What to do when Image Capture doesn’t see your iPhone and iPad

It’s a quirk in trusting your iOS device, even if it’s been trusted.

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Many Mac users rely on the Image Capture app to transfer photos and videos from directly-connected cameras, memory cards, iPhones, and iPads. It’s an alternative to Photos (or iPhoto) if you’re not using iTunes for syncing, manually importing, or using iCloud Photo Library.

But sometimes you may plug in your iOS device and Image Capture fails to show it listed in the left bar that shows devices from which it can acquire media. This appears to happen due to a trust issue. MacOS has been gradually upping how it closes a verification loop between an iPhone or iPad and software on a Mac when you connect the iOS device via USB. That’s good for security—someone might be able to grab your device, plug it in, and rifle through data and media.

This sometimes leads to macOS or your iOS device losing trust in each other. I’m not sure why it happens, but at some unknown interval, you may have to affirm your trust again. If you can’t see your iOS device in Image Capture, follow these steps:

  1. Unplug your iOS device from your Mac.
  2. Plug it back in.
  3. Open iTunes.
  4. You should see a dialog that asks you to access information on the connected device. Click the Continue button.
  5. On your iOS device, you will also be prompted, and asked to tap Don’t Trust or Trust. Tap Trust.
  6. iOS now prompts you to enter the device passcode. (Touch ID will unlock the display, but you should always be prompted for your passcode to trust the Mac.)
  7. Open Image Capture, and your iOS device should now appear in its devices list.

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