If you have a subscription to iCloud you can sync your photos from your iPhone to your Mac without needing any wires, which is handy if your Mac doesn’t have the required port. It’s also super easy to sync this way!
However, to take advantage of iCloud syncing you need to be prepared to pay Apple monthly for the storage, but you can end your subscription at any time (just make sure you have a backup of your files first!). Per-month prices are as follows:
- 5GB storage: Free.
- 50GB storage: £0.79/$0.99.
- 200GB storage: £2.49/$2.99.
- 2TB storage: £6.99/$9.99
If you sign up for iCloud Photos all your photos will be synced across all your Apple devices. This means you’ll be able to see the photos you took on your iPhone on your Mac without doing anything (although you may need to have access to a Wi-Fi network before your photos sync this way).
iCloud Photos is a great option if you are short of space on your iPhone and Mac as you can choose a setting that means that while the full-res photos are stored in the cloud, smaller versions appear on your device. So you can see all your photos but they don’t take up significant space on your devices. You can download the high-res versions at any time.
This might be a good solution to you if your motivation for moving photos from your iPhone to your Mac was to save space on your iPhone. Just to give you an idea of how much space you can save, we have about 228GB of photos in iCloud. On our iPhone they take up 7.5GB, and on our Mac, 24GB.
Here’s how to set up iCloud Photo Library on your iPhone:
- On your iPhone go to Settings > Photos.
- Check the box beside iCloud Photos (so it’s green). This will automatically upload and store all your photos in iCloud so you can view them on any device.
- Here you can also choose to Optimise iPhone Storage (which, as we just explained, will stop your iPhone getting full up of all the photos you take – crucial if you are trying to make more space on your iPhone!)
You will also need to set up iCloud Photo Library on your Mac:
- Open Photos.
- Click on Photos in the menu
- Click on Preferences.
- Check the box beside iCloud Photos.
- Choose Optimise Mac Storage if you don’t want full-res versions of all your photos taking up space on your Mac, or Download Originals To This Mac if you do.
Your Mac and iPhone photo libraries will now start to sync up so you can see all your photos on both devices (you can also set your photos to appear on your iPad using the sane steps as on the iPhone).
Note: if you are thinking this would be a good way to back up your photos beware! While your photos are stored in the cloud, they aren’t backed up in the traditional way. And if you were to delete a photo from your Mac or iPhone, thinking you could free up space, you’d actually be deleting it from iCloud! So don’t!
We discuss how to download the images to your Mac below, and also
how to back up your iCloud Photos here.
There’s a Windows version of the iCloud software available for PCs too, so you can transfer photos from an iPhone to a PC if you need to (
you can download the Windows version of iCloud here). The other thing to be aware of is that uploading your entire collection of photos and videos to iCloud via Wi-Fi can take a Really. Long. Time.