How to Import Pictures into Photos App in Mac OS X
Want to quickly import images into Photos app on the Mac? It’s quite easy to bring new or old pictures into the OS X Photos app, and while there are actually many different ways to accomplish the importation, we’ll cover a few particularly fast methods.
Whether you want to add pictures to Photos app from a folder on your Mac, somewhere else in the file system, or an external drive, we’ve got you covered.
This tutorial is primarily aimed at importing image files directly into Photos app in OS X, but if you’d like to move an iPhoto library or Aperture library into Photos app, another guide covers that with a different migration process.
Onward with importing new pictures into the OS X Photos app!
Option 1: Importing New Pictures into Photos App with the Import Menu
Perhaps the easiest option to bring new pictures into the Photos app in OS X is to simply use the File menu Import option. You can use this to access any image files contained within the file system of OS X, whether the pictures are in a folder or several, on an external hard drive, a mounted memory card, or anything else accessible by the Mac Finder. Here’s all you need to do:
- Open Photos app and pull down the File menu, then choose “Import…”
- Navigate to and select the picture(s) you wish to import into Photos app, then click on “Review for Import”
- Choose “Import All New Photos” to bring all selected images into the Photos app (Optionally: you can select and deselect images into the review screen to narrow down the image import)
The pictures will be imported quickly into the open library and automatically arranged by their date as determined by the images EXIF data. You can then browse them and access them as usual in Photos app for OS X.
Option 2: Import Pictures into Photos App with Drag & Drop from the File System
Want to initiate an image import with files from the Finder? Just drag and drop them into the Photos icon:
- Using the Finder, navigate to the pictures you wish to import into Photos app
- Select the pictures you want to import and drag and drop them into the Photos app icon within the OS X Dock
- Review the pictures within Photos app and choose “Import All New Photos”
Using drag and drop offers a simple way to bring new pictures into the Photos app of OS X. While you can drag and drop into the icon as outlined above, another approach allows you to import image files directly into new or existing albums:
Option 3: Import Images to an Existing or New Photos Album with Drag & Drop
Want to import images directly into a Photos album with drag and drop? That’s easy too:
- Within Photos app, go to the ‘Albums’ tab and open the album of choice (or create a new album if you wish by clicking on the + plus button)
- Now drag and drop the images you want to import from the Finder directly into the open albums view of Photos app
- Review the pictures to import as usual and choose “Import All New Photos” to bring all dropped pictures into the previously chosen album
Whether you drag and drop the pictures into an open album or just into the Photos app icon, you’ll get the same review screen and import button options:
The drag and drop methods work with individual image files, many image files, importing a group of selected pictures, or even entire folders of images.
Drag & drop is my preferred method of bringing new pictures into Photos app on the Mac, since it’s fast, efficient, and offers a quick way to bring pictures in from any source available to the file system, whether the images are stored on an external drive, a folder somewhere on the Mac, pictures transferred to the computer from an iPhone with a prior method or different app, or where ever else in OS X you have image files kept.
What about importing from digital cameras and memory cards?
With digital cameras and memory cards, you’ll find that Photos app opens automatically by default when a camera is connected to the Mac, while you can turn this off if desired, it does make importing pictures from cameras, memory cards, and iOS devices into Photos app extremely easy as detailed here, which makes it a good feature to leave on for many Mac users. The actual importation process is practically identical to approaches outlined above, you just select the pictures you want and import them, and it’s done!
Photos App Importing Notes & Troubleshooting
Finally, some important notes about importing images into Photos app for OS X:
- If you’re bringing in pictures from a folder on your Mac, Photos app will make a copy of the imported files, which may or may not be desired depending on your preferences.
- Each of these outlined import options will bring the pictures into the current library. If you don’t want to do that, you can always make a new Photos library upon application launch, just remember you’ll have to juggle between multiple photo libraries which may have different pictures if you go that route. For most users, it’s best to maintain a single library, though multiple photo libraries is quite helpful for users who want to have a separate private image library, or separation between a work image library and their personal pictures, or other such use cases.
- If you have imported a very large library of pictures but thumbnails are not displaying properly, you can repair the Photos library to resolve that issue and many other common problems with Photos app.
Now that you know many image import methods for Photos app, do you have any other tricks, questions, or comments about Photos app? Do let us know in the comments below!