Optimize iPhone Photo Retrieval With Apple’s Image Capture Utility

Despite the iPhone having a less-than-stellar camera, I wind up taking more pictures with it than any other device we own. This becomes a painful reality every time I connect my phone up to my MacBook Pro since I am reminded that I have enabled the launching of iPhoto whenever there are new pictures to retrieve. More often than not, these quick snaps do not make it to my iPhoto library (due to image quality) but that does not mean I do not want to do some non-mobile processing with them. Enter Apple’s Image Capture application (which can be found right within your Applications folder).

Connect your iPhone (and quit iPhoto, if it comes up) and fire up Image Capture. You will see that it recognizes your device and is ready to serve.

You could just click “Download All” to have your images saved to your “Pictures” folder, but you can do much more with the application. The first thing you should do is bring up the application Preferences and choose a new default option for what happens when you connect any camera to your system (I suggest choosing “No application” as you then have control of what happens when you connect any given image-oriented device).

Bringing up the Options panel lets you change the “delete” behavior upon import, what information gets stored with the image (in both the image and the Finder) and what happens when Image Capture opens with a device connected.

When “Download Some…” is selected, you are given the option to process selected images with custom, optional transformations. “Download All” does just what it says.

If you elect to store information with the photos, the Finder (and Spotlight database) will be nicely populated, too.

While Image Capture can help streamline the retrieval of digital snaps from your iPhone, if you combine it with some interesting folder actions, you may also be able to seriously improve your overall workflow.