Overview of importing photos and videos
Import your photos and videos into your photo library so you can organize and edit them with Photos. You can import photos and videos in a variety of ways:
Using iCloud: Turn on iCloud Photo Library on your Mac and iOS devices to access your entire library automatically. Or, you can turn on My Photo Stream to import only your most recent photos. (If you use iCloud Photo Library, you don’t need to use My Photo Stream.) For more information about using iCloud, see Use iCloud Photo Library to store, share, and manage your photos in iCloud.
From cameras or mobile devices: You can connect a camera, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or other mobile device and import photos and videos from the device. For more information, see Import photos from a camera or phone.
From storage media: You can import photos or videos saved on a hard disk or other storage devices. For more information, see Import photos from hard disks, CDs, DVDs, and cards.
From other apps: You can also import photos and videos sent to you in an email or text message, or downloaded from Safari. For more information, see Import photos from Mail, Messages, Safari, and other apps.
By default, imported photos are copied into the Photos library. If you prefer, you can store photos and videos outside the Photos library—for example, in a folder on your Mac or on an external hard drive—and still view them in Photos. If you ever need to move content stored outside the library into your Photos library, you can do that, too. For more information about changing where your files are stored, see Change where Photos stores your files.
Note: Photos and videos stored outside the Photos library aren’t stored in iCloud Photo Library.