Import photos to your iPhone or iPad using Apple camera adapters

Find out how to import photos and videos from a digital camera or SD card to your iPhone or iPad using Apple camera adapters.

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

  • Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader

  • Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter

  • Lightning to USB Camera Adapter

  • Apple USB-C to SD Card Reader

If you have an iPhone 5 or later, it needs iOS 9.2 or later. If you’re using a Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter, you’ll 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 adapter to your iPhone or iPad.

  2. Connect your digital camera to the adapter by USB, or insert an SD card.

  3. Photos should open automatically in the Import tab. If they don'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 might be asked to Keep or Delete the media on the camera or SD card.

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

If you can’t see the import option

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

  1. Make sure 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 iPhone or iPad and turn your camera off and back on.

  5. If one is available, test using a different digital camera or SD card.  If you can import media with a different digital camera or SD card, there might 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 erase all of 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 adapters can import multiple types of media file 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 adapters can only import content that was captured by digital cameras. You might 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 Adapter, these iPad models transfer data at USB 3 speeds:

  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st and 2nd generation)

  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch

All other adapters and iOS devices use USB 2 speeds.

Learn more

Find out more about USB Camera Adapters.

Find out how to connect to other devices and accessories with the USB-C port.

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