I started my Photos app on the Mac by pressing the Option key and then clicking on the Photos app icon, so that I can choose an external hard drive to store photos.

However, the Photos app is showing "No Photos" in the Import tab, when there are about 70GB of photos. The "Photos" tab, however, show a lot of photos, but they cannot be imported into my Mac.

I am running the latest iOS 9.2.1 and Mac OS X El Capitan. How do I make this work?

  • Maybe those photos have already been imported to your previous System Photo Library? As far as I know, only new photos can be imported every time you connect another device to your Mac. Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 6:07
  • at least I took some photos in the past few days and know for sure they were never imported any where... so those photos in the past few days should be able to be imported? Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 7:31
  • Try Image Capture, see if that can see them
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 7:37

1 Answer 1


I would recommend Image Capture. It's a bit less advanced than the new Photos, but in my opinion it's simpler.

Open /Applications/Utilities/Image Capture.app to begin.

Next, select which directory you would like to import the photos to from the "Import to" dropdown.

Cmd ⌘A to select all, and hit the "import" button OR hold Cmd ⌘ and click to select a few to import. Either way, the selected images will be imported into the specified directory.

To delete all these imported photos from the exporting device (ie iPhone), Cmd ⌘A and click on the "delete" button (looks like a prohibition sign).

Side note: if you wish to rotate an image, click the "Rotate" button (looks like an arrow) and all selected images will be rotated.

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