Grabbing photos from your iPhone or iPad WITHOUT Photos app

6 November 2015, 05:00

Apple would like you to use the Photos app on a Mac. But you don’t have to. You can bypass it and gain access to your photos using one of OS X’s oldest tools: Image Capture.

The steps are simple:

  1. Attach your iPhone or iPad via USB. Sadly, you can’t use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for this.
  2. Close Photos and/or iTunes if they open automatically.
  3. Open Image Capture, which you’ll find hidden away in the Applications list within Finder.
  4. Your device will be listed on the left, and your photos will be shown on the right. Just drag and drop to a Finder window to download them, or select any and click the Import or Import All buttons at the bottom right.

I hope it’s obvious but Image Capture can be used to grab images from ANY camera or phone, including Android – provided it uses the standard DCIM folder system (and most do). It can also grab MP3s or videos from media players, provided again they use a standard folder and interface system.

BONUS TIP: Click the small arrow at the bottom left of the Image Capture window and you can configure what apps – if any – auto-open when you attach your iPhone or iPad via USB. This way you can stop Photos opening automatically.

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