Import Photos from iPhone to Mac Not Working? Fixes Here!

Most of the time, importing iPhone photos to Mac is easy. But it's also common to import photos from iPhone to Mac not working. This article will give you some solutions to this problem.


By Dylan / Updated on March 7, 2024

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I tried to transfer photos from my iPhone to my Mac to free up my iPhone space. But iPhoto won’t import photos from my iPhone successfully. What should I do? I wanted to import photos from iPhone to Mac via iPhoto, but only to find that it didn’t work. Is there any effective solution I can try?

- Question from Forum

If you want to view your iPhone photos on a bigger screen or back up your pictures, you can choose to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac. In this way, you can also free up some space on your phone. Unfortunately, in some cases, you may encounter the “import photos from iPhone to Mac not working” issue. Next, this post will explain to you the cause and solution of this problem. Go ahead!

import iphone photos to mac

Why can't import photos from iPhone to Mac?

The issue of photos not importing from iPhone to Mac is usually caused by the following possible reasons.

❌Wrong connection: A faulty cable will cause your Mac can't recognize the connected iPhone. 
❌Add a lot of photos to Mac at once: If you import a large number of photos (such as 1000 photos) from your iPhone to your Mac at once, the Photos app may get stuck. 
❌System or software glitches: Sometimes, operating system errors or software glitches can also cause some similar problems. 
❌Optimize iPhone Storageis on: If you activate iCloud Photo Library and enable the "Optimize iPhone Storage" option on your iPhone, your iPhone images will be stored in iCloud instead of your iPhone, so you can't import photos from iPhone to Mac.

How to fix import photos from iPhone to Mac not working

Now, after knowing the reason of this issue, below are some possible fixes for you.

🌟Pro Tips:

enlightenedBefore you start troubleshooting the problem, check that your cable is working properly, or you can replace it with another cable. 
enlightenedTo make it possible to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac, you need to unlock iPhone when and after connecting iPhone to Mac, and click Trust when the trust message appears on iPhone.

>>Fix 1# Restart iPhone and Mac

Restarting is often the most efficient way to deal with glitches on your device. If the Photos app is having trouble importing photos on your Mac, try rebooting your iPhone and Mac, then attempt to import images from iPhone to Mac again.

>>Fix 2# Reset iPhone Location & Privacy

If your iPhone can’t be recognized and photos can’t be added to your Mac computer, the problem may be caused by the location and privacy settings. To fix it, go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Location & Privacy on your iPhone. After that, re-plug your iPhone to Mac and tap Trust on iPhone when you see the message.

reset location privacy

>>Fix 3# Disable iCloud Photo Library

As said before, importing pictures from iPhone to Mac not working because you have turned on the “Optimize iPhone Storage” option in iCloud, so you need to turn off it.

To turn off iCloud Photo Library, follow these steps:

Step 1. Unlock your iPhone > Navigate to iPhone Settings > Click on your profile.

Step 2. Tap iCloud > Photos > Turn off iCloud Photos.

icloud photos

⚠️Note: If you don't want to turn it off, another way is to turn on iCloud Photo Library from System Preferences > iCloud on your Mac, so iPhone photos can be synced to your Mac via iCloud, and you have no need to upload the iPhone photos manually.

>>Fix 4# Check for update on your iPhone and Mac

The Mac or iPhone operating system or software on the device may be too old to support photo transfer, preventing you from moving photos from iPhone to Mac. At this point you need to update the system and the related software.

● Update photo-management App (iPhoto, Photos, Image Capture) to its latest version.

● Update iOS operating system on your iPhone by going to Settings > General Software Update. If there is an update available, tap Download and Install.

● Update your Mac operating system by going to Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update > click Update Now or Upgrade Now.

>>Fix 5# Upload a small fraction of photos at one time

Sometimes, if you import a lot of photos from iPhone to Mac at once, it can easily cause the Photos app to get stuck, so when you can't import photos from iPhone to Mac, you can try importing a small selection of photos.

💡You may also want to know: Why can't I transfer photos from iPhone to PC? Go to resolve it.

How to import photos from iPhone to Mac wirelessly (by Airdrop or Mail)

All the methods mentioned above are the fixes you need to troubleshoot first and then manually import photos to your Mac. If none of the above methods can help you solve the problem, you can try other methods to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac. In fact, in addition to directly transferring photos to Mac wirelessly, you can use Airdrop or Mail.

Step 1. Go to Settings > tap Bluetooth to turn on the Bluetooth on your iPhone. (Or open it in Control Center.)

Step 2. Open the Photos app > select the photos you want to import to Mac.

Step 3. Click the Share button at the left bottom > choose Airdrop or Mail.

transfer photos from iphone to ipad via airdrop

Step 4. Choose your Mac to transfer photos to. If your Mac device doesn't appear, double-check the Bluetooth settings.

Step 5. Wait for your photos imported from iPhone to Mac.

Bonus: How to import iPhone photos to Windows PC

For Windows users, it's also frustrating when you're trying to import photos from iPhone to PC so that you can take a new phone or clear some space, but can't import photos from iPhone to Windows PC due to various issues. This is a common problem like you can't transfer photos to Mac.

Actually, you can use a simple way to move iPhone photos to your computer. FoneTool is a popular and professional iOS data transfer and backup tool. It can successfully help you import photos, videos, messages and contacts from iPhone to Windows 11/10/8/7 computer.

This tool allows you to quickly transfer a large number of photos at once. It is tested that 1000 pics can be transferred to PC in 10 minutes. Besides, its backup functions (Full Backup, Custom Backup, Photo Backup) enable you to protect your important iPhone data from loss.

Now we will show you how to transfer photos from iPhone computer using FoneTool.

Step 1. Download FoneTool on your computer > connect the iPhone to the Windows PC > tap Trust on your iPhone.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2. Open this tool and click Phone Transfer > Select iPhone to PC and click Get Started.

transfer to computer

Step 3. Click the plus icon to add photos from iPhone > preview and select the photos you want to import > tap OK.

choose photos

Step 4. Click the Start Transfer button to import photos from iPhone.



If you find importing photos from iPhone to Mac not working, here are the solutions provided above that you can try to fix the problem. To fix this, restart the device, reset the iPhone's location and privacy settings, disable iCloud Photo Library, update the system, and import a few photos at once.

Besides, if you are looking for a way to import iPhone photos to PC, FoneTool can be a good choice, it can not only import photos but also transfer music, videos, contacts from iPhone to PC, PC to iPhone, iPhone to iPhone.

In addition, after importing photos, you may get some duplicate photos on your computer, FoneTool can also help you find and delete the duplicate photos on your computer.