How can I prevent iPhoto/Photos/Image Capture from launching everytime I plug in my iPad/iPhone?


4 Answers 4


Do this:

  1. Plug in your iPad/iPhone
  2. Open Image Capture
  3. Select your device ("devMikePad")
  4. Press the triangle in square symbol in the lower left corner.
  5. Select "No application" in the menu.

Here is a picture showing what to look for on Snow Leopard or Yosemite.

enter image description here

  • 2
    Interestingly this works also with Android devices (tested with Yosemite).
    – Calimo
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 13:04

The way disable this in bulk using terminal or a script:

defaults -currentHost write com.apple.ImageCapture disableHotPlug -bool YES

This sets a flag to tell the system to not activate ImageCapture or Photos or iPhoto when a hot plug of an iOS device is detected. The benefit here is you pre-emotively disable the connection as opposed to reacting to each single device after an app has launched and the specific device is connected.

  • Can anyone test this in El Capitan? I've run out of 'foreign' devices to test with.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 11:36
  • This unfortunately no longer works as of 10.11 "El Capitan". Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 13:44
  • @NicholasH. Hmm - it works for me. Are you sure you are using defaults -currentHost write ? I've tested this now on two builds of 10.11 and it's working for me.
    – bmike
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 13:55

Preferences > General > "Connecting Camera Opens ..."
set it to "No Application"

added: How to do this with the new Photos app
Connect the iPad/iPhone
check or uncheck "Open Photos for this device"


On Yosemite, it was driving me nuts and the above answers helped some, but I still had to dig around a bit. Here's my own clarification:

Connect your phone and open Photos.

  1. Drop down the View menu and
  2. Select Show Sidebar (changing the option to Hide Sidebar as shown in my screenshot)
  3. Select your phone in the now visible sidebar and uncheck the box labeled "Open photos for this device"

I looked through all preferences, settings, and help menus I could find and found nothing. So thanks for the help!

Stop Mac Photos.app from opening every time you plug in your phone!

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