Importing Photos With Preview

A little-known use for the Mac Preview app is to import photos from an iPhone, camera or SD card. This functionality is similar to using Image Capture, but coupled with Preview's ability to view and edit the photos as well. It doesn't work perfectly with iCloud Photo Library, since it is hard to know which photos are actually on your iPhone at any given time.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Importing Photos With Preview.

You may already know that you can use an app called Image Capture on your Mac to grab photos directly from your iPhone or iPad. But you can also do the same thing using Preview.

So run the Preview app and then go to File and Import. Here I've got my iPhone connected with the cable. You can see it recognizes that and it even puts the name of the iPhone there in the import item. So I'm going to select that and it's going to bring up this window that looks just like Image Capture. It's got this same format here. I could see all these photos and I can scroll left to right and see all this data about the different photos.

Now which photos appear here is kind of tricky. If you're not using iCloud Photo Library, if you've just got photos in your camera roll on your iPhone, then you're going to see those here. It's going to be pretty clear and simple. But using iCloud Photo Library means some photos are on my iPhone and some are not because I have optimized storage turned on. So I'm going to basically see the photos that are stored on my iPhone which are going to look different than if I looked in the Photos app because there may be some there that are on my iPhone and some that are not.

Basically it's a collection of recent photos and videos and some old ones as well. It could be really handy for grabbing a photo. Maybe you use your iPhone for personal use most of the time but you take a picture for work and you want to get that photo off of your iPhone. You can use Preview here, or Image Capture, find that photo and get it off of your iPhone onto your work computer. Then remove it from your iPhone so it's not part of your personal collection.

So I can select a file here and I can hit the Import button. The import button is going to ask me to select a location. I'll hit Choose Destination. You can see it puts it on the Desktop but also opens it up in Preview. So this is where it's a little different than Image Capture. I immediately get it open in Preview where I can mark it up, I can export it, I can do all sorts of different things. I can also do the same with drag and drop. I can drag an item to the Desktop here. It will appear there on the Desktop or in any folder and it will also open up in Preview at the same time.

You have some other options. You've got a switch between the List view and Icon view. You also can select multiples. So I can Shift, Click and select multiple items here. I can grab videos off this video here. I can drag and drop them off. It will import it and stick it there. It won't open that one up in Preview because Preview doesn't edit videos.

So you have some ability to delete photos. But in this case sometime using iCloud Photo Library that's disabled. So the Delete button here is disabled. If I were to Control Click you can see I've got an Import and Delete. The delete is active even though it won't work if I actually try to use it. So I assume that if you're using your iPhone or iPad without iCloud then it perhaps will work then if you wanted to delete a photo.

This also can be a great way to archive your photos if you have all of your photos on your iOS device. I can do Command A to select all. You can see as I drag it's going to tell me that it's got all those photos there in that drag and I can actually save those off. It will probably take awhile but I can get those off of my device.

So it's just something handy to know that it's there inside of Preview if you would rather use that than Image Capture or kind of combine the ability to grab these files like this. These photos like this, and open them instantly in Image Capture to manipulate them. Just a handy tool to know about.

Now this also works from other cameras and SD cards. So I've connected a SD card to my Mac here and you can see the import changes to import from camera and it has got iPhone still there but also has the SD card from my Cannon DSLR. I can select that and I can see the photos there. So if you connect a camera by USB or you insert a SD card into an SD card reader that's connected to your Mac you can also use Preview for importing or viewing those.

Comments: One Response to “Importing Photos With Preview”

    1 year ago

    Very handy feature for one-time use photos.

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