How to Fix Image Capture Not Working/Not Recognizing iPhone

If the Image Capture app is not working and you are unable to import your iPhone photos over to your Mac, the following guide will teach you how to fix the issue and be able to transfer photos from iPhone to your Mac machine. Read on to learn how.

By Joy Taylor | Posted on: Dec. 19, 2018, Last Updated: Aug. 19, 2019

Image Capture is a photo utility app that comes preloaded on most Mac machines. The main purpose of the app is to help you import photos from various photo devices over to your machine. It has support for iOS devices as well so you can use it to import photos, say from your iPhone over to your Mac in a few clicks.

While the app works great for many users, it seems there are some users who are facing an issue with the app. The Image Capture app is not recognizing the iPhones of these users and as a result the users are unable to get their iPhone photos on their Macs. If you are one of these users and are suffering from the issue, the following guide should help you out.

Here you are going to learn how to fix the Image Capture not working/not recognizing iPhone issue on your Mac. You will learn about various ways to get around the issue on your machine so let’s get started.

Common Solutions to Fix Image Capture Not Working

The following are some of the common solutions that you can apply to get rid of the issue on your machine. Many of these methods have proven to work for users like you who were troubled by the Image Capture app not being able to detect their iPhones.

Solution 1. Unplug and Re-plug Your iPhone

If the Image Capture app does not recognize your iPhone in the first attempt, you may want to try unplugging your iPhone from your computer and then plugging it back in after a few minutes. This will deactivate the port you use on your machine and then reactivate it and it will likely resolve the issue for you.

Solution 2. Re-trust Your iPhone in the iTunes App on Your Mac

You may wonder why you need to re-trust your iPhone in the iTunes app as all that you want to use is the Image Capture app. Well, iTunes provides universal authentication for your iPhone on your Mac and therefore getting your iPhone re-trusted in the iTunes app will let you use your device in the Image Capture app as well.

The following are the steps on how to do that:

Step 1. Unplug your iPhone from your Mac if it is already plugged in. Plug the device back in after a minute or so.

Step 2. Launch the iTunes app on your computer and you will be asked to trust the computer on your iPhone. Tap on Trust on your iPhone and it will let you move ahead.

How to Fix Image Capture Not Working - Re-trust Your iPhone

How to Fix Image Capture Not Working – Re-trust Your iPhone

Step 3. Open the Image Capture app on your Mac and you should find that the app has now detected your iPhone.

Solution 3. Delete the Image Capture Preferences Files

If there is any misconfiguration in the settings of the app, it could be preventing it from being able to recognize your iPhone. One way to resolve this is to reset the preferences of the app on your Mac and you can do it as the following.

Step 1. Open a Finder window and head to the /Library/Preferences/ directory.

Step 2. When the directory opens in Finder, find the following two files and move them to your desktop. Make sure you move and not copy them to your desktop.

Step 3. Restart your Mac and then launch the Image Capture app.

Solution 4. Enable My Photo Stream on Your iPhone

While not so relevant to the app, there is a solution that asks you to enable the photo stream feature on your iPhone to fix the Image Capture issue on your machine. There is no harm applying the solution to your device although it is not totally relevant and the following is how you do it.

Step 1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone and tap on Photos & Camera.

How to Fix Image Capture Not Working - Enable My Photo Stream on iPhone

How to Fix Image Capture Not Working – Enable My Photo Stream on iPhone

Step 2. On the screen that follows, you will find an option that says My Photo Stream. Enable the option by turning its toggle to the ON position.

How to Fix Image Capture Not Working/Not Recognizing iPhone - Enable My Photo Stream on iPhone

How to Fix Image Capture Not Working/Not Recognizing iPhone – Enable My Photo Stream on iPhone

Step 3. Connect your iPhone to your computer and launch the Image Capture app. The app should recognize your device without any issues.

Solution 5. Disable the Optimize Storage Option on Your iPhone

When you import photos from your iPhone over to your Mac, you probably want to get all of your photos in their original resolution. However, your iPhone will only keep the low resolution photos if you have the optimize storage option enabled on your device. This is because your original resolution photos are saved on the iCloud and your iPhone only shows thumbnails of those photos.

Disabling the option will fetch all of your photos in their original resolution from your iCloud account over to your iPhone and the following is how you do it.

Step 1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone and tap on your name followed by iCloud and then Photos.

How to Fix Image Capture Not Working - Disable the Optimize Storage Option on iPhone

How to Fix Image Capture Not Working – Disable the Optimize Storage Option on iPhone

Step 2. Under the iCloud Photo Library option, you will see two options out of which you can only checkmark one at a time. Tap on the option that says Download and Keep Originals to disable the optimize storage option on your iPhone.

How to Fix Image Capture Not Working/Not Recognizing iPhone - Disable the Optimize Storage Option on iPhone

How to Fix Image Capture Not Working/Not Recognizing iPhone – Disable the Optimize Storage Option on iPhone

Bonus Tip: How to Import Photos from iPhone to Mac without Image Capture

If none of the above methods worked for you, you may want to drop the idea of using Image Capture to import your iPhone photos to your Mac. That does not mean there exists no way to transfer photos from your iPhone to your Mac, though. Meet AnyTrans for iOS, an application that makes it possible and extremely easy to import iPhone photos to your Mac or even a Windows PC without the need of the Image Capture app.

It supports transfers of dozens of other file types like music, messages, contacts, apps, however, we will only be focusing on the photo transfer feature of this tool so you can get your job done. Download it to your Mac or Windows computer now and here’s how to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac with AnyTrans for iOS:

Free Download

Free Download

* 100% Clean & Safe

Free Download * 100% Clean & Safe

Step 1. Launch AnyTrans for iOS on your Mac > Plug-in your iPhone to your Mac using a compatible cable > Click on Device Manager at the left-side menu > Then, select the option that says Content to PC.

Select Content to PC in AnyTrans for iOS - Step 1

Select Content to PC in AnyTrans for iOS – Step 1

Step 2. On the following screen, select the categories you want to transfer > Click on the Select button to choose a destination for your photos > Click on the “Next” icon to move forward with the process.

Transfer to PC in AnyTrans for iOS - Step 2

Transfer to PC in AnyTrans for iOS – Step 2

Step 3. The app will start importing photos from your iPhone over to your Mac. It ensures your photo folder structure is intact so you can easily find the photos you want to view.

Conclusion

If the Image Capture app fails to recognize your iPhone, you have a number of ways to fix the issue and get the app to do your task. If all fails, you have AnyTrans for iOS which can be used as an alternative to the Image Capture app on your computer. Give a try to it and get an easier iOS data management.

Joy Taylor

Member of iMobie team as well as an Apple fan, love to help more users solve various types of iPhone related issues.