How do you get Android phone photos into the Mac Photos app?

Transfer photos from Android phones and edit them on an Apple Mac

The Microsoft OneDrive app on a Samsung Galaxy M31 Android phone

The iPhone is the natural companion for Apple Mac users, at least according to Apple, but what if you have an Android phone and a Mac. How do you get photos into the Photos app? Here’s one way.

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The first step with getting Android photos into Mac Photos is to somehow get them onto the Mac’s disk. I looked at one method here: Transfer files between Apple Mac and Android phone with MacDroid. I would rather not fiddle around with cables and file transfer software and the obvious alternative is to use an online drive to transfer photos wirelessly from phone to computer.

Google Drive is an obvious choice and the app is installed by default on Android phones and it can be installed on Macs, creating a folder that is shared and synced across both phone and computer. This is a great way to transfer files from one device to the other.

The best-known Google Drive alternatives include Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox and both use a synced folder that both phone and computer can access. There are many more online storage services if you want to search for them.

Space is limited for free with all these online drives, but all the services provide enough free space to sync a large number photos at a time. If you have an old Android phone with thousands of photos, you will probably need to pay for extra online storage space, but if you just want to transfer your latest photoshoot or holiday snaps, the free space is more than adequate.

My own preference is for Microsoft OneDrive, partly because I been with it from the start and have accumulated 50 GB of free space by taking up various offers over the years. Last time I used the Google Drive app on my Mac, Backup and sync from Google, it was bigger and slower than OneDrive.

Install OneDrive on Android

Install the OneDrive app on your Android phone from the Google Play Store and sign into it with a Microsoft account. It can be a free or paid account for Outlook, Office and other Microsoft services, they all use the same username and password.

Upload photos to OneDrive

There is a setting in the OneDrive app to automatically upload photos to your online storage and this is a great feature if you have 1 TB of OneDrive storage space. Don’t select it if you have a free account because the photos on your phone will use up all the space in no time.

OneDrive on an Android phone showing the menu

Open the OneDrive app and go to the folder you want to upload photos to. I created an Android photos folder in Pictures. Tap the plus button at the top to show the menu and there are options to create a folder and to upload photos. Tap Upload.

Upload photos to OneDrive on an Android phone

Recent photos taken on the phone are immediately displayed, but if not, you can easily find the gallery or album you want.

OneDrive app on an Android phone

Tap one to upload it or long press to select multiple photos and then tap Select at the top to upload them.

Install OneDrive on your Mac

Browsing the OneDrive folder on the Mac with Finder

Microsoft OneDrive is free in the Mac App Store, so go and get it if you do not already have it. Install it and sign in with your Microsoft account, a free one will do. You will then see the photos that were uploaded from the Android phone using Finder – the OneDrive folder is usually in your home folder and it syncs automatically, seconds after uploading from your phone.

OneDrive lets you choose whether to store files online or keep them on the Mac’s drive as well. It doesn’t matter for just a handful of photos, but if you had a lot, it is best to Ctrl+click the folder and select Always Keep On This Device.

Import photos into Apple Photos

Now that the phone photos are on the Mac’s drive, they can be imported into the Photos app.

Apple Mac Photos app preferences

First, go to Preferences and on the General tab, select Copy items to the Photos library. After importing photos, you can then delete the photos on OneDrive (optional) to free up space if necessary because there will be a copy of them in the Photos app.

Import photos into the Photos app on the Apple Mac

Go to the File menu in the Photos app on the Mac and select Import.

Mac Photos app import

Then select all the files in the OneDrive folder containing the photos uploaded from the Android phone. Click the Review for Import button at the bottom.

Select the album to import photos into in the Photos app on the Apple Mac

The photos appear in the Photos app as thumbnail images and you can choose which album they will be imported to from the menu at the top.

Import photos into the Photos app on the Apple Mac

Then click the button in the top right corner of the Photos app, Import All New Photos. Your Android phone photos are now in the Mac Photos app.

The Photos app on the Apple Mac

This is not the only way to get photos from an Android phone, but once set up, it is quick and easy to do. There is no cable or transfer software and photos can be in the Mac Photos in a couple of minutes.

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