Recovery & Repair
Data Transfer

4 Ways to Transfer File Between iPhone and Mac [Latest]

author Emily Watson
date Monday, September 11, 2023

For Apple enthusiasts, system integration has become a hallmark of the Apple experience. Whether you're a fan or a casual user, the process to transfer files between iPhone and Mac has become an essential part of your digital journey. And by utilizing both USB and wireless transmission methods, you can easily achieve file exchange between iPhone and Mac. If you still want to know more about how to transfer data from Mac to iPhone or vice versa, just check this post, where you can learn 4 effective ways to seamlessly transfer files between your iPhone 15/14/13/12/11 and Mac.

Transfer File Between iPhone and Mac

Transfer File Between iPhone and Mac via USB

Using a USB to transfer files between Apple devices is a highly convenient and reliable method. While it may seem to be more conventional, USB is always a solid choice when reliable and fast file transfers are needed. By linking your iPhone and Mac, you can directly move files without relying on internet connectivity. Now let's take a look at how to transfer files from iPhone to Mac using USB in the following two methods.

Method 1. Send Files with iOS Transfer Tool

Official methods like Finder, AirDrop, and iCloud are useful, but they also come with certain transfer limitations. In this case, a range of third-party tools have surfaced to provide solutions. And among these, FonePaw iOS Transfer shines as a decent choice.

FonePaw iOS Transfer is a versatile third-party tool designed to simplify and enhance the process of transferring files between various devices, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, and even Windows devices. While official methods may have limitations such as a lack of file preview capabilities or slower transfer speeds, this top-rated program stands out with unique advantages that you can control and preview your file transfers.

Key Features of FonePaw iOS Transfer:
  • Versatile File Transfer - It enables seamless and efficient transfer of various file types, including photos, videos, contacts, messages, and third-party app data. It can also transfer music from computer to iPhone.
  • Swift Transfer Speeds - With optimized algorithms, FonePaw iOS Transfer ensures fast and reliable file transfers, making it ideal for both small and large files.
  • File Preview Function - Users can preview files before transferring them, ensuring accuracy and eliminating the risk of transferring incorrect data.
  • Powerful Built-in Toolbox - With a built-in toolbox that enables iTunes-like synchronization and backup, it allows users to view iTunes data and perform local operations on iOS devices at the same time.
  • One-button operation - It allows users to enjoy the convenience of one-button operation without the need for complicated operations so that even novices can use it freely.

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With all the remarkable features above, you can easily transfer files between iPhone and Mac in several simple steps. Follow the guide-to-guide instruction below to move your files freely.

To send files from iPhone to Mac:

Step 1. Install and launch FonePaw iOS Transfer on your Mac, then connect your iPhone to your Mac using a USB cable.

Step 2. Select the media file type you want to transfer from the left panel, including photos, music, videos, contacts, messages, etc. You can view the basic information of the file through the preview function.

Step 3. Choose the data you want to move and then click "Export" to send the files from your iPhone to your Mac. The transfer process will be finished in several minutes.

Export iPhone Files to Mac

To transfer files from Mac to iPhone:

Step 1. Download and install FonePaw iOS Transfer on your Mac PC.

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Step 2. Connect your iPhone to your Mac with a USB cable, and launch FonePaw iOS Transfer. Your device will be recognized at once.

Step 3. Choose the data type you want to move on the left panel. Click "add" and then you can select the files you want to move from your Mac to your iPhone. The transfer process will be finished in several minutes as well.

Add Mac Photos to iPhone

Method 2. Transfer Data Using Finder

Another way to transfer files between iPhone and Mac is using Finder. Finder, a built-in macOS tool, offers seamless file management and synchronization between your iPhone and Mac. It enables syncing supported content like music, movies, photos, contacts, and calendars. With this Mac tool, you can easily transfer data within several steps as below:

Step 1. Plug your iPhone into your Mac using a USB cable. If prompted, tap "Trust" on your iPhone to establish the connection.

Step 2. Open Finder on your Mac. Look for your iPhone listed under "Locations" in the left sidebar and click it.

Step 3. Select the "Files" tab to see apps on your iPhone with files and then click the right arrow next to an app to reveal its files.

Step 4. Now, you can transfer data from your iPhone to your Mac by simply dragging and dropping the files. And to move files from your Mac to your iPhone, drag them onto the corresponding app in Finder. Just make sure the app supports the file type you're transferring.

