Stop iPhoto launching when connecting a device containing images

iPhoto has an annoying habit of launching whenever you connect a storage device that contains images – whether it’s your digital camera, a memory card, or a CD-ROM. There is a way to stop it, though, and bizarrely the setting is not in iPhoto or in System Preferences. No, in true Windows-style, it’s hidden away in a place you’d never think to look: Image Capture.

To change this setting and stop iPhoto launching:

  1. Run the Image Capture app (Applications > Image Capture). Don’t worry if you get a window saying “No Image Capture device connected”.
  2. Bring up Image Capture’s Preferences (choose the Image Capture > Preferences menu option).
  3. In the General tab, change the setting for “When a camera is connected, open”. The default is iPhoto; you can change it to “No application” to stop iPhoto launching. Or you can pick a different app to launch instead.
  4. Click OK, quit Image Capture, and you’re done. No more grief with iPhoto launching all the time!
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16 Responses to “Stop iPhoto launching when connecting a device containing images”

  1. Joble Says:

    Cheers mate, that really was the pettiest annoyance I was the most disproportionately relieved to have solved this year!

    Many kudos also for Nocturne. I haven’t been able to read a computer screen easily since 1994 when I owned a green-screen only Amstrad, that app makes things a lot easier!

    You do good work sir, long may it continue!

  2. Matt Says:

    Great stuff – I’m glad you found that tip (and Nocturne) useful! It’s so nice to fix something that’s been bugging you for months isn’t it?

  3. Dan Says:

    What a “cute” place to hide that setting! I’m so glad I’ve deactivated it: I’m as diproportionately relieved as Joble. Thanks

  4. Adam Says:

    Yeah, that problem was annoying and the fix was obscure, here is a video of your fix for anyone who learns by seeing 🙂

    Thanks for the tip.

  5. Steve Green Says:

    Fantastic! This was causing me huge headaches every time I connected my iPhone. No more!

  6. zacharoo Says:

    Thank goodness! Thank you for posting this up.

  7. golfbird Says:

    Thank you Thank you Thank you.

    My iPhone was constantly reconnecting and relaunching iPhoto–it was driving me crazy. At least now I don’t have to quit iPhoto every time.


  8. Lozz Says:

    CHEERS! I was about to smash my computer right in the screen.

  9. PeregrineChris Says:

    Hmmm so the only way to stop iphoto from auto launching is to go through Image Capture? What happens when Image Capture preferences won’t open?

  10. Paul Says:

    many, many, thanks for figuring that out and passing it on!

  11. Matt Says:

    You’re welcome, Paul – glad it helped. 🙂

  12. Andrew Says:

    Great tip! I needed that.. my usb flash drive kept opening iphoto and it was driving me nuts!

  13. Dawson Says:

    Thank you, was driving me mad!

  14. Adamy Says:

    Thanks a lot.. what a F’ng annoying hidden default setting. “in true windows style” it’s Apple style..

  15. Gus Says:

    bloody excellent tip!

  16. Matt Says:

    You’re welcome folks 🙂