5 Ways to Easily Transfer Files Between an iPhone and Mac

  • You can transfer files between your iPhone and Mac in a number of ways.
  • AirDrop allows for the wireless transfer of files between an iPhone and Mac, not needing an internet connection.
  • iCloud Drive is another alternative Apple provides, but it needs to be set up first on both devices.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Apple’s ecosystem of products generally works quite well when you’re in it. Using iMessage on your iPhone and picking up where you left off on your Mac is quite cool and can be rather useful. However, you might have wondered how this experience translates to sharing files between an iPhone and a Mac. Here are five ways to do just that.


AirDrop is an effective way to quickly share files between an iPhone and Mac. Once you’ve enabled AirDrop on your Apple devices, you can share files with a few clicks or taps.

From an iPhone to Mac:

1. Open the file you wish to share and tap the share icon, the square icon with an arrow pointing up.

2. Tap on either the Mac icon if you see it or tap the AirDrop icon and select your Mac from the subsequent menu. The file should then transfer.


Tap your Mac or the AirDrop icon.

Kyle Wilson

From a Mac to an iPhone:

1. Right click the document that you wish to share.

2. In the menu that appears, hover over Share and click on AirDrop.

airdrop mac menu

Right click on the file, hover over Share, and select AirDrop

Kyle Wilson

3. Click on the recipient iPhone from the list to send the file and click Done.

iCloud Drive

In order to use iCloud Drive, you must first set it up. Please see our guide on how to set up iCloud Drive on an iPhone or Mac.

From an iPhone to Mac:

1. Open the file you wish to share and tap the share icon, the square icon with an arrow pointing up.

2. Scroll down and tap on Save to Files.

3. In the new menu that appears, select iCloud Drive.

icloud drive

Tap iCloud Drive to save.

Kyle Wilson

4. Tap Save.

5. On your Mac, open Finder and click on iCloud Drive. Your file will be in there.

From a Mac to iPhone:

1. Copy the file that you wish to share into the iCloud Drive folder in Finder.

2. On your iPhone, open the Files app and select iCloud Drive from the list of available locations.

3. Tap on the three horizontal dots on the top right corner of the screen and tap on Select.

4. Tap on the file that you wish to transfer.

select files

Select files to transfer from iCloud Drive.

Kyle Wilson

5. Tap on the Share button and select how you wish to transfer the file. This could be selecting Save Image if it is a picture or another option for a different type of file.

Google Drive

Google Drive

is among many cloud storage solutions that can be used to transfer files between your iPhone and Mac, and it gives all Google accounts 15GB of free storage. After you get started with Google Drive, refer to our guide on how to upload files to Drive from your computer and mobile device. Once the files are uploaded, you can access – and download – them on either your Mac or iPhone. 


Email is an old standby for transferring files between devices.

From iPhone to Mac:

1. Open the file you wish to share and tap the share icon, the square icon with an arrow pointing up.

2. Select either the default iOS email app (Mail) or the email app of your choice and fill out the particulars to send it to yourself.


Tap Mail or the email application of your choice.

Kyle Wilson

3. On your Mac, open your email application and view that email message you just sent to yourself with the file(s) attached. You can download the attached images from here.

From Mac to iPhone:

1. Open your email application, create a new email and attach the file, then send that email to yourself.

2. On your iPhone, open your preferred email app and view that email message. You now have the option to view the attachments and save them.

Image Capture

Image Capture is an application that Apple includes in macOS that allows for the download of pictures from devices – like cameras or iPhones – to your Mac. Your iPhone must be awake and unlocked in order for Image Capture to work.

1. Connect the iPhone to your Mac using a USB cable.

2. On your Mac, select your iPhone from the left-hand side of the Image Capture application.

3. You can now choose where to import your images to on your Mac – or any other connected device. You can import all photos or choose specific ones.

image capture

Select images to import and a location for the files.

Kyle Wilson

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