What You Can Do When iPhone Photos Are Not Showing up on Mac

Lisa Ou

Dec 05, 2019 09:00 / Posted by Lisa Ou

When I plug my iPhone into my MacBook Pro and open Photos, iPhone photos are not showing up on the Mac at all, I can only see the photos on my hard drive, what should I do?

Generally speaking, when you take a photo on your iPhone, it will automatically sync and show up in Photos app on your Mac if the two devices are both online. But if there is something wrong on your iPhone or Mac, it will damage the photo syncing. Just learn more about the verified solutions to get rid of the problems with ease from the article.

iPhone Photos Are Not Showing up on Mac

1. 6 Common Ways to fix iPhone Photos not Showing on Mac

The Photos app is a pre-installed app that available is on both iPhone and Mac. If there is any software glitch for iPhone photos are not showing up on Mac, you only need to update the operating systems as below.

Go to Settings > General > Software Update on iPhone, tap Download and Install button when there is a new version to get the latest iOS version for your iPhone.

update iphone ios

Turn on your Mac, click the Apple menu and choose System Preferences > Software Update. Click Update Now to install the latest update for your Mac.

macos update

After that, you can restart both your iPhone and the Mac. Launch the Photos app on both devices to check if iPhone photos show up on Mac as usual now.

Solution 2: Plug iPhone to Mac Again

If the Internet environment is not good enough, it should be difficult to sync photos between iPhone and Mac wirelessly, which is another reason that iPhone photos will not show up on your Mac. In such a case, you can use a USB cable to sync your photos from iPhone to Mac manually.

Plug your iPhone into a Mac computer with the charger cable. Make sure to unlock your iPhone.

Open the Photos app on Mac and select iPhone from the left sidebar. The photos on your iPhone will appear in the main panel.

Then click the Import All New Photos button, or select desired photos and click Import Selected to transfer iPhone photos to Mac.

After that, you can view the iPhone pictures in the Last Import album on your Mac without any problem.

connect iphone to mac

Solution 3: Try Another USB Port

USB ports on your Mac are exported in the air, so some of them may be damaged by dust or moist. If the iPhone photos are not showing up on Mac after connecting the two devices, you’d better try another USB port to find whether it works.

another usb port

Solution 4: Reboot Your iPhone/Mac

Rebooting your iPhone is another simple and efficient method to fix most of the small glitches, including for the iPhone photos are not showing up on your Mac problems.

Press and release Volume Up button, use the similar process with the Volume Down button. Press and hold side Power button until you find the Apple logo appears.

restart iphone

Open the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen and go to the Restart option to restart your MacBook. Click the Restart button on the popup menu to confirm.

reboot mac

Solution 5: Check If You Have Enabled iCloud Photo Library or My Photo Stream

Both your iPhone and the Mac rely on iCloud to sync photos. When your iPhone photos are not showing up on Mac, you should check the related settings as below.

Go to Settings > Photos on your iPhone. Toggle on the iCloud Photo Library and My Photo Stream to sync the photos between the two devices.

turn on icloud photo library

Switch to your MacBook and open Photos app. Click Photos > Preferences, go to the iCloud tab and check iCloud Photo Library and My Photo Stream.

my photo stream mac

Go to the Photos app on your MacBook and iPhone photos should appear. It takes a few minutes to sync the photos to check whether iPhone photos are showing up on your Mac.

Solution 6: Rebuild iPhoto Thumbnails on Mac

Sometimes, the corrupted thumbnails are responsible for iPhone photos not showing up on Mac. What you need to do is to rebuild the thumbnails and have another check.

Close iPhoto on Mac. Go to Finder > Application, choose iPhoto and press Command + Option buttons on your keyboard.

In the Photo Library First Aid dialog, select Rebuild Thumbnails and click the Repair button.

fix iphoto thumbnail

2. Use FoneTrans to Import Photos from iPhone to Mac

If you still are not able to locate the problem related to the iPhone photos not showing up on your Mac, what should you do instead? FoneTrans for iOS is one of the best choices to transfer the photos from your iPhone to the Mac, iTunes Library or other iOS devices with ease.

  1. Transfer photos and videos from iPhone to Mac with high efficiency.
  2. Manage, add, delete, edit and transfer the photos on your iPhone with ease.
  3. Preview photos on the iPhone and select certain files for transfer.
  4. Support all iPhone types with iOS 13/12/11 and earlier versions.

Connect your iPhone and the Mac

When iPhone photos are not showing on Mac, you can download and install FoneTrans for iOS on your Mac. Connect your iPhone to a Mac with a USB cable and launch the software. It will detect your iOS device automatically.

Connect your iPhone to computer

Preview photos on the iPhone

After data scanning, go to the Photos tab from the left sidebar and you and view all photos on the main panel by albums and date. You can select the photos that are not able to sync.

export iPhone photo

Transfer photos from iPhone to Mac

Make sure to check the photos you want to show on your Mac. Click the Export to Mac option and choose the destination. On the popup dialog, select a specific folder and save iPhone photos to Mac.


The article shares how to fix the problem that iPhone photos are not showing up on Mac. When you encounter this problem, you can follow the solutions to fix or transfer your photos from iPhone to Mac with FoneTrans for iOS manually.

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