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How to Backup iPhone Photos to Mac?

Backing up photos from your iPhone to your Mac is important to keep your memories safe. With a few simple steps, you
can securely save all your photos to your Mac.

Why You Should Backup iPhone Photos

  • Avoid Losing Photos: Backing up protects your photos if your iPhone is damaged, lost or stolen.
    You’ll have all photos safely stored on your Mac.
  • Free Up iPhone Storage: Full photo storage eats up precious iPhone memory. Backing them up lets
    you delete photos to free up space.
  • Organize Your Collection: Viewing photos on a Mac makes it easier to organize them into albums
    and manage your collection.
  • Enjoy Photos on a Bigger Screen: Your Mac provides a better viewing experience for photos than
    your iPhone.
  • Enhanced Editing Options: Editing tools like Photos, Preview or Photoshop give you more ways to
    enhance and perfect images.
  • Share Photos Easily: It’s simpler to share photos from your Mac via email, social media or cloud

How to Backup iPhone Photos to Mac Using iTunes

One easy way to backup iPhone photos is by using the iTunes app on your Mac. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Connect iPhone to Mac

Use the USB cable that came with your iPhone to connect it to your Mac. This allows the two devices to communicate.

Step 2: Open iTunes

Launch iTunes on your Mac. iTunes will automatically detect your connected iPhone.

Step 3: Select This iPhone

In iTunes, locate your iPhone icon in the top right corner. Click on it and select ‘This iPhone’ from the dropdown

Step 4: Click on Photos

In the sidebar in iTunes, click on ‘Photos’. This will display all the photos stored on your iPhone.

Step 5: Select Sync Photos

Check the box for ‘Sync Photos’ and select your preferences for syncing. You can choose to sync ‘All photos and
albums’ or only ‘Selected albums’.

Step 6: Apply Changes

Click ‘Apply’ in the bottom right corner to confirm the changes. iTunes will now transfer copies of your iPhone
photos to your Mac.

Step 7: Backup Photos to Mac

When the sync is complete, your iPhone photos will be backed up and available in the Photos app on your Mac. The
photos will also save to your computer hard drive.

How to Backup iPhone Photos Using iCloud

Another option is using iCloud to automatically backup new iPhone photos to your Mac. Here’s how to set it up:

Step 1: Enable iCloud Photo Library

On your iPhone, open Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Photos. Turn on ‘iCloud Photo Library’ to enable.

Step 2: Optimize Mac Storage

On your Mac, open Photos app and go to Preferences > iCloud. Select ‘Optimize Mac Storage’ so full images remain

Step 3: Choose Upload To Options

In Photos on iPhone, tap the Upload To arrow icon. Select to upload over Wi-Fi, Cellular Data or when you open Photos

Step 4: View Photos on Mac

New photos you take on your iPhone will automatically upload to iCloud and appear in Photos app on your Mac.

This method saves space on your Mac since full images stay in iCloud until you request them.

How to Manually Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac

You can also manually transfer photos by plugging your iPhone into your Mac and importing images directly into the
Photos app.

Step 1: Connect iPhone to Mac

Use the Lightning to USB cable to connect your iPhone to your Mac.

Step 2: Open Photos App

Launch the Photos app on your Mac. It will detect your connected iPhone.

Step 3: Click Import

You’ll see your iPhone name under ‘Import’. Click ‘Import’ to transfer all new photos to your Mac.

Step 4: Select Photos (Optional)

To only import some photos, click ‘Review for Import’ then select the desired images to import.

Step 5: View Transferred Photos

The transferred photos will save to your Mac photos library. View them in the Photos app on your Mac.

Quick Tip to ensure your videos never go missing

Videos are precious memories and all of us never want to ever lose them to hard disk crashes or missing drives.
PicBackMan is the easiest and simplest way to keep your videos safely backed up in one or more online accounts. 

Download PicBackMan

Simply Download PicBackMan (it’s
, register your account, connect to your online store and tell PicBackMan where your videos are –
PicBackMan does the rest, automatically. It bulk uploads all videos and keeps looking for new ones and uploads those
too. You don’t have to ever touch it.

Choosing the Best Backup Method

There are pros and cons to each backup method:

  • iTunes: Easy to use but can be slow to transfer many photos.
  • iCloud: Automatic backups but counts against your iCloud storage limit.
  • Manual Transfer: You choose which photos to import but need to repeat the process.

For comprehensive backups, consider using a combination of iTunes, iCloud and manual transfers to copy iPhone photos
to your Mac.

Tips for Managing iPhone Photo Backups on Mac

Follow these tips for a smooth backup experience:

  • Use Original Names: In Photos > Preferences, check ‘Import: Keep originals’ to preserve
  • Add Metadata: Add descriptions, locations and dates to photo imports so they’re searchable in
  • Organize With Albums: Create albums to logically group photos like Vacations, Family, Holidays
  • Optimize Storage: In Photos, optimize your library so thumbnails remain on your Mac while full
    images stay in iCloud.
  • Back Up Your Library: Consider backing up your entire Mac photo library using Time Machine or an
    external hard drive.
  • Remove From iPhone: After backing up photos, delete them from your iPhone camera roll to free up

Troubleshooting iPhone Photo Backups

Here are solutions for some common backup issues:

Photos Won’t Transfer From iPhone to Mac

  • Check that iCloud Photo Library is disabled on your iPhone so it doesn’t interfere with the transfer.
  • Make sure you’re using the proper USB cable, ideally the one that came with your iPhone.
  • Force restart both devices then reconnect and retry the transfer.