Transfer Files by Finder

tips Note:
  • While Finder offers a practical file transfer method between iPhone and Mac, it lacks file preview features. For a flexible preview feature, we recommend FonePaw iOS Transfer, which allows you to preview files before transferring them, thus enhancing the user experience and ensuring efficient file management.

Transfer Data Between iPhone and Mac Wirelessly

When it comes to Apple products, AirDrop and iCloud are recognized as convenient and effective wireless ways to transfer files between iPhone and Mac. If you're an Apple user, you're probably already familiar with both methods. Without further ado, let's explore the seamless file transfer capabilities of AirDrop and iCloud now.

Method 3. Import Files with AirDrop

AirDrop is a user-friendly solution for seamless file sharing between compatible Apple devices within close proximity. Available on iOS 7, iPadOS 13, OS X 10.10, or later required, AirDrop empowers you to wirelessly transmit a diverse range of content to nearby devices and Mac computers, including photos, videos, websites, locations, and more.

To use AirDrop to transfer files between your iPhone and Mac, make sure Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AirDrop are turned on on both devices first.

To enable AirDrop:
  • On iPhone: Swipe down the Control Center, press and hold the network settings box, then choose "Contacts Only" or "Everyone" for AirDrop visibility.
  • On Mac: Open Finder, click on "AirDrop" in the sidebar, and adjust the visibility setting at the bottom to "Contacts Only" or "Everyone".

Step 1. When AirDrop is turned on, select the files you want to share on your iPhone or Mac

Step 2. Tap the Share icon, then pick your iPhone or Mac's name from the AirDrop options.

AirDrop from Macbook to iPhone

Step 3. On another device, accept the incoming file, and it will be saved quickly.

Accept Files from AirDrop

Method 4. Sync Data via iCloud

iCloud Drive is Apple's cloud storage service that enables you to store and access your files across your Apple devices using your Apple ID. It offers a convenient way to keep your files synchronized and accessible between your iPhone and Mac. However, it's important to note that iCloud offers only 5GB of free storage space. If you exceed this limit, you may need to consider purchasing additional storage.

Here is the guide on how to sync data between iPhone and Mac via iCloud:

Step 1. To enable iCloud Drive respectively on your iPhone and Mac first, you can refer to the tip below:

  • On iPhone: Go to "Settings" > [your name] > "iCloud" and then toggle on "iCloud Drive".
  • On Mac: Click Apple menu > "System Preferences" > "iCloud" and then enable "iCloud Drive".

Step 2. Choose and upload the files from your iPhone or Macbook to iCloud Drive.

Step 3. When the importation is finished, you can access and download the uploaded files from iCloud Drive on your iPhone or Macbook both.

Sync Data via iCloud

FAQs About Transferring Files Between iPhone and Mac

How to transfer data from iPhone to Mac without iCloud?

If you find the free storage space of iCloud is insufficient for your needs, the aforementioned methods like AirDrop and Finder can also assist you in transferring data. However, it's worth noting that AirDrop transfers are limited by the system version, and the Finder lacks the ability to preview files before transferring.

Therefore, for a faster and more precise data transfer experience, FonePaw iOS Transfer comes into play. With it, you can have final control and preview over files you want to transfer and can ensure faster data import speed between iPhone and Mac.

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How to transfer files between iPhone and Mac via Bluetooth?

In addition to connecting AirPods for audio and video enjoyment, Bluetooth can also be used to transfer data between MacBook and iPhone. For example, you can use Bluetooth to transfer MP3 from computer to iPhone. If you are interested in exploring different methods than those mentioned earlier, you can try to connect your iPhone to your Mac via bluetooth and finish the files transfer.

Step 1. Open Bluetooth on your Mac and iPhone to start with a connection, then browse or retrieve the files you want to transfer.

Step 2. Select data (generally photos, videos, files, and music can be transferred) and click "Send" to your Mac or iPhone.

Step 3. Wait for some minutes, the file can be successfully transferred between iPhone and Mac. But you should be told that Bluetooth transfer is not fast enough.


In conclusion, we've explored four distinct ways to transfer files between iPhone and Mac, each catering to different preferences and needs. Among these options, FonePaw iOS Transfer is recommended as a comprehensive solution. This third-party tool not only compensates for the limitations of other methods, but also offers a number of advantages, including support for a wide range of file types, fast transfer speeds, file preview capabilities, and iTunes-like functionality. So why not try it right now and enjoy all-in-one features!

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