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Automatically Delete Imported Images From iPhone To A Mac Running OSX using Image Capture’s AutoImporter

I have a specific way I like to configure how my iPhone interacts with the computer I am using such as when I take pictures on my iPhone I like for those pictures to be imported automatically to the computer when the iPhone is plugged in via USB and after the images are imported I want them to be deleted from the iPhone until I organize them to be synced back to the iPhone at a later time. I also don’t want an application to open and stay open on the computer as I prefer that the import process happens in the background without having to close the application used to import the images. This was a bit of a pain to configure on my new Macbook as the application used to accomplish my goal is a bit hidden and doesn’t like to stay running for any amount of time. Use the information below to sync images form your iPhone to your Mac computer running OSX and for the images to be purged from the iPhone once they have been imported.

Sync & Then Delete Pictures From iPhone To OSX Computer:

  1. Launch & Configure Image Capture: First make sure that your iPhone is connected to your computer and then launch Image Capture which will display similar to the below image.

    Image Capture Set To Use AutoImporter

    The settings that need to be configured in Image Capture are in the lower left corner of the Image Capture application window. Click the drop down below Connecting This iPhone Opens and select AutoImporter. Also make sure that there is a check in the box next to Delete After Import as shown in the example image above. Once these steps have been completed you can close Image Capture.

  2. Launch & Configure AutoImporter: Configuring AutoImporter is a bit tricky because after launching the application it closes automatically after a short time. There are a couple ways to launch Image Capture’s AutoImporter including from a Terminal window or from a Finder window.

    Launch Image Captures AutoImporter From CLI On OSX Lion:


    1. /System/Library/Image\ Capture/Support/Application/AutoImporter.app/Contents/MacOS/AutoImporter

    To launch from the CLI open a Terminal window and type in the above command. This will launch AutoImporter which will look similar to the below. You can also launch AutoImporter by browsing to /System/Library/Image Capture/Support/Application as shown in the below example image and clicking on AutoImporter.app.

    AutoImporter.app Location In Finder Window On OSX:

    AutoImporter Location In Finder Window

    So the tricky party is quickly configuring AutoImporter once it is launched. I have noticed sometimes AutoImporter will stay open without issue but other times it will close after about 15 seconds. If you launch the application from a Finder window then it should stay open without issue. Make sure AutoImporter is the active application, click AutoImporter in the top navigation bar, and then select Preferences from the drop down menu to launch the AutoImporter Preferences window as shown below.

    AutoImporter Preferences Window:

    AutoImporter Preferences Configuration Window

    First select the Import Folder which is where sub folders will be created based on what you configure for the For Each Import Create A Sub Folder Named field. In the above example the default is still configured which is simply to create a sub folder called AutoImport and import all pictures from the iPhone into that folder. A more organized way to do this is to clear the “For each import create a sub folder named” ¬†field and then drag the Date field into the blank field. This tells AutoImporter to create a new folder for each day of imported images such as 8-10-11 if images were imported today. Also make sure to select if you want to delete images after they are imported or not by putting a check into the box next to Delete Items From Camera After Successful Import. Once you have completed modifying the settings you can close AutoImporter.

  3. Verify iPhone Image Import: Take a couple pictures on your iPhone and then plug it into the computer running OSX via USB. The AutoImporter window should automatically launch and disappear once all of the images are imported. The pictures should be deleted from the iPhone and then show up in sub folders located in the primary folder specified in step two.

It should now be easier to manage images taken on your iPhone by organizing them on your computer and then by selecting which images you want to sync back to the iPhone.

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