How to Connect an iPhone to a Mac With or Without a Cable – Digital Trends

How to Connect an iPhone to a Mac With or Without a Cable – Digital Trends

When you connect your iPhone to your Mac computer, you will be able to access several features and settings. Whether you want to download or offload media from your Mac to your iOS device, or want to download a firmware update for your iPhone, you’ll be able to do so by connecting your smartphone to your Mac with a Lightning connector. or a USB-C cable. You can also connect your iPhone to your Mac wirelessly, and our guide will provide you with detailed instructions on both wired and wireless connection methods.

Here’s a guide on how to connect your device to a Mac, with or without a USB-C or Lightning cable connected.

Felix Mittermeier / Pixabay

Connect an iPhone to Mac using a cable

To sync content, delete data and settings, or update your iPhone, you can use a cable to connect it to your Mac. You’ll simply use your iPhone’s charging cable to make the connection. However, depending on the model of device you have, you may need an adapter.

If your iPhone uses a Lightning to USB cable and your Mac has a USB port, you can just plug it in directly. But if your Mac only has a USB-C port, say a 2021 MacBook Pro, you’ll need an adapter. On the other hand, if your iPhone uses a USB-C to Lightning cable and your computer only has a USB port, such as with the MacBook Air M1, 2020, it is recommended to use a Lightning to USB cable to establish the connection. connection.

The bottom line is that unless you have an iPhone cable and Mac port with matching connectors, you’ll need to get an adapter (or the appropriate cable) to physically connect it.

If you can make this connection, whether with an adapter or not, you can use Finder on macOS Catalina or later to work with your data as well as update your iPhone. You will find these steps below.

If you’re using an older version of macOS, before Catalina, you’ll use iTunes to perform these actions.

Step 1: Plug your phone into your computer and open Searcher.

2nd step: In the sidebar, select your iPhone in the Locations section.

Step 3: You may be asked to Trust the device or update your iPhone to the latest iOS version if you haven’t already. Simply follow the prompts for these actions.

Step 4: Next, use the various tabs at the top, directly under your iPhone details, to work with the content you need in Finder.

screenshot / Digital Trends

Step 5: Plugging in your iPhone every time you want to sync data can be exhausting. That’s why Apple added a method to switch to Wi-Fi syncing after your first big setup.

In Finder, make sure your iPhone is still selected and you are in the General section. Below Possibilitiesselect Show this iPhone on Wi-Fi. Choose Apply. You can now visit the sync menu in Finder without needing a cable connection.

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Step 6: When you’re done and want to disconnect your iPhone, click the button Eject icon to the right of it in the Finder sidebar. You can then safely unplug the cable from your iPhone and Mac.

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Connect an iPhone to Mac via Bluetooth

To establish a wireless connection between your iPhone and Mac and take advantage of features like Handoff, AirPlay, AirDrop, Continuity Camera, Instant Hotspot, and Universal Clipboard, make sure the following items are in place.

Step 1: Make sure your iPhone and Mac are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

2nd step: Connect your iPhone to your Mac via Bluetooth. If you’ve never paired the devices before, select the Bluetooth symbol in the top right menu of macOS and select Bluetooth Preferences. Keep your iPhone nearby and on, and wait for your macOS to detect it so you can pair the devices by choosing Connect. Enter any necessary authentication.

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Step 3: On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > AirPlay and transfer. Make sure forwarding is enabled. Now, with any app that works with Handoff, you may see a Handoff icon in your Mac’s dock that you can use to switch to your iPhone.

screenshot / Digital Trends

Step 4: If you want to use AirDrop, you don’t have to worry about a Bluetooth connection, just make sure your devices are on the same Wi-Fi network. Then choose the Share option on a device like your iPhone, and you should see all the available options appear. AirDrop will have its radar icon next to compatible devices.

Step 5: To use the Continuity Camera features, open a compatible application and Ctrl-click where you want to place content. This will open an insert menu: select the option that says Import from iPhone or iPad.

You will now see several options available depending on the connected devices. To take a picture will open your iPhone’s camera so you can take a photo that will then be inserted onto your Mac. Scan documents will do something very similar but save it as a PDF.

screenshot / Digital Trends

What about using Sidecar with my iPhone?

Sidecar is only designed for iPads and, at this time, cannot be used with iPhones. Sidecar is supposed to provide a second screen for your Mac work, and iPhones aren’t big enough to be of much use here. Likewise, Universal Control is designed to work with iPads or MacBooks.

What is the Trust This Computer alert?

The very first time you connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to a Mac, you should see an alert asking if you trust the computer you’re connecting to. Granting permission will allow your Mac to access iPhone photos, videos, contacts, and other media. If you’re using an iPhone running iOS 16 or later, this message will also appear every time you back up your device.

Apple lets you manage your iPhone’s trusted devices. To do this, simply run Settingsthen touch General > Reset> Reset location and privacy. The next time you connect your iPhone to a once-trusted Mac, you’ll be asked to trust the computer again.

What to do if your Mac doesn’t recognize your iPhone?

If your Mac doesn’t recognize your connected iPhone, there are several ways you can fix the problem. To begin with, you need to make sure that you don’t find the registered device anywhere in the sidebar of the Finder app. For older versions of macOS, check the iTunes app instead.

Next, confirm that your Mac and iPhone are running the latest firmware versions. Newer Macs should run macOS 14.4.1 Sonoma, while iPhone XR/XS and later should run iOS 17.4.1.

If both devices are up to date, you may want to try restarting your Mac and iPhone.

Whether you need to connect a physical cable to work with data in Finder or want to connect wirelessly to use continuity features, it’s easy to connect your iPhone to your Mac. If you’re considering getting a new iPhone, also take a look at our comparison of these two popular iPhone 15 models.

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