Use the Finder to share files between your Mac and your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

With macOS Catalina, you can use the Finder to share files between your iOS and iPadOS devices and your Mac.

If you're using macOS Mojave or earlier or a Windows PC, use iTunes to share files between your computer and your iOS or iPadOS device.

Other ways to share

Learn about other ways you can share files between your Mac and your devices. These features work wirelessly.

iCloud Drive lets you securely access all of your documents from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC. No matter which device you're using, you'll always have the most up-to-date documents when and where you need them.

With Handoff, you can start a document, email, or message on one device and pick up where you left off on another device. Handoff works with Apple apps such as Mail, Safari, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, Contacts, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. It also works with some third-party apps. 

AirDrop lets you instantly share your photos, videos, documents, and more with other Apple devices that are nearby.

What you need to use the Finder to share files

See the iOS and iPadOS apps that can share files with your Mac

  1. Open a Finder window.
  2. Connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your computer with a USB cable.
  3. Select your device in the Finder. Learn what to do if your computer doesn't recognize your device.
  4. Click the Files tab to see a list of apps that can share files. If you don't see a Files section, your device doesn't have any apps that can share files.
  5. Click the triangle next to an app to see the files that you can share.

Copy from your Mac to your device

  1. Select the files that you want to copy. Select only files that work with the app. Check the app’s user guide to see which ones work.
  2. Drag the files to the app on your device. The Finder copies the files to your device.

Copy from your device to your Mac

  1. Select the files that you want to copy.
  2. Drag the files to a folder on your computer. The Finder copies the files to your computer.

Open shared files

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, use the app that you chose in the Files tab to open files that you shared from your computer.

Depending on the file type, some apps can't open files in other apps or locations. You can see the list of files in the Files tab of the Finder when your device is connected to your computer.

Back up shared files

When iCloud or your computer backs up your device, it backs up your shared files as well. 

If you delete an app with shared files from your iOS or iPadOS device, you also delete those shared files from your device and your iCloud or computer backup. To avoid losing shared files, copy the files to your computer before deleting the app from your device.

Delete shared files from your device

  1. Open a Finder window on your Mac.
  2. Connect your device to your computer using a USB cable.
  3. Select your device in the Finder. Learn what to do if your computer doesn't recognize your device.
  4. Select the app from the list in the Files section.
  5. In the Documents list, select the file that you want to delete, then press the Delete key on your keyboard.
  6. When the Finder asks you to confirm, click Delete.

There might be other ways to delete files from an app. See the app's user guide to find out more.

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