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How do I transfer photos from PC to a Mac?

Mark Hattersley | June 26, 2013
Transferring images from Windows to Mac OS X.

Transfer Pictures

One of the key questions somebody has when buying a new Mac is "how do I transfer my files from the PC to the Mac. This is especially true of photographs, because images are the key thing that people usually want to take from Windows to Mac OS X.

The good news is that these just about any kind of image, video and audio file can be viewed or played on a Mac as well as a PC. There are very few images that you can't take from a PC to a Mac, and most common image formats (jpeg, png, bmp, and so on) work just fine on either machine.

Photos on a PC are typically stored inside the My Pictures folder. On a Mac they are often kept within the Pictures folder (inside your Home folder). One thing that often complicates matters is that your photos are also stored inside the iPhoto app, this uses its the iPhoto Library file (which is stored within the Pictures folder). But for the main part just think that My Pictures on the PC is the same as Pictures in Mac OS X: you just need to get the files from Point A to Point B.

Transfer photos from PC to Mac using an external hard drive
By far the best, easiest and most practical way of transferring files from a PC to a Mac is to buy an external USB hard drive. The hard drive will need to be formatted to windows (Fat-32) so it can be accessed on both systems, but most hard drives typically come formatted in this style (if not you use Disk Utility to format it to Fat-32 mode).

Follow these steps to transfer your files:

Plug the hard drive into the PCDrag the My Pictures folder from Windows to the hard drive.Disconnect the hard drive from the PC and attach to the MacOpen the hard drive in Finder, locate the My Pictures folderDrag all the files you want from the My Pictures folder on the hard drive to the Pictures folder in Mac OS X.

One key advantage to using an external USB drive (apart from the ease) is that you now have an external hard drive with all your pictures backed up on it. This is a good backup solution for your photographs and given the relative low cost of external USB drives this is probably the best way to go about transferring files.

Note that this also works for an USB flash drive, although because the USB flash drive is likely to have less space than the external hard drive you may have to transfer the files in several passes (and won't be able to use it as a backup).


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