ios 13 media import camera

If you’re a photographer who imports their images into an iPhone or iPad on the go, then there’s a lot to be excited about the upcoming iOS 13 and macOS 10.15 updates.

The Cupertino technology giant is reportedly readying a brand new workflow for importing photos and videos from external media. Thanks to a new developer-facing API in iOS 13, you’ll be able to directly import media from external storage devices into your favorite cloud-storage or image-editing apps without having to first dump the items into Apple’s Photos app.

That’s according to 9to5Mac‘s Guilherme Rambo, who yesterday reported that with this new API “apps will be able to capture photos from external devices such as cameras and SD cards, without having to go through the Photos app” (for those unaware of the import feature in Photos, it launched with iOS 9.2 more than four years ago).

Andrew O’Hara, writing at AppleInsider:

This would give us the option to import all of our RAW photos directly off our camera into Box or the Files app, edit our best ones in our editing app of choice, then export and save those directly to the Photos app for sharing. This will simplify workflows and reduce the barrage of surplus images seen in the Photos app.

With last year’s iOS 12 update, the import workflow for photographers improved with an updated interface that appears when connecting a DSLR or a memory card to an iOS device using Apple’s Lightning to USB camera adapter, pictured below [review ]

The key enhancements include a new large preview mode, importing into an existing or a new album, seeing progress during import and taking advantage of USB 3.0 speeds. However, the process remains no less annoying than before iOS 12 because it’s currently limited to Photos.

ROUNDUP: Everything you can do with the USB-C port on iPad Pro

As Andrew summed it up nicely:

The way iOS has managed photos has been troublesome since its inception. If you shoot a series of photos, you can’t import them directly into editing apps such as Pixelmator Photo or Adobe Lightroom—they must first go to the Apple Photos app.

This often yields an overflow of raw images dumped into the photo app that you must then import into your editing/management app of choice, before exporting your edited favorites back to the original Photos app. It results in a lot of clutter.

If you use iCloud Photos to keep your media synced across devices, then dumping the media into Photos will automatically trigger an iCloud sync, wasting your bandwidth and computing resources unnecessarily. You don’t really want those images available on all your devices because you’re going to delete the unedited originals from the Photos app as soon as you import them into a third-party app of your choice.

Apple’s camera adapter for importing media into your iPhone or iPad

A much-improved import workflow that would be available to developers via new APIs could put an end to that and make iOS a much more capable platform for power users.

Speaking of which, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for external drive support on iPad so we could see any connected USB-C storage device in the Files app and copy files from and to it like we would with any connected cloud storage service. Who knows, perhaps this new media import workflow also extends to any file type, not just photos and videos.

Thoughts on the iOS 13 media import workflow?