Sync your photos manually using the Finder

If you don't use iCloud Photos, you can manually sync your photos and videos from your Mac to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch using the Finder. 

Turn on Finder syncing

You can use the Finder on your Mac to sync photos to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch from the Photos app, or from a folder on your computer. Each time you sync your iOS device with your computer, the photos and videos on your iOS device will be updated to match the albums on your computer. If you have photos on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch that aren't on your computer, find out how to import them.

  1. Open a Finder window and connect your device to your computer using a USB cable.
  2. Unlock your device.
  3. Your device will appear in the sidebar of the Finder window. Click the device to select it.
  4. If prompted, trust your device.
  5. Click the Photos tab below your device's information.
  6. Select the tick box next to "Sync photos to your device from", then select Photos or a folder on your Mac.
  7. Choose whether you want to sync all of your photos and albums, or only selected albums. You can also choose to sync only your favourites, and whether to include videos.
  8. Click the Apply button in the bottom right-hand corner of the window. If the syncing process doesn't start automatically, click the Sync button.

You must import Slo-Mo and Time-Lapse videos through the Photos app or Image Capture in OS X Yosemite or later to ensure their effects are synced via the Finder. When you use iCloud Photos, Slo-Mo and Time-Lapse videos will keep their effects.

Live Photos will keep their effects when you import them to Photos in OS X El Capitan and later, but they will lose their effects if you sync them back to your device via your computer. Use iCloud Photos so that Live Photos keep their effects, no matter what device you use.

You can only sync your device with the System Photo Library. If you have more than one photo library on your Mac, make sure the correct one is designated as the System Photo Library.

Turn off Finder syncing

If you no longer want the synced photos on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, turn off syncing in the Finder and they'll be removed from your device. You can turn off syncing for some of your photo albums or all of them at once.

Stop syncing some albums

  1. Open a Finder window and connect your device to your computer using a USB cable.
  2. Unlock your device.
  3. Your device will appear in the sidebar of the Finder window. Click the device to select it.
  4. If prompted, trust your device.
  5. Click the Photos tab below your device's information.
  6. Choose "Selected albums", and deselect the albums or collections you want to stop syncing.
  7. Click Apply.

Stop syncing all photos

  1. Open a Finder window and connect your device to your computer using a USB cable.
  2. Unlock your device.
  3. Your device will appear in the sidebar of the Finder window. Click the device to select it.
  4. If prompted, trust your device.
  5. Click the Photos tab below your device's information.
  6. Deselect "Sync Photos", then click "Remove photos".
  7. Click Apply.

 

Keep your photos updated automatically with iCloud

If you're using iCloud Photos, you can keep all of your photos and videos stored in iCloud. They'll sync seamlessly across all of your devices, so you can access your library from your Mac, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad and even your PC. Your newest shots and edits will be uploaded automatically when you're connected to the internet. 

Find out how to set up and use iCloud Photos

Learn more

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