How to Stop Photos from Opening When Plugging an iPhone In

If you don’t like how the Photos app launches every time you plug your iPhone into your Mac, here’s how to prevent that from happening.

Introduced in a recent update of OS X Yosemite, the Photos Mac app provides a better interface for managing your photo collection. It essentially replaces iPhoto and Aperture, and while some users still rely on Aperture for their photo needs, the new Photos app is a great for casual users and gets the job done just fine.

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The app can sync with your iCloud Photo Library, which means that any photos you take on your iPhone will automatically be synced with the Photos Mac app so that the pictures are instantly available on your computer. From there, you can edit the photos right from within the app on your Mac.

You can also do a handful of other stuff within the app, like share photos with friends and family, and even create physical greeting cards and photo books.

However, if you don’t use the app that often (or not at all), then it seems kind of pointless that it would need to be launched every time you plug your iPhone in, and if you’re reading this now, you’re probably one of those users.

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Here’s how to stop Photos from opening when you plug your iPhone into your Mac.

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When you plug your iPhone into your computer, it’s usually because you just want to charge your device rather than sync your iTunes library or manage your photo collection. If you’re like me, you don’t use iTunes and you only use the Photos every now and then when you have new photos that you took with your iPhone (even then I just use iCloud Photo Library to access them on my Mac, rather than plug in my iPhone).

So, to stop Photos from opening when you plug your iPhone in, just follow these few simple steps.

  • First off, plug in your iPhone into your Mac and open up the Photos Mac app (it should automatically open anyway!).
  • Next, click on the Import tab at the top of the window.
  • In the upper-left corner of the window, uncheck the box next to Open Photos for this device.

You can now close out of Photos and the app will no longer open whenever you plug in your iPhone.

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You can use the Image Capture tool to customize this setting as well. In the bottom-left corner of the Image Capture window, there will be a setting that says Connecting this iPhone opens: followed by a drop-down menu. You can choose any application you want, so whenever you plug your iPhone in, the application will automatically open up.

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You can also do this for individual memory cards from cameras, so if you want Lightroom to automatically open up when you insert your DSLR’s memory card, you can set that, but you any other memory card you insert can be configured to not open any application.

Other Photos Tips

The Photos Mac app looks pretty simple, but there are quite a few different features that you can take advantage of, like importing photos, editing photos, sharing photos with friends and family, creating greeting cards, and even ordering physical prints of photos that you’ve taken with your iPhone.

Ordering prints is perhaps one of my favorite features, as I like to frame photos and hang them on the wall for all to see. Prices are pretty competitive as well, with 4×6 prints only costing $0.12 each. It’s certainly an alternative to use Walgreens, CVS, or some other mediocre photo service.

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However, one thing that has kept the Photos Mac app from performing at its optimum has been photo syncing problems. Sometimes when you take a photo with your iPhone, it doesn’t show up in the Photos Mac app. Usually a simple reboot of the app will fix it temporarily, but there have been times where I’ll have to restart my Mac in order to kick it back into place.

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One thing to be aware of, though, is that photos can take awhile to sync to the Photos Mac app from your iPhone, even if you have a fast internet connection. It seems to be some sort of bug with the app, which hopefully Apple will fix shortly, but in the meantime, a simple reboot will usually do the trick.

Hopefully OS X El Capitan fixes a lot of the problems we’ve been seeing in OS X Yosemite.