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How to Import Pictures Into Photos on Mac



If you want to import pictures into Photos on your Mac, here’s how to do it.

OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 was released just recently, and with it came an all-new Photos app that replaces iPhoto and Aperture on Mac. It’s a simpler photo management tool, but it comes with a handful of features. It isn’t just an updated version of iPhoto either. Instead, it’s a whole new app with a plethora of new features, including the ability to access your iCloud Photo Library, which means that when you take a photo on your iPhone or iPad, that photo will automatically be viewable on your Mac through the Photos app, thanks to iCloud.

Perhaps one of the coolest features is that edits made to a photo on your iPhone or iPad in the Photos app can be automatically synced to all devices instantly, and the process can be done the other way around as well.

The design of Photos on Mac looks nearly identical to how it looks on iOS 8, with a few obvious design differences since it’s on a Mac rather than your iPhone or iPad. In the app, you can do things like sort your photos and videos and even only view special files like panoramics, burst shots, slow motion, and timelapse video, separating all other photos and videos.


However, before you can really use it, you have to import all of your pictures into Photos first. Luckily, this is really easy to do, and after you import all of your pictures into the Photos app, you can begin to organize them and even edit them using the basic editing tools provided in the app.

How to Import Your Photos

One thing to keep in mind before you import your pictures into Photos is that if you have iCloud Photo Library enabled, any photos that you import into the Photos app on your Mac will automatically show up on your iPhone or iPad as well. This won’t use up iPhone storage space (but rather iCloud storage space), so if you only want your photos to show up in the Photos app on your Mac, be sure to disable iCloud Photo Library.

To do this, open up Photos and click on Photos up in the menu bar in the upper-left corner. Select Preferences and then uncheck Copy items to the Photos library next to Importing. Any photos you import into Photos will not be copied into your iCloud Photos library.


So finally, to import your pictures into the Photos app, follow these simple steps:

  • Go up to the menu bar and click on File, then Import.
  • Finder will pop up and from here you’ll navigate to where all of your photos are stored. You can simply just select the folder that your photos are in and then click Review for Import.


  • All of your photos will appear in a grid layout, and you can either then select specific photos to import or import all of them. To import a selection, simply just click on the ones you want and then click on Import Selected in the upper-right corner of the Photos window. To import all of them, just click on Import All New Items.

If you enabled iCloud Photos Library, it will take some time to sync all of your photos with iCloud and have them viewable on your other Apple devices. Otherwise, all of your photos will now be in the Photos app and you can begin to organize, edit, etc.



  1. Ross

    05/04/2015 at 1:32 pm

    Will pictures on an iPhone just show-up in Photos if iCloud Sync is on? (Mine aren’t showing).
    Or does this require a Sync through iTunes?

    • Ross

      05/04/2015 at 1:40 pm

      Nevermind, it was simply going slowly, with no indication.

    • Zoe Green

      06/25/2015 at 3:09 am

      Trying out free apps first will let you save big time instead of shelling out couple of bucks into a software that you will not need. AirMore is a web app that will allow WiFi connection to connect your device to Mac. After that, you are able to transfer photos between your Mac and idevices.

  2. Kristen

    05/30/2015 at 9:16 am

    I have went through the import process however, they aren’t importing. There is a circle on the top of my photos and when I click it it says photos are importing, but it doesn’t move beyond that?

  3. Paul Jarvis-Beesley

    08/08/2015 at 12:40 pm

    I have been able to import photos from my camera. They appear under ‘Last Import’ in the Album view. However, when I imported another set of photos from the same camera, this new set became the ‘Last Import’ as you would expect, but the original set disappeared. They do not show under the main ‘Photos’ view. How can I find them and how can I move all new imported photos to the main ‘Photos’ view? All advice greatly appreciated

  4. cagtan bora unuvar

    10/20/2015 at 11:57 am

    i am having problems seeing my phone on the iPhotos,i am thinking if it is the cable or what but it is charging the phone, i did see it before ,and i did import it but now i can’t see the iPhone in the list anymore,
    Does anyone know what should i check?

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