How to wirelessly move photos and video from iPhone to Mac

Moving photos from your iPhone (s aapl) to your Mac can actually involve quite a few steps, as Mark illustrated in his recent iOS 101 article. But you can also set up wireless, automatic background syncing to a destination on your Mac of your choice, with a $2 app and some quick initial setup.

After only a few days use, Syncomatic has already become one of my most-used apps, since it lets me keep my iPhone’s camera roll clear and uncluttered, while also making sure I don’t lose a worthwhile clip or snapshot in the process. It works by monitoring your iPhone’s on-device photo and video library, and automatically grabbing new photos and videos when you’re near your Mac, putting them in either a folder of your choosing, or your iPhoto or Aperture library. Photo Stream in iOS 5 will do something similar, but Syncomatic is available now, is only limited by the size of your hard drive, and also offers multiple destination syncing options instead of just one. Here’s how to get it up and running yourself:

  1. Install the Syncomatic iOS app to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.
  2. Download and install the Syncomatic Mac companion client (direct link to download file).
  3. Click on the Syncomatic icon in the Menu bar on your Mac and go to “Preferences.”
  4. Choose whether you want Syncomatic to launch automatically, and pick a destination for your synced iPhone photos and videos. You can choose a folder, sync to either iPhoto or Aperture, or choose a combination of all three.
  5. In the iOS app on your iPhone (or other iOS device), click the gear icon in the top right corner to enter the Settings menu.
  6. Choose your destination Mac from the “Mac to Sync With” menu. If you have the Mac client installed correctly and are on the same Wi-Fi network, it should automatically appear.
  7. Your Mac will display a four digit PIN. Enter that PIN into the iOS app when prompted.
  8. Turn Sync on.

Now, whenever you’re within range of your Mac and connected to the same local Wi-Fi network, photos and videos will automatically be transferred to your Mac from your device. Syncomatic will also display a badge number with a count of how many photos or videos remain to be synced since it last connected, so that you know when everything’s been moved over to your Mac.

If you’re looking for a similar option, but would rather save the $2, PhotoSync offers similar functionality, albeit without automatic background syncing. For me, the set-it-and-forget-it aspect of Syncomatic justifies the extra expense.

My iPhone camera roll has always been a mess, but thanks to Syncomatic, I have little excuse not to get in there and clean it up once in a while. This is a must-have for mobile photo geeks, especially until iOS 5 arrives this fall, and likely beyond because of its customization options.