stop photos from launching

Since I updated my Mac to the latest macOS version, the Photos app has decided to automatically launch every time I plug my iPhone in my computer for charging. This is kind of an annoying behavior which I’ve quickly taken care of in the past for iPhotos and iTunes. Here we go again, this time with Photos.

My first instinct was to go to Photos preferences panel, but nothing helpful could be found there. Then the obvious hit me.

If like me you don’t want Photos to open on its own every time you connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac, there is a simple thing you can do.

Stop Photos from opening when you plug your iPhone in your computer

Step 1: In Photos, click on your plugged in device in the sidebar to select it. As you can see on the screenshot above, my iPhone 6s is the device plugged into my computer over USB.

Step 2: In the upper left corner of the screen, uncheck the box that says “Open Photos.”

If you have several iOS devices, you will have to repeat the process for each of them, but after that, Photos won’t open when you plug your device in your Mac. Obviously, if you want to revert the behavior, go back in the app and check the “Open Photos” checkbox.

Also read: How to stop iTunes from automatically syncing when you connect your iPhone

  • Eric M

    but nothing helpful could be “found” not fine there… just fyi

    • Thanks

      • Eric M

        You’re welcome. We appreciate what you guys do! Keep up the good work!

      • Scott

        Do you know why I don’t have the icon of my device and the option to de-select it Sebastien?

      • Maybe because you didn’t set your iPhone to trust this computer

  • Greenery

    Question!! iPad ios8.2.. Can I jailbreak? If not can I download a ipsw for it & go from there?

  • This has been annoying me since for ever. Does it have to be recheck with new devices?

    • Yes. You have to do that for every new device that connects

  • easily fixed; but damn its been annoying….

  • Omar Ruiz

    random question, but i have a couple of photos that i had saved to my mac, and at the time, had deleted from my phone. when i try to put them back, in the “all photos” album its added to the most resent where as i would like to put them when i originally took the pictures. does anyone know of a work around? i know that in the moments section it shows them chronologically, i.e. when they were taken, but the album part is what matters to me since thats how i view my pictures for the most part. sorry for the lengthy post

  • rain rocket

    it doesn’t let me import photos from my phone anymore, while its checked or unchecked? Anyone else?

    • Scott Bodkin

      Same here!! Have you found a solution since you posted this question per chance? I’m dying on the vine here. I’ve been having to text myself pictures and open them with iMessage to get them on my Mac.

      • rain rocket

        I just have to keep it in my phone for now too , I guess it’s something that must be fixed in an update

      • Richard Dovenberg

        Try image capture…it should be in your applications folder

    • rain rocket

      Still nothing , I need to speak to a genius lol

  • Jake Platt

    Thanks for this. Was becoming quite an annoyance having photos pop up every time I plugged my phone in.

  • Scott

    I don’t have the option to select my device in the sidebar … I hate how it always opens

  • Thank you. I was going NUTS every time I plugged in my iPhone or iPad and could not find the ‘off’ switch. Much appreciation.

  • Erik Lesser

    Your fix does not really work consistently… as every time a memory card is formatted, Photos resets, as if it is a new device.

    • Hans

      Still no solution for this? I have the same issue. Not nice for pro photographers who uses lots of memory cards… like me

      • Erik Lesser

        Nothing yet Hans…. I have written a note to Apple directly on this issue.

  • rebutus maximus

    Thank you very much for this tip. This Photos auto-invoke is an intensely annoying ‘Windows-like’ artefact. I had this happen to me yesterday when I was uploading some 1100 photos fro a photoshoot. On a clunky MBP the last thing I needed was Photos trying to do its thing on top of my own initiated import!

  • Robert in Atl

    Sébastien, thank you! I had no luck figuring that out.

  • Unfortunately, it appears I may have to do this for EVERY SINGLE ONE of my 20-30+ memory cards as a professional photographer, which is absolutely un-acceptable. Does anybody know a way to force this “Don’t open” option for the entire app, not just on a per-device basis? It’s ridiculous.

    • defaults -currentHost write com.apple.ImageCapture disableHotPlug -bool YES

  • Patricia

    HI there, I now have the opposite problem.
    Photos no longer see’s my iPhone since installing El Captain.
    (iTunes sees it no problem). What now? Anyone?