How to Stop iPhoto from Starting When You Plug in an iPhone, iPad or Memory Card

After switching to OS X, there was one big annoyance that kept happening over and over — every time I plug anything into my MacBook and it happens to have a DCIM folder on the file system, iPhoto will immediately launch and start scanning.

The problem is that I don’t want to use iPhoto all the time — I mean sure, I can use it to import my photos, but what if I’m trying to do something else like hack my Minecraft Pocket save files, or I’ve got other content on a removable drive? Or what if I just want to charge my iPhone or iPad?

Luckily it’s really easy to stop iPhoto from launching automatically.

Disabling iPhoto from Launching Automatically

Just open up iPhoto and go to Preferences from the menu bar, and take a look at the “Connecting camera opens” drop-down.

Change it from iPhoto to “no application” and iPhoto will stay quiet from now on.

It’s so annoying that iPhoto doesn’t pull your videos off your phone too. But, of course, that’s another article.

How to Disable iPhoto Auto Launch for Just One Device

If you want to have iPhoto start automatically for your camera’s memory card but not when you plug in your iPhone, you can actually tweak the settings per device. Just open up the Image Capture application:

Down in the lower left-hand corner you’ll see a little arrow, which you might have to click to expand. You can change the setting here between No application, iPhoto, Preview, or whatever you’d like.

So set your iPhone to “no application” and leave the memory card set to default, or the other way around if you prefer it. Personally, I just turned off the automatic start entirely across the board, which seemed simpler.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.