Import photos using Apple camera adaptors

Learn how to import photos and videos from a digital camera or SD Card to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch using Apple camera adaptors.

You can import photos and videos from an SD card, digital camera or other supported accessory to your iOS device using one of these:

  • Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader
  • Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adaptor
  • Lightning to USB Camera Adaptor
  • Apple USB-C to SD Card Reader

If you have an iPhone 5 or later, it needs iOS 9.2 or later. If you have an iPod touch or iPhone 4s, it needs iOS 9.3. If you're using a Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter, you need an iPad with iOS 9.3.

Import photos and videos

To import from your SD card or digital camera, follow these steps:

  1. Connect the adaptor to your iOS device.
  2. Connect your digital camera to the adapter by USB or insert an SD card.
  3. Photos should automatically open to the Import tab. If it doesn't, open Photos and tap Import.
  4. Tap Import All to import your content, or tap specific items, then tap Import.
  5. When the import is complete, you may be asked to Keep or Delete the media on the camera or SD card.

You can import content only to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. You can't export content to an SD card or digital camera.

If you don’t see the import option

If you don't see the Import tab, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that your digital camera is on and in the correct mode to export images.
  2. Disconnect the adapter, wait 30 seconds, then reconnect it.
  3. Unplug the digital camera or SD card, wait 30 seconds, then reconnect.
  4. Restart your iOS device and turn your camera off and back on.
  5. If one is available, test with a different digital camera or SD card. If you can import media with a different digital camera or SD card, there may be an issue with the data on the camera or SD card. Try to import the data to another device or computer, then use your digital camera to format — or reset — the SD card. Reformatting will delete all the images on the SD card. Check the manual for your digital camera for more help.

If you can’t import some content

Apple camera adaptors can import multiple types of media files from your digital camera or SD card. If the format isn't compatible with iOS, you won’t be able to view them on your device, but can import them to your computer later.

Apple camera adaptors can import only content that was captured by digital cameras. You may not be able to import content that was renamed, edited or copied to the digital camera or SD card.

Supported SD cards and image-transfer protocols

  • Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP)
  • Mass Storage Device protocol
  • SDSC
  • SDHC
  • miniSD
  • microSD
  • MMC
  • SDXC

Flash or USB thumb drives aren't supported for image importing.

If you're using a Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adaptor, these iPad models transfer data at USB 3 speeds:

  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch

All other adaptors and iOS devices use USB 2 speeds.

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