Import photos using Apple camera adapters

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

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 Adapter
  • Lightning to USB Camera Adapter
  • iPad Camera Connection Kit, which contains both iPad Camera connector and iPad 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 Adpater, 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 adapter 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 might be asked to Keep or Delete the media on the camera or SD card.

You can only import content 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 might be an issue with the data on the other camera or SD card. Try to import the data to another device or computer, then format—or reset—the SD card used in your digital camera. 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 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 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

Supported SD cards and image-transfer protocols include:

  • 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, iPad Pro (12.9-inch) transfers data at USB 3 speeds. All other adapters and iOS devices use USB 2 speeds.

Learn more

Learn more about USB Camera Adapters.

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