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Question: Live is not working in Photos on the Mac

Live in pictures taking with my iPhone 7 is not working in Photos on the Mac. This since one of the recent updates. Before it was functioning without any problem.

Mac OS X (10.6.4)

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Dec 16, 2017 12:46 AM in response to KL18 In response to KL18

This since one of the recent updates.

If your iPhone 7 is has been upgraded to iOS 11 or newer, your Mac should be running macOS 10.13 High Sierra or newer, or you need to take care, that the iPhone is not exporting images or videos or Live Photos in the new space-saving formats HEVC or HEIF. See this link on how to set an iOS 11 iPhone to be compatible with a Mac, that is not running High Sierra: Using HEIF or HEVC media on Apple devices - Apple Support

Only High Sierra supports the new codecs on a Mac.


Where is your Photos Library stored? Is it on an external drive?

Dec 16, 2017 12:46 AM

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Dec 17, 2017 6:58 AM in response to léonie In response to léonie

I have the newest update of iOS (10.13.2). I am importing the pictures taken on the iPhone 7 (latest iOS) by cloud and/or cable to my Mac. As I am doing for years. Photos Library is on my harddisk.

Pictures with Live on on my iPhone 7 plus automatically imported to Photos via iCloud and/or cable are not showing the Live symbol in the left upper corner...

Dec 17, 2017 6:58 AM

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Dec 17, 2017 7:00 AM in response to LarryHN In response to LarryHN

I have the newest update of iOS (10.13.2). I am importing the pictures taken on the iPhone 7 (latest iOS) by cloud and/or cable to my Mac. As I am doing for years. Photos Library is on my harddisk.

Pictures with Live on on my iPhone 7 plus automatically imported to Photos via iCloud and/or cable are not showing the Live symbol in the left upper corner...

Dec 17, 2017 7:00 AM

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Dec 17, 2017 7:18 AM in response to KL18 In response to KL18

iPhone 7 (latest iOS) by cloud and/or cable to my Mac.

How are you importing from iCloud? Are you using My Photo Stream or iCloud Photo Library?

If My Photo stream is on, it will mess up the Live Photos you are trying to import using a cable connection, because My Photo Stream will not transfer the video component. And you cannot add this component by importing using a cable, if the photo without video has already been imported. If you are using iCloud Photo Library to import the photos, disable My Photo Stream.

And if iCloud Photo Library is enabled with the option "Optimize Storage", you may need to wait for the video component to download from iCloud for the photo to become live.

Dec 17, 2017 7:18 AM

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Dec 29, 2017 2:50 AM in response to KL18 In response to KL18

I'm having the same issues. About one month ago all the live photos were working, and now, nothing. I used to be able to import the live photos via cable from iPhone to iMac, now they're not even showing up when I ask to import from the iPhone. However, the bounces are still working! All of my software is up to date, and I have an iPhone 8+. It's very mysterious, and also a hassle.

Dec 29, 2017 2:50 AM

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Jan 7, 2018 5:50 PM in response to ReneeEve In response to ReneeEve

I have found two ways to make the import of live photos to "Photos" on a Mac via USB from iPhone.


Before everything, the change discussed in this thread has to to with new industry-standard media formats, HEIF, and HEVC (see this: Using HEIF or HEVC media on Apple devices - Apple Support).

As said in the webpage above:

"When you import HEIF or HEVC media from an attached iOS device to Photos, Image Capture, or a PC, the media might be converted to JPEG or H.264.

You can change this import behavior in iOS 11. Go to Settings > Photos. In the "Transfer to Mac or PC" section, tap Keep Originals to prevent the media from being converted when importing."

step (a). With this setting in the iPhone changed to "Keep originals" and both "my photo stream" and iCloud Photo library disabled…

(1) I used Photos to import pictures from the iPhone via USB. The live photos are recognized without a problem as before. Already imported stills from live photos are not recognized, just new live photos after changing the settings from step (a). Don't get upset and proceed to step (2).

(2) I used Image Capture to import pictures from the iPhone via USB to a folder in my Mac. From a live photo, two file formats were imported to my Mac, a HEIC & MOV. Dragging these two files to Photos generated a single entry recognized as a Live picture, which can be modified in Photos without a problem (selecting key picture, live, loop, bounce, long exposure, etc).

As noted before, already imported stills from live photos are not recognized even after changing the settings in the iPhone from step (a). With Image Capture it was possible, since I have stills in Photos and that were successfully imported as live photos as described in step (2). I will import all my pictures so far as described in step (2) (due to all the previously imported stills) and any future pictures as described in step (1) since I have observed that worked just fine for importing Live photos like before.

Hope this helps.


Jan 7, 2018 5:50 PM

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Question: Live is not working in Photos on the Mac