Backed Up Photos Not Showing Up On Mac

  • After backup, check Photos app on your Mac to see if the new photos appear after some time.
  • For iCloud backups, open Photos on your Mac and choose File > Download Originals to download photo originals
    from iCloud.

Not Enough Storage For Backup

  • Use iTunes to sync low resolution versions of your photos instead of original quality.
  • Upgrade your iCloud storage plan to accommodate your full photo library.
  • Select only your most important photos to manually transfer to your Mac.

Photos Taking Too Long to Transfer

  • Sync photos via iTunes since iCloud can be slow to upload many photos over the internet.
  • If using iTunes, select ‘Sync photos’ instead of entire library which takes longer.
  • Backup photos overnight or when your Mac and iPhone are both plugged into power.

FAQs About iPhone Photo Backups

Q: How many photos can I backup from iPhone to Mac?

There is no limit on how many iPhone photos you can back up to your Mac. However, the storage capacity on your Mac
will determine how many photos it can hold. Optimizing your library by keeping thumbnails on your Mac while full
images remain in iCloud allows virtually unlimited backups.

Q: Does connecting iPhone to Mac transfer photos?

Simply connecting your iPhone to Mac doesn’t automatically transfer photos. You need to manually import photos using
the Photos app on Mac. Alternatively, you can sync photos from your iPhone to Mac using iTunes which will transfer
photos when connected via USB.

Q: Where are iPhone photos stored on Mac?

Copies of photos imported into Photos app are stored in your Photos library in a folder called Masters. By default,
the Masters folder is located in Pictures folder under User/{your account name}. All your imported iPhone photos are
accessible in Photos app.

Q: How do I backup iPhone photos to external hard drive Mac?

You can redirect your Photos library to store all images on an external drive instead of your Mac. Open Photos, go to
Preferences > General and choose your external drive under ‘Library Location’. New imports will save to the
external drive which serves as a backup.

Q: Does deleting photos from iPhone delete them from Mac?

No, when you delete photos from your iPhone it does not delete them from the Mac. The backups on your Mac remain
intact. However, any new photos taken on your iPhone after you delete will not auto-backup as they are not on your

Q: How do I recover deleted photos from iPhone backup on Mac?

Connect your iPhone to Mac and recover deleted photos using iPhone data recovery software that scans your Mac backup
and retrieves deleted images. Some apps that can do this include iMyFone D-Back and iSkysoft Toolbox.


Regularly backing up iPhone photos provides peace of mind that your memories are protected. Use a combination of
iTunes syncing, iCloud Photo Library and manual transfers to get photos off your iPhone and safely backed up to your
Mac. Follow the tips outlined to make backups seamless. With a good backup strategy, you can copy photos conveniently
while freeing up iPhone storage space.

253+ Reviews & Counting

Kip Roof testimonial Kip Roofgoogle photos flickr
PicBackMan does exactly what it's supposed to. It's quick and efficient. It runs unobtrusively in the background and has done an excellent job of uploading more than 300GB of photos to 2 different services. After having lost a lot of personal memories to a hard drive crash, it's nice to know that my photos are safe in 2 different places.
Julia Alyea Farella testimonialJulia Alyea Farella smugmug
LOVE this program! Works better than ANY other program out there that I have found to upload thousands of pictures WITH SUB-FOLDERS to SmugMug! Thank you so much for what you do! :) #happycustomer
Pausing Motion testimonialPausingMotionsmugmug
I pointed PicBackMan at a directory structure, and next time I looked - all the photos had uploaded! Pretty cool. I use SmugMug and while I really like it, the process of creating directories in is pretty laborious when you need to make 80+ at a time. This was a breeze. Thank you!
Gavin Whitham testimonialGavin Whithamflickr
PicBackMan was really easy to setup and has been running for 3 days now backing up all my locally saved photos to Flickr. My photos are really valuable to me so it's great to be able to have them easily backed up to a secure location.
 Jim Griffin testimonialJim Griffinsmugmug
It's AWESOME!! I have tens of thousands of pictures...and they are now successfully uploaded to SmugMug, where they are safely backed up, and I can edit and organize them. If you are hesitating about using PicBackMan, hesitate no longer...try it...and you'll be glad you did!!
Robert testimonialRobertonedrive
I started with the basic plan, went to premium and now on their platinum plan and it's more than worth the price for me. PicBackMan has saved me many tedious hours of effort moving many files between my various cloud and photo site services and my local computers.
Pausing Motion testimonialVladdropbox
I am very satisfied and surprised at the same time with Pic BackMan. The service is very good and useful. I used it to transfer my photos from Dropbox to my Flickr accound. I highly recomment it.
Dave testimonialDavesmugmug
PicBackMan was an answer to many a prayer. How can I get this MASSIVE collection of photos onto a service that cripples uploading? PicBackMan. I uploaded approximately 85,000 photos in less than a month. It would have taken me close to a year to get all of those photos where they needed to go. Nothing short of brilliant.
Barry Graham testimonialBarry Grahamflickr
Great tool for enduring your photos are always safely backed up. I backed up tens of thousands of photos and dozens of videos to Flickr in my 1st couple of months using PicBackMan. Would unreservedly recommend as it works seamlessly and copies your photos to Flickr in sets which reflect your folders.
Achal Gupta testimonialAchal Guptaflickr
This is a fantastic piece of software! I wanted to backup 100+ gigs worth of original sized photos to Flickr and after trying many many tools, PickBacMan was the one that finally worked. It worked flawlessly for 10 straight days uploading all my photos without a single error/ timeout/ crash. Absolutely amazing! I didn't try the other premium features but the ability to replicate stuff across multiple...