I have photos in the photos app on my Mac from a previous "back up" and now I would like to bring them back to my phone without having to use iCloud photo library. Is there a way to do it?

  • On your iPhone: "Settings -> "Your Name" -> iCloud -> Photos / iCloud Photos" - is this enabled or disabled? – Motsel Mar 9 '19 at 19:56
  • @Motsel it's off for all options except for the"shared albums". I do not wish to use iCloud Photos as I mentioned in my post. – NSF Mar 9 '19 at 19:58
  • Try this: apple.stackexchange.com/a/202980/20240 – Motsel Mar 9 '19 at 20:02
  • Not valid since I have my photos in the Photos app and I would like to retain the live photos and all the other info. – NSF Mar 9 '19 at 20:05
  • Ah. So if i understand correct you want to sync your iPhone with a different Mac/iTunes-library as you had previously synced with. This means if you try to sync you get a message like "this iPhone is synced with another iTunes library...do you want to erase this iPhone" ? – Motsel Mar 9 '19 at 20:58

I would first send the photos on your iPhone back to your Mac using AirDrop. This way you will get ALL iPhone photos on your mac, which you can then import in the Photos app on your Mac. After that you can then sync all photos back to your iPhone with iTunes:

  • First make a successful backup of your iPhone with iTunes.


  • Settings -> General -> AirDrop -> Contacts only


  • Open Finder
  • Click Go in the menu bar and select AirDrop
  • Allow me to be discoverd by -> Contacts only


  • Open Photos
  • Select all photos
  • Tap the sharing button
  • Wait untill AirDrop finds your Mac and click it


  • accept the popup window asking you to accept the photos
  • Import the Photos to the Photos app

  • Lastly, you can now sync your iPhone with iTunes to transfer all photos/the albums you want to your iPhone. But note that this will erase the media items synced with the previous library (music,podcasts,audiobooks etc.)

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