Files Transfer

5 Easy Ways to Sync iPhone Photos to Mac

Almost everyone just like me at some point in time wants to save some data, mostly photos from iPhone to Mac. Going by the latest trend of social media and day-to-day posts, it is not unusual to get the help of your Mac as it tends to be easier to edit and share photos. Though transferring photos sounds easy, actually it is a bit tricky as there a number of ways to do it. Choosing the best methods require practical implementation and being an iPhone user myself and trying out many methods till date, I have come up with the most effective ways on how to sync photos from iPhone to Mac in this detailed article. Follow these step by step and get all your photos from your iPhone straight to your Mac right away. So, let's get started…

Part 1: How to Sync Pictures from iPhone to Mac

Syncing is not an unknown process for iPhone or rather iOS users. It is the most integral process in data transfer in iOS devices. Sync basically transfers data from one device to another with the help of internet connection or Wi-Fi. Similarly, photos can also be synced to other devices such as to your Mac using Apple Cloud services or commonly iCloud. It is completely dependent on cellular data and there are various ways how sync works on your iPhone or iPad using iCloud. The few methods which use the sync feature are as follows:

Way 1: Sync iPhone Photos with iCloud Photo Library

When I started out with photo transfer using my iPhone, iCloud Photo Library was the first method I tried. And I am sure many of you heard or seen this option in your iPhone. This is by far the most common method to sync photos from iPhone to Mac. It has its own limitations and the very first being it is cursed with storage limitation. You will only get 5GB of free data storage and anything extra will be chargeable. Anyhow, being a viable method, here's how you can use it:

To make this method work, you will have to activate iCloud Photo Library option on both your iPhone and Mac. Follow the steps below:


1. Open "Settings", put name and then navigate to "iCloud". Now, go to "Photos". iOS 10 and earlier devices , you will have to go to "Settings"> "iCloud" > "Photos & Camera".

enable icloud photo library iphone

2. You will see the "iCloud Photo Library" option. Put the toggle switch on!


1. Go to "System Preferences", then navigate to "iCloud".

2. Find "Options" to get the "iCloud Photo Library" option. Enable it!

icloud mac

3. You can get the synced photos by launching the Photos App.

Now, that you have enabled the iCloud Photo Library option, all your iPhone X/8/7/7Plus/6/6S/5/5S/SE etc photos will now be synced to your Mac automatically whenever you are connected to Wi-Fi. Keep in mind, this method needs a steady Wi-Fi to work and without which, it is useless.

Way 2: Sync iPhone Photos with My Photo Stream

Similarly, if you want to sync your photos using iCloud, there is also another way other than iCloud Photo library and that is iCloud Photo Stream. The main functionality of iCloud Photo Stream is storing and sharing data over Wi-Fi and that is similar to iCloud Photo Library. But there is a slight difference, it only stores the photos of last 30 days. So, after this tenure it resets itself and you won't get it on any connected device. Follow the steps below to know how it works:

1. On your iPhone, navigate to Settings, then to Photos and toggle My Photo Stream button. For iOS 10 and earlier devices, you will have to go to "Settings", then to "iCloud" and open "Photos & Camera".

my photo stream iphone

2. On your Mac, open "System Preferences", and then go to "iCloud". Now, open "Options" and enable the "My Photo Stream" option using the checkbox.

enable my photo stream mac

You have successfully setup the My Photo Stream feature on iPhone and Mac. Now, all your last 30 days photos will be synced automatically when connected to Wi-Fi. You can access those photos in the Photos App of your Mac.

So, this is how to sync pictures from iPhone to Mac using My Photo Stream.

Part 2: How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac without Sync

Till now, I have mainly discussed about the use of the sync feature to transfer photos. But if you don't want to use the sync function of iOS devices and opt for something that is easier and more viable, fortunately there are some ways which can help you. These methods are both dependent and independent of Wi-Fi and offers effective transfer of any data or in this case, images. So, here are the ways:

Way 1: Import Photos from iPhone to Mac with iCareFone

The best method to sync photos from iPhone to MacBook here in this article is undoubtedly the Tenorshare iCareFone software. It is an all-in-one transfer tool with a File Manager option that can help you edit, share and manage any type of photos and other data as well. It is available for Mac as well as for Windows. This is by far the ideal option to get all your iPhone photos to your Mac because of the following advantages:

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Selective and bulk transfer photos.
  • No storage space limitations unlike in iCloud
  • No hassles of signing into accounts with Apple ID etc
  • No Wi-Fi or Internet needed for transfer
  • Transfer any kind of photos irrespective of size and type of file. You can transfer third-party apps images like from WhatsApp images, cameral roll, iMessage, Instagram etc.
  • Transfer images after previewing
  • There is also the option of Backup and restore data, speed up and clean, fix all iOS stuck issues, repair OS etc.

Here's how to use Tenorshare iCareFone on your own:

1. First, download and install the Tenorshare iCareFone program on your Mac

2. Run the software and connect a USB cable to your iPhone and Mac

main interface icarefone

3. Now, hit the "File Manager" option and select the "Photos" option from the interface

file manager photos icarefone

4. All your images will now be displayed in a chronological manner listed. You can preview and choose the required images

preview images icarefone

5. Tap "Export" to finish the process

All the photos you have chosen earlier will get transferred to your Mac right away.

Way 2: Move Photos from iPhone to Mac with Photos App

The Photos App of Mac is quite similar to iPhoto and is mainly designed to edit, manage and share any type of data. In this case, you can use it to sync pictures from iPhone to Mac effectively. You can take help of your USB cable and iTunes indirectly, to make it work. As recommended by Apple, you will need to have the latest version of iTunes installed on your Mac so as to get support. Keep in mind, you won't need to run iTunes in this whole process. So, here's how you can use the Photos App to get pictures on your Mac:

1. Connect your iPhone to your MacBook/MacBook Pro/Air/iMac /iMac Pro using a USB cable

2. The Photos App should run automatically after the iPhone is detected. If it doesn't, you can also run it manually

3. You will see all your images on the main interface now in thumbnail format

4. Now, simply choose the required images and tap the "Import" button found on the top corner

import photos from photos app

And you are done! All your selected images will be now be accessible on your Mac.

Way 3: Airdrop Photos from iPhone to Mac

The last method here is all about wireless transfer. Airdrop is a data sharing feature across iOS devices developed by Apple. This method completely depends on Wi-Fi connectivity and more so, on a steady and fast connection. It is a viable option to sync pictures from iPhone to Mac. Make sure you have Mac OS X Yosemite/ macOS Sierra/macOS High Sierra/El Capitan on your Mac to make it work.

1. First, you will need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network for both your iPhone and Mac

2. Now, on your iPhone, enable Airdrop and select "Everyone" and run Airdrop

iphone airdrop

3. On your Mac, run the Finder and launch Airdrop to turn on "Everyone" inside discovery settings

mac airdrop settings

4. Simply, open your Camera Roll now and select the photos you want to Airdrop

select photos airdrop

5. After selection, click Share and save to Mac now

sharing airdrop

So, here's how to Airdrop photos from iPhone to Mac the right way

So, here are the most effective ways to sync pictures from iPhone to Mac with Wi-Fi as well as without Wi-Fi. These methods are effective and work well if done right. In case you are still wondering, "How do I sync photos from iPhone to Mac easily?", according to me and from all my tests, the simple answer is Tenorshare iCareFone. I highly recommend this software above all these other methods here only because of its advantages and the ease with which you can transfer photos without any hassles.

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/ Posted by Jenefey Aaron to Transfer Photo Follow @Jenefey Aaron