I've got a load of albums that I made on my iPhone to organize my photos. But when they get imported into iPhoto (which I do over Photo Stream), they lose their albums and come in just as one long stream.

This also seems to happen if I just bring them in using iPhoto and the USB lead.

Is there any way to bring them in and preserve the albums, or do I have to rebuild each album again inside of iPhoto?

  • Could you show or describe the album mechanism you are employing on iOS? (Specifically which app is making / naming the folders) describing your workflow a bit more will reduct people suggesting apps that may not fit your need.
    – bmike
    Apr 14, 2013 at 12:36

7 Answers 7


Here, I found this app and I think this might be the app you need : http://www.photosync-app.com/photosync/en/features.html

Maybe this article can help you out? http://lifehacker.com/5914638/the-best-desktop-file-explorer-for-iphone But you have to do it manually then.

Some of the listed apps in the article :

  • i-FunBox
  • iExplorer
  • DiskAid
  • Phonedisk
  • Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference.
    – slhck
    Jan 2, 2013 at 22:28
  • Oh, ok. You're right but I was in a hurry. I'll edit my post.
    – tdhulster
    Jan 3, 2013 at 12:24

I don't have an answer, but I think I can clarify the question:

In the built-in IOS Photo app, you can create Albums, which are essentially folders of aliases. So I created the album Selva Verde fauna, for photos of animals I'd taken in the Costa Rican lowlands. In iPhoto, this album seems to be inaccessible: all I see is my iPhone device name (say, David's iPhone) and the photos in my Camera Roll. So all the time I spent selecting photos is wasted, and I have to guess which are the edited versions I've tweaked in Filterstorm (a truly fantastic app: 70% of Photoshop's capabilities for 2% of the price!). To make things even more irritating, in the iPhone Photos app the images are in chronological order, so edited versions always come after originals. iPhoto, however, puts them right next to the original image.

What I'd like, and I think it's what Sam's asking for, is a way to import albums from the iPhone, instead of just individual images.


The only way I've worked out how to do it is to:

  1. Download the Dropbox app on your mobile device.
  2. Manually add folders with the same names as the ones on your iPhone photos app.
  3. Select the first folder you want to copy to in Dropbox then select the three dots in the top right corner, click 'add files' which will open you iPhone Photos app. Select the folder containing the photos you want to copy, select the photos then select 'upload'. Repeat for all folders you want to copy.
  4. Open the Dropbox app on your computer and you can manually copy over the folders.

Very disappointingly, there is no way to natively import Albums created on your iPhone to anywhere. It is a limitation because of the way the "Albums" are created on the iPhone. They are virtual folders that point to photos on your Camera Roll. You can only import (export really) photos from your Camera Roll. I am exploring some third party apps with hopes they might solve this frustrating dilemma.


If the albums were brought from the computer (i.e. synced with iTunes), then the photos will not lose their album association on the computer. However, if you created the albums on your iPad, then you are out of luck. The albums created in the Photos app are for local photo organization on the iPad only.

I've heard that Google's Picassa could help you transfer the iPad albums to computer.


I found a solution that I want to share with this community. CopyTrans Photo, which sells for $20, recognizes which photos belong to which albums and allows me to copy just those photos to my PC. It also does a full backup if I want to do that.

As others have already stated, "albums" in iPhones are just entries in a database that points image files to an "album". There isn't actually a separate folder; all image files still reside in the "DCIM" folder.

CopyTrans Photo is able to the database, figure out which image file is associated with an album, and present only those files for copying.


I managed to easily download only a single iPhone photo album onto my mac.

Open the album on the iPhone, choose "Select", then "Select All". Choose the box with the up arrow (export), then choose "AirDrop". If your Mac is plugged in via USB or on the same Wifi it should show up. Choose the computer, and a notification should pop-up on your computer.

You may need a recent OS X (I think Yosemite should be fine), and a newer iOS.

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