.


    All the methods we listed come with their pros and cons. However, you should go with what suits your requirements best. If you want to transfer just a few photos, we would suggest you try the Email method or Airdrop. However, if you're looking to transfer images in bulk, the Data Cable method and Cloud Storage will be your best options.

    Muaz Ashrafi

    Hi! I am Muaz, a Mass Communication major. I like to think I am a free urban spirit. I write blogs with a focus on tech and gadgets. When I'm not writing, you can find me with my headphones on, relaxing to some good house EDM music. I'm also a hobbyist photographer, you can find me on Instagram @mzwithacamera.


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