Overview of importing photos and videos into Photos on Mac
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 Photos on your Mac and other devices (such as iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV) to access your entire library automatically. See Use iCloud Photos to store photos.
By syncing your Mac with an iPhone or iPad: If you don’t use iCloud Photos on your Mac, you can sync your Mac and a connected iPhone or iPad to transfer photos. See Sync photos between your Mac and iPhone or iPad.
From cameras or mobile devices: Connect a camera, iPhone, iPad, or other mobile device and import photos and videos from the device. See Import photos from a camera or phone.
From storage media: Import photos or videos saved on a hard disk or other storage device. See Import photos from hard disks, DVDs, and other devices.
From other apps: Import photos and videos sent to you in an email or text message, or downloaded from Safari. See Import photos from Mail, 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. See Change where Photos stores your files.
Note: iCloud Photos doesn’t manage photos and videos stored outside the Photos library.