How To Stop iPhoto From Opening on Your Mac When You Connect Your iOS Device

How To Stop iPhoto From Opening on Your Mac When You Connect Your iOS Device

I don’t know about you, but it irritates me just a bit whenever I connect my iOS device to my Mac and iPhoto pops up. Sure, I like to move my device’s photos over to my Mac from time to time, but 90% of the time, I’m just looking for a quick battery top-up.

iPhoto Turned Off

By default, OS X opens iPhoto whenever you connect your iOS device to your Mac via the Lightning sync cable. Many of us turned this off in Mavericks, but SURPRISE! It’s turned back on when you upgrade to OS X Yosemite.

Sure, it seems like there would be a setting in iPhoto to turn this off, but this is one of those times Apple pulled a fast one on users and hid the setting in another app. One you might not even think of looking in.

Follow these steps to turn off iPhoto’s auto-startup when you connect your iOS device to your Mac:

  1. Connect your iOS device to your Mac via your Lightning or 30-pin sync cable. (iPhoto will open one last time, go ahead and close it.)
  2. Open the Image Capture app. (It’s in your Applications folder.)
  3. Click on your iOS device in the left-hand pane.
  4. At the bottom left of the Image Capture window, you’ll see a pull-down option allowing you to select what happens when your connect this iOS device to your Mac. (You may need to click the tiny “up” arrow in the lower left corner before you see this option.)
  5. The top option is “No application.” Click that option to select it.
  6. Close out the app. iPhoto should no longer pop-up every time you connect you iOS device to you Mac.

If you have “Photos in the Cloud” turned on in your iOS device settings you won’t see this option, since you can no longer add photos to iPhoto when connecting your iOS device.

Thanks to Kirk McElhearn, (via The Loop), for the original tip.

  1. Grunt_at_the_Point says:

    I’ve notice this behavior when I connect a card reader to my Mac while Lightroom 5 is open. This must be an issue related to Yosemite as this did not occur in Mavericks.

    1. Paul White says:

      A real pain if you have a ton of SD cards with different names

  2. Chris Hauk Chris Hauk says:

    This also works with the new Photos for OS X app found in the OS X Yosemite beta.

  3. DrPlayer says:

    This is another example of Apple bossing people around with no explicit rationale. I am starting to think that they hired Microsoft execs, since there is very little regard for the customer, and quality control has become so very very poor.

    1. J. Glenn Künzler J. Glenn Kunzler says:

      It isn’t about bossing people around. That doesn’t make sense. It’s about making the default OS settings ideal for the majority of people. In this case, it’s more convenient to default to immediately open photo management software when a photo-containing device is detected and allowing the user to change or disable that behavior than it is to default to doing nothing and requiring the user to figure it out.
      That’s the great thing about default settings: they’re easy to change if you don’t like them.

      1. DrPlayer says:

        Not when upgrading the OS changes the defaults that the user had previously set. That is countermanding previous preferences and it is poor practice. At the very least, the user should be informed of such regressions, and be told how to undo them if they prefer to have their preferences restored.

      2. Raul Paolucci says:

        No, it´s absolutely NOT convenient. How is it convenient that every single solitary time I plug in my iphone, it opens two apps that override everything else i´m doing? Does Apple and you forget that sometimes, just sometimes, we plug our Iphones or Ipads to charge them? is it really that unthinkable?
        Im working on something, playing a game, watching a movie, or whatever, I notice my Iphone has 20% battery, I plug it in, and everything becomes a slideshow because 2 apps are being opened and thrown right in my face for ´´ convenience ´´ sake. This is worsened by the fact that this is Default, when it should just be an option, and the only way to change it is to surf the web, since changing this is not straight forward. I had never even HEARD of Image Capture app until now. WHY do I need to open it to change iPhotos preferences? What the hell are iPhoto´s preferences for if not for changing its own prefererences?
        Its not ideal for the majority of the people, in fact, its not ideal even for the minority of the people, its not ideal for ANYONE, not in the way it´s handled, and it pissed me off to now end that people are defending this stupid mechanics that start to smell every day more like windows.

  4. Sophie says:

    Thanks for this. Was a pain in the rear.

  5. Maleek says:

    thank you it worked!!!

  6. Bankhead says:


  7. Michelle Warner says:

    Thank you! This was making me crazy.

  8. Keith Sparkjoy says:

    Thank you!

  9. Husni Sayed says:

    Thank you. Who’d thought of that. Thank God for google to find people like you.

  10. sriram angajala says:

    thanks, this is what exactly am looking for and it works

  11. Mitch Jensen says:

    Thank you! iPhoto irritates the hell out of me.

  12. Jilin Xie says:

    Thanks, finally turned it off.

  13. Thanks, was driving me insane!!!

  14. Joe says:

    This was a true service to the people. Thank you!

  15. Sam_Mallery says:

    100% opposite of a positive user experience.

  16. Deacon know Good says:

    Not working for me with El Capitan

    1. Gianmarco says:

      With iPhone selected in Photos, top left corner, un-tick “Open Photos for this device”.

      1. Stacey Sargert Zahn says:

        Help! I’ve been trying all day to shut down iPhoto. I never use it and need it to stop opening when I connect my cell. iPhoto is the devil! I have El Capitan.

  17. iMoan says:

    Thank you!

  18. Iknop says:

    I don’t want my photos to show up when connected to anybody else’s mac device either. What if someone has my phone without my knowing? Any way to disable this from my iPhone?

    1. Alex Gamero Garrido says:

      Your iPhone will ask if you “trust” a computer before sharing any information with it. As long as you don’t hit “yes” accidentally, you should be fine.

      1. Iknop says:

        Aw maaan. Is there any way I can UN-trust the same computer? (Of course not)

  19. lucas says:

    Nice! It works!

  20. Alice Hohl says:

    Bless you. This was SO annoying. Thanks.

  21. Thank you for helping! That was seriously getting on my nerves…

  22. Erratic_Niquel says:

    Many thanks for your help. Thumbs up for that article.

  23. You are amazing!! This has been driving me crazy! Totally agree Sam, not good user experience at all. Thanks for the workaround!

  24. Lynn says:

    OMG thank you so much. It was always a race to force close the app, but sometimes I’d mis-click. Then god forbid you try to quit while it “builds a library”. Ugh…*throws chair

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