[Cross posting this from SuperUser since I have a bounty on it and have no replies yet, hopefully will get more attention here ;)]

I'm finding my iPhone photo download workflow to be a bit cumbersome.

Here are my requirements:

  • Download photos+video off my iPhone Camera Roll, but keep photos on iPhone
  • Only display/download new photos+video on iPhone since last download
  • Avoid iPhoto, ideally, because it makes me a bit nervous
  • Have all my iPhone-taken photos+video available to view on my iPhone
  • Maintain all EXIF/GPS metadata at all costs

Currently, I use regular folder structure + Picasa for all of my digital photos, however for my iPhone, I use iPhoto because it will "only display new items" when I go to import photos off my iPhone

I'm finding that will 5000+ photos+videos on my iPhone, iPhoto generally takes a while (2-10 minutes) to 'find' my iPhone after I plug it in.

Ideally, I'd like to just use OSX's built in ImageCapture.app to download iPhone photos, but it loads/displays ALL the photos, not just the new ones since last sync (as iPhoto does..). I then have to know which was the last downloaded iPhone photo and download only the newer ones.

Picasa Import also loads/displays ALL photos on the iPhone (which is very cumbersome with so many images to load off the device...)

I guess I'd like to know if anyone has a similar workflow/requirements and how they do it.

My current plan is to set up a workflow that removes photos from the Camera Roll as I download them, but then have iTunes sync them back on as albums based on folders - I may even automatically resize them so I have smaller versions on the iPhone and the original full size versions on my Mac (so conserve previous iPhone storage space)

  • 1
    "My current plan ... remove photos from Camera Roll ..." I was about to suggest that idea. I have a feeling that is how the iPhone and iPhoto were designed to be used together. It may be easier to go with that (work)flow than to swim against it. Jul 22, 2010 at 21:47

4 Answers 4


If your plan is to keep the photos in albums on your iPhone, surely you should import and delete all photos from the Camera Roll and then rely on your workflow using iTunes and albums to put them back on the iPhone.

  • I'm not partial to any albums per se, but yes, I agree that I'm likely better off downloading to my computer and then syncing back to the iPhone through iTunes
    – 3rdparty
    Jul 23, 2010 at 17:14

Looks like Photoshop Lightroom will do what I need it to do - HOWEVER, it doesn't support/import .PNG files, so unfortunately any iPhone screen-captures are ignored.


why don't you use Automator to do the workflow you pretend?

Automator is very powerfull and you can find much more Actions on Apple website that you can complete your workflow.

The Automator Comunnity is also amazing and posting your questions there you will get an answer quickly!


If you point the Image Capture tool to the same directory each time it will only pull the images that aren't already in that directory - not sure if that fits in your workflow.

  • Thanks - thought I had tried that, and it was reimporting duplicates but will check again to be sure. If so, that seems to be the simplest option.
    – 3rdparty
    Nov 10, 2010 at 17:06

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