I only use Photos.app as a browser of all my images.

I unselected the copy items to the Photos library so my files can live in my hard drive and I don't duplicate them inside the Photos Library.photoslibrary archive.

I use Image Capture to import the iPhone pictures to a folder and after I used to imported to Photos.app and everything was great.

But now with Live photos I get two files for each picture, the picture and the little movie that makes the Live part possible. The problem is that if I try to import them to Photos.app, it doesn't recognise them.

Is there any way to import the picture with the Live functionality to the app without duplicating the content?

  • Have you ever figured out how to get this to work?
    – poweratom
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 1:04
  • Yes! I just added the answer
    – Pablo L
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 8:30

2 Answers 2


You have to import the two files of the same picture (the photo and the video) with the same name.

Photos will recognise them as a live picture then.

  • Thanks. In retrospect, it seems like a no-brainer. But I've been quite frustrated with Photos.app and other Apple tech (coming from a long time Apple user too) not working "as expected" recently that I figured a solution "that simple" surely wouldn't work. This taught me not to assume (again).
    – poweratom
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 13:48

Which version of macOS are you using? This is supposed to work on Sierra.

I cannot test this because my iPhone cannot take Live Photos. Try to download the photos from your iPhone by connecting it to a USB port of your Mac and importing directly to Photos.

The safest way to transfer Live Photos is to use iCloud Photo Library and let the Mac sync with iCloud.

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