iPhone Download


Today’s Question: In a recent Ask Tim Grey you said you used Image Capture to transfer images from your iPhone to Lightroom. My question: what is the procedure you use to accomplish this transfer?

Tim’s Quick Answer: My approach is to first download photos from my iPhone to a folder on my computer. When the download is complete, and before I use the option to delete all photos from the phone, I import the downloaded photos into Lightroom using the Copy option in the Import dialog to copy the images to my normal storage location. At that point I delete all of the photos from the iPhone.

More Detail: Admittedly, this workflow is a bit complicated. The key issue is that I want to treat my iPhone as a “regular” camera. The problem is that the iPhone doesn’t include an easy way to delete all images from the phone, unlike a camera that includes the ability to format the digital media card. I would love it if Adobe added a “Delete After Import” option so I could simply use the Import feature, but since the vast majority of cameras include a format feature, this isn’t exactly a high priority feature for Adobe to work on.

The lack of an easy “delete all photos” feature for the iPhone has caused me to create a workaround workflow. I start by downloading the photos from my iPhone to what is essentially a temporary folder on my desktop. I use the Image Capture application included with the Macintosh operating system, in large part because Adobe Bridge for Macintosh has recently had some issues with the iPhone. Windows users can still use the Photo Downloader feature in Adobe Bridge, or use the “Import Pictures and Videos” feature. Both of these options for Windows users include an option to delete all photos from the iPhone after the photos have been successfully copied.

Once the download of my photos is complete, I will import the new photos into Lightroom. I use the Copy option in the Import dialog to copy all of the photos to a new folder in my normal storage location for photos. In theory I could download the photos to my primary storage location for photos right from the start. However, my preference is to take this more structured approach, in part to help make sure I never forget to import the new photos into Lightroom. The folder of photos on my desktop helps remind me to import the photos, and then serves as a backup copy of the images as well.

After the photos have been imported into Lightroom, I will erase the images from my iPhone. My approach is to keep the iPhone connected to the computer when the download is complete, and to import the photos into Lightroom before deleting photos from the phone, so I retain a backup copy at all times.

And of course, I will then perform a backup of my primary photos storage location, so I have yet another copy of my latest captures, before deleting the “temporary” download folder on my desktop.