Stop iPhoto From Auto Launching When You Connect Your iPhone

You know the story: On your way out the door in the morning you decide to quickly sync a few extra songs or podcasts to your iPhone. You plug it in to your Mac expecting the process to take just a few seconds. But what’s this? Why is iPhoto opening? Ah, it’s trying to load all my iPhone’s pictures! Now I’ve got apps opening on my Mac, images loading, metadata downloading. Yuck.

Don’t let this happen to you. Whether you have an iPhone, a point and shoot camera, or a $5,000 DSLR, here’s how to configure photo applications on your Mac to only open when you want them to.

iPhoto Disable AutoLaunch

There are two methods of disabling the autolaunch of applications when you connect a camera: one based on each device and one that’s universal. To universally disable app autolaunch when you connect a camera, go to iPhoto > Preferences > General and set “Connecting camera opens” to “No application.” If you have Aperture, this setting is found at Aperture > Preferences > Import.

Aperture Disable AutoLaunch

This setting will prevent photo applications from automatically launching when a camera (or smartphone with a camera) is connected. But what if you want iPhoto to launch when you connect your point and shoot camera’s memory card, but not when you connect your iPhone?

To set up autolaunch by device, first connect the device you’d like to configure. In this case, we’ll use an iPhone. Next, launch Image Capture from your Applications folder. Wait for your device to appear in the list on the left, then select it.

Image Capture Auto Import

On the bottom left side of the window, click the small triangle in the square box to open Image Capture’s device options. Then choose “No application” from the menu.

Image Capture AutoLaunch

With this method, you can configure each camera or camera-capable device to automatically launch a certain app, or none at all, when connected to your Mac. Note that you can also use this method to configure different devices to launch different apps; your iPhone can launch iPhoto and your high-end DSLR can launch Aperture, for example.

Now that you’ve disabled autolaunching for one or more devices, you can still import your images by manually launching iPhoto or Aperture. It’s a tiny extra step that we would gladly trade for the convenience of preventing apps from launching when you don’t want them to.

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  • http://www.postlinearity.com gregorylent

    doesn’t work at all … already selected, still the freaking photos load

    • http://www.tekrevue.com/ TekRevue

      This is confirmed to work in OS X Mountain Lion and the GM build of Mavericks. What version of OS X are you running? Have you tried setting it to “no application” with both methods (in iPhoto/Aperture Preferences and via Image Capture)?

      • http://lavenderphoto.com Scott T Lavender

        I tried this, setting it to “no application”. It still pops up when I insert a memory card. Since I use Lightroom for import, this is a PITA…

      • Randy Fox

        I can confirm that this does not work. I have the the updated Yosemite. I also use Adobe CC for LR and PS. I have selected “no devices” yet it STILL opens up my iPhoto. Very very annoying.

      • Camilla Koutsos

        OSX 10.10.2 – doesn’t work.

  • Pingback: How to stop iPhoto on OS X from opening when you plug in your iPhone or iPad — Tech News and Analysis()

  • Joseph

    Going to give this a try….geez lots to learn about the mac os lol and I really don’t like iPhoto since I can’t find where the files are located since I want to do edits on them

  • John_VII
  • niccolot

    Selecting “No Application” in the iPhoto General Preferences does not work for me either. (Am on OSX 10.10.2)