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Transfer photos from Nexus 4 Android to Mac

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Apple Aperture

I looked high and low for information on how to import photos from my Google Nexus 4 smartphone onto Lightroom on Mac OS X. I didn’t find anything suggesting it was as easy as it is. These instructions will be applicable for whatever software you use to manage to you photos on your Mac (Adobe Lightroom, Apple iPhoto, Google Picasa, Apple Aperture, etc.). These instructions may also apply to other Android devices with Android 4.x and higher.

On the Nexus 4, go to SETTINGS. Bring up the STORAGE settings. Tap the little three square dots icon in the top right corner. Select “USB computer connection“. This will bring up two connection options.

You can select “Media Device (MTP)” which is the default setting and will NOT allow you to import you photos. The other option is to select “Camera (PTP)“. This mode will allow you to import you photos. In Lightroom, for instance, the device immediately appears as “Nexus” in the photo importer.

Remember, you will need to switch back to MTP mode if you wish to use the various file transfer programs and sync programs such as Android File Transfer.

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17 Comments

  1. Incredible, so easy and so efficient. I thought the problem was with my Mac, not the Nexus. Android File Transfer only allowed me to transfer one pic at a time and the thumbnails were too small to tell which pic it was (maybe there is a way to do an auto download with AFT but I never figured it out). I can now download from Nexus as I did previously with my iPhone, such a simple solution. All to say I deeply appreciate your posting Jonathan!! Many thanks!

  2. While I’ve read your post over a year ago and got my photos off my camera and into Lightroom it doesn’t seem to be working now. Lightroom is showing only 115 photos. Shy a few thousand for sure… Plus they all show a “preview unavailable for this file” in place of the images. It says it’s importing from Nexus 4 / All photos. I’m not sure what folder it’s trying to use but it’s clearly not the right one. Plus it’s not giving me any options to switch even if I wanted to. Have you ever ran into this problem?

    • Hi Eric,
      Unfortunately I don’t have any experience with that issue. And since the battery died on my N4, I am not able to run any tests to see if I can figure this out. Sorry I can’t be of further help. Best of luck with solving it.

      • Hey Jonathan, I was never able to figure out the issue on my MBP but was able to get the files to transfer on my work MBP. No clue why my computer was having this issue, but at least the images are backed up now.

        Thanks!

  3. thank you so much for this. I was battling with Android File Transfer and google’s nexus 4 to mac instructions, neither of which mention the PTP instead of MTP setting. My nexus 4 is dying on me and I needed to get my whole Gallery across fast. Much appreciated.

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