Is there a simple way of copying video files (taken with the camera, so they are .mov) from iPhone 5 right to desktop using the USB cable? I thought of adding them to Goodreader, but Goodreader compresses the files before adding them. Dropbox would maybe kind of work but I guess it uploads to the internet dropbox first which is an unnecessary and slow roundtrip, especially since WIFI on iPhone 5 is (still) broken.

5 Answers 5


Image Capture works with movies as well, so no need for iPhoto BUT this only works with videos that YOU shot on the device. If someone sends you a video and you save it to your albums, then Image Capture ignores it.

  • I really like Image Capture for the case where you want to archive all your media before it hits iPhoto or Aperture or Lightroom, etc… It does add a step, but sometimes that is a good thing.
    – bmike
    Sep 10, 2013 at 11:12
  • I used Image Capture recently, it worked really well. A hidden gem in OS X :-)
    – Jonny
    Feb 26, 2014 at 2:03

This isn't exactly a "simple" approach at first glance but really can be quite streamlined and reasonably easy. Honestly, there aren't (m)any good ways to sync videos between iOS and OSX - unlike images.

I personally use iPhoto for situations like you describe:

  1. Install iPhoto (if you don't have it already), and open it.
  2. Attach your iPhone to your computer using your USB cord.
  3. When prompted, import "Photos" (videos will import as well)
  4. Select the video you would like to have on your desktop (a yellow border will appear)
  5. Still in iPhoto, click "File" > "Reveal in Finder" > "Original".
  6. Copy the selected file that appears in Finder to your desktop, or any desired location.
  • I thought iPhoto was too big and cumbersome on my MBA (with only 128 GB, iPhoto is 1 ~GB) so I don't have it installed. It doesn't seem as a simple and quick solution if I only want to copy a file. Still, I'll try this from now and report back later...
    – Jonny
    Dec 28, 2012 at 16:12
  • Agreed. iPhoto is slow and clunky. The only reason I use it is to transfer photos/videos to my Mac. I'm hoping someone else will have a better solution - and maybe then I'll switch. Course, I have a 750GB MBP coming, so the size won't be a problem for me anymore. Dec 28, 2012 at 16:15
  • I did use some 3rd party OS X softwares to copy files back in the day with iPhone 3/4 etc but none work with iPhone 5 AFAIK.
    – Jonny
    Dec 28, 2012 at 16:17
  • Ok it does work as it seems (?) to transfer the original file. Still a 1GB+ Mac app is a bit overkill so maybe someone else has a faster solution.
    – Jonny
    Dec 29, 2012 at 1:34

If you don't want to run iPhoto just for that, and you're happy looking at the files at a slightly lower level, then iFunBox is useful. It shows the Photo Album of the device as a digital camera (DCIM) directory so you can see all the files, then copy to/from your Mac.

There's a Windows version too, which has proved useful in the past.


I have Iphone5 and MacBook Pro. I easily transferred 12GB of videos to Mac. I used Iphoto only as a file transferring app. I didn't open any file in Iphoto. Here's what I did: Have a clear desktop on screen. Open finder and put to left hand side of screen so that it is visible when you open Iphoto. In finder create a new file for your videos. Open Iphoto. On left side of Iphoto click Photos. Plug iphone into usb. Images auto load into New Photos. Select video, photo or all. Click Import Selected. Wait. Delete off phone? Yes because videos use lots of storage. Select video, photo or multiples and drag to the finder file. Wait. Delete vids and phots from Iphoto. Open video and enjoy!

  • Wait, doesn't Image Capture also function with videos? There are also 3rd party apps like ecamm's PhoneView, worth any amount of money to not have to open iPhoto or iTunes, and which allow transfer of many things.
    – Zo219
    Jun 21, 2013 at 5:13

The new slickier Photos app from Apple is the way to go now. :)

Just connect your iPhone and click the Import tab.

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