I'm trying to transfer (make a copy of) all of the photos/videos in my iPhone's Photos app (what I see under the Photos builtin) to my macbook laptop.

If I go to Photos then "Import New Photo" or use image capture, nothing is available for import potentially because these are no longer on the 'camera roll' itself.

What's the best way to do this in bulk?

  • 1
    If Image Capture isn't seeing them, they are not on the 'camera roll' itself.
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 27, 2017 at 9:53
  • Fair enough -- happy to edit the question to make more sense (or if it's just delete "camera roll and replace by the parenthetical "photos builtin") or maybe the answer of "where they are" will point me in the right direction.
    – cohoz
    Feb 27, 2017 at 16:59
  • I think if they're not on the camera roll, you'd have to 'share' one at a time - but I'm not absolutely certain, so don't want to provide a misleading answer.
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 27, 2017 at 17:07
  • Painful. Thanks, I'll at least edit the question to reflect your correction--thanks!
    – cohoz
    Feb 27, 2017 at 17:10

1 Answer 1


This answer assumes:

  • your iPhone is not jailbroken and therefore does not have jailbroken options
  • your MacBook is running macOS 10.10 or later
  • that you have iTunes installed on your MacBook
  • that you don't mind purchasing some software that can help you do this (and more).

You can download/purchase Macroplant's iExplorer software. This software has been around for a long time now and generally works very well.

Using this software you can browse the contents of your iPhone, including photos and videos stored within the iOS Photos app. Below is a screenshot of the options I get when I've selected an album or folder within the Photos app and clicked on the Export > button:

enter image description here

Note: Just to be clear, the above screenshot is taken from a Mac with iExplorer installed. I am browsing the iPhone from within iExplorer on the Mac, selecting an album, and clicking on the Export > button.

iExplorer also allows you to mount albums/photos as a disk within Finder on the Mac so you can drag and drop files from the iPhone to your Mac. Once copied across you can then deal wth them like any other files on your Mac (e.g. you could import them into the Photos app on your Mac).

Below is a screenshot showing right-clicking on the Recorded Videos folder and selecting the Mount as Disk option.

enter image description here

Note: Just to be clear, the above screenshot is taken from within iExplorer on the Mac. I have selected the Recorded Videos folder and mounted it as a disk on the Mac.

I strongly suggest you check out the iExplorer page because it does a whole lot more than just transfer photos. You can also try it our for free and, if I recall correctly, can transfer a limited number of items.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way with Microplant or the iExplorer software.

Finally, there are other software packages that claim to be able to do similar things to iExplorer. However I have never personally used them so cannot attest to how good they are, but you may want to try these out:

  • I use iExplorer and think it's brilliant!
    – T.H.
    Jun 11, 2017 at 12:41
  • All assumptions are correct. I don't mind buying something although I am surprised that there isn't a built-in utility that can already solve my problem (without all the bells and whistles).
    – cohoz
    Jun 15, 2017 at 11:50

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