Photos not Showing Up in iPhoto/Mac? Try These Fixes

Photos not showing up in iPhoto? There may be something wrong with your device or Apple services. Just try the solutions in this guide to solve the issue or try the transfer tool to share your photos.

Demi by Demi Updated August 28, 2023
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The default way to transfer photos from an iPhone to a Mac is using iPhoto or the upgraded Photos app on Yosemite and later versions. Nonetheless, certain users encounter a familiar issue - the photos not showing up in iPhoto or Mac when connected.

photos not showing up in iphoto

But there's no need to fret. This guide presents straightforward solutions to resolve the problem of iPhone photos not showing up on a Mac. Let's delve into the details!

Part 1. Why are my photos not showing up in iPhoto?

Several factors could contribute to photos not appearing in iPhoto. Here are some common reasons:
⛔ Database Corruption: If the iPhoto database is corrupted, it might lead to photos not displaying as expected.
⛔ File System Issues: Problems with the file system or hard drive where your photos are stored can prevent them from being recognized by iPhoto.
⛔ Library Corruption: Issues within the iPhoto library itself can result in photos not showing up.
⛔ Permissions Problems: Incorrect file permissions can hinder iPhoto's ability to access and display your photos.
⛔ Software Updates: Outdated iPhoto software might not be compatible with the latest operating system, causing display issues.

Part 2. Tips to fix photos not showing up in iPhoto

Here, we've compiled several commonly effective quick solutions that have resolved the issue of iPhone photos not showing up in iPhoto on Mac, as reported by certain users.

Fix 1. Restart your iPhone and Mac

When encountering issues with iPhoto not loading photos, a practical step is to address potential database concerns. Disconnect your iPhone, power down both your Mac OS X computer and iOS device.

Upon reconnecting, a prompt on your iPhone will request you to "Trust This Computer" when plugged in again; select "Trust" to proceed. Keeping your device unlocked could be necessary for a successful import of pictures from iPhone to iPhoto or Photos App.

Fix 2. Check relative settings on iPhone and Mac

Ensure that you have iCloud Photos enabled on both your iPhone and Mac. This feature syncs your photos across devices and ensures they are accessible on all your devices. Follow the steps below to check relative settings on your iPhone and Mac.

>> On your iPhone: Go to "Settings" > [your name] > "iCloud" > "Photos". Make sure "iCloud Photos" is turned on.

turn on icloud photos

>> On your Mac: Open the Photos app, then click "Photos" in the top menu and select "Preferences". In the "General" tab, make sure "Copy items to the Photos library" is selected.

copy items to the photos library

Fix 3. Check for iPhone and Mac OS updates

To address issues with photos not showing up in the Photos app on your iPhone and Mac, it's a good idea to check for operating system updates on both devices. Software updates often include bug fixes and improvements that can help resolve such issues. Here's what you can do:

For iPhone: Go to the Settings app > General > Software Update to check heck if any updates are available. If an update is available, follow the prompts to download and install it.

ios software update

For Mac: Click on the Apple logo > Go to System Preferences > Software Update to check for available updates. If an update is available, click Update Now to download and install it.

update software on mac

Fix 4. Rebuild iPhoto Thumbnails

If your photo stream has been transferred to the iPhoto Library but isn't visible when opening the iPhoto application, you can resolve this issue by following the steps below.

Step 1. You’d better make a backup for all photos in your iPhoto Library in case of data missing.

Step 2. Quit iPhoto if it’s ongoing and then go to Finder on your Mac > Application > Choose iPhoto without opening it.

Step 3. Press Command + Option keys until you see Photo Library First Aid window as below. For iPhoto version 9.2 and earlier, the interface will look different but almost the same.

photos library first aid

Step 4. Select Rebuild Thumbnails. It could take a while when library is massive. After that, relaunch iPhoto and looking for your missing photos.

Fix 5. Enable iCloud Photos Library or My Photo Stream

If iCloud settings for Photos are activated on both your Mac and iPhone, your camera roll might have already been imported to your computer. As a result, iPhoto might not display photos from your iPhone.

How to see iCloud Photo Library Options
• On Mac: Go to iPhoto/Photos > Preferences from the menu bar > General > iCloud.

icloud photo library

• On iPhone: Go to Settings [your name] > iCloud > Photos.

How to access iPhoto Library to confirm whether the Photos have been improved already
You can go to iPhoto/Photos > Preference > General > Show in Finder and right click the files to select Show Package Contents to see details or open ~ Pictures/iPhoto Library/Masters to call out the instruction.

show package contents

If the photos are in the album folder, there is no need to sync with iPhoto again.


Having your photos not showing up in iPhoto can be disheartening, but with the right strategies, you can swiftly resolve the issue. By understanding the potential reasons behind the problem and implementing the recommended solutions, you can regain access to your cherished memories.

Whether you choose to troubleshoot within iPhoto, or perform library repairs, the goal remains the same: to ensure that your photos are seamlessly accessible and preserved for years to come.

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