I wanted to transfer a few photos from my computer to the iPhone and I though: lets do it quickly in a couple of minutes!

It was quite sad to realise iTunes only allows me to transfer photos into my iPhone 7 if I mark the checkbox "Sync Photos". The, for a very strange reason, iTunes starts doing a backup of my iPhone when I click on "sync" in order to transfer the pictures.

Las backup I did took around 3 hours. And I definitely do not want to wait 3 hours to transfer 10 pictures...

Can someone explain me what am I doing wrong? Because I seriously expect to be doing something very wrong... otherwise I ca not believe how bad Apple designed iTunes and the transfer of pictures/video.

I was forced to use Google Drive to transfer 10 pictures... quite sad...

  • 1
    What are you trying to accomplish when you say 'transfer'? You question appears to be an XY problem so it helps if you describe the problem you're trying to solve.
    – fsb
    Nov 9, 2016 at 19:33
  • Move from my computer to my phone? I just want to have my computer pictures in the phone. Like when copying a file to another folder? Easy stuff ? Don't know if XY problem or not, but I if someone can suggest a Z solution I'll be more than happy to take it!
    – Steve
    Nov 9, 2016 at 19:35
  • 1
    Are you open to using iCloud? That will keep your photos synced to your computer. If not, iExplorer might be able to help to transfer one-off photos.
    – fsb
    Nov 9, 2016 at 19:40
  • 1
    iTunes doesn't actually do a full backup when you sync (as it does when you click Backup in iTunes). It does sync information between the computer and your device, though. It should not take very long. Alternatively, if your Mac supports it, you could use Air Drop between your device and your computer. In the Photos app, select the photos you want, right-click and choose Share, then Air Drop.
    – tubedogg
    Nov 9, 2016 at 21:20

3 Answers 3


Try AirDrop.

It's a very simple way to transfer any kind of files (not just photos) between devices. Just select the pictures, right-click them, select Share > AirDrop, and pick your iPhone. Make sure it's unlocked, or it won't show up.

Important note: To use AirDrop between Mac and iOS, your mac needs to be from 2012 or later (but not the mid-2012 Mac Pro) and running OS X Yosemite (10.10) or later, and your iPhone needs iOS 7 or later.

  1. Quit iTunes.
  2. Under Terminal.app:

    defaults write com.apple.iTunes DeviceBackupsDisabled -bool true
  3. If you ever want to reenable the backups:

    defaults write com.apple.iTunes DeviceBackupsDisabled -bool false

Tested on iTunes 12.9.0 / Photos 4.0 / MacOS 10.14.1.



You may get tired of using iTunes to transfer photos from computer to iPhone. If you want to sync images directly to your iPhone camera roll, you can try to use document app with Wi-Fi sharing capability. To begin with, you need to make sure that your computer and the iOS device connect the same wireless network.

1.Open Documents app on your iPhone and click “Menu” on the top left corner.

2.Find “Settings” option, go to Wi-Fi Drive and choose “Enable Drive”. You will get an IP address with which you can transfer photos from computer to iPhone.

3.Turn to your computer and open a web browser. Go to the IP address showed on your iPhone.

4.Click “OK” when you see the prompt on your iOS device ask for access to sync photos from computer to iPhone.

5.Go back to your computer and click “Choose Files" button.

6.Select images you want to import to iPhone.

7.Click “Upload File” button to begin transfer photos from computer to iPhone.

After that, you need to do some more operations to move images to Camera Roll. Open your iPhone and go to “Photos and Videos”. Click “Edit” on the top right corner to select images you want to transfer into Camera Roll. Tap “Copy” on the button at last to start transfer photos from computer to iPhone Camera Roll.

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