How to import media in OS X Mavericks - dummies

How to import media in OS X Mavericks

By Bob LeVitus

Let’s focus on media importing applications that are a part of OS X Mavericks. Technically, that doesn’t include the iLife applications. What this mean is that when you bought your OS X Mavericks upgrade from the Mac App Store, it didn’t include iLife applications, such as iMovie and iPhoto.

Your Mac almost certainly came with the iLife suite preinstalled, but depending upon how old your Mac is, you might not have the current versions, and the various versions all work slightly differently. See the nearby sidebar “Living the iLife” for more details about iLife.

How to download photos from a camera in OS X Mavericks

This is the Mac, so of course, getting pictures from your digital camera onto your hard drive is a pretty simple task. Here’s how to do it step by step using Image Capture:


  1. Turn on the camera, and set it to review or playback mode.

    This step may not be necessary for some cameras. It was for your old Olympus, but isn’t for your Nikon Coolpix P1.

  2. Connect the camera to your Mac with its USB cable.

    At this point, Image Capture may launch automatically, or if you have iPhoto, it may launch instead.

    If you have both programs on your hard drive and the wrong one opens when you connect your camera, you can change that behavior in Image Capture’s Device Settings pane. Launch Image Capture (it’s in your Applications folder) if it didn’t launch when you connected your camera.

    Now choose the application you prefer for photo management from the Connecting This Camera Opens pop-up menu. (It says Image Capture; other options could include iPhoto, Aperture, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Adobe Bridge, or whatever photo-management app you happen to have installed on your hard disk.)


  3. From the Image Capture window, you can either click Import All to download all the photos in your camera or click Import to import only the selected photos.

    • To choose contiguous photos, click the first photo you want to download, press Shift, and then click the last photo you want to download.

    • To choose noncontiguous photos, press Command and click each photo you want to download. Either way, an orange highlight shows you which photos are going to be downloaded when you click the Download button.

How to download DV video from a camcorder in OS X Mavericks

Getting video from a DV camcorder to your hard drive is almost as easy as importing photos from your digital camera.

iMovie works well for downloading video from miniDV and HD camcorders that include output via FireWire or USB 2.

If you do plan to use iMovie, don’t forget about the built-in Help system (Command+Shift+?). Here, you find extensive assistance which is the main Help page for iMovie.


Never insert a mini-DVD into a slot-loading optical drive like the ones in all Macs (except the Mac Pro) shipped before 2013. If your camcorder records on mini-DVDs, you’ll need to spring for a tray-loading optical drive.

So, if you don’t have the latest version of iLife on your hard drive, take a look at the features and programs it includes and consider whether you’d benefit from all the new goodies you don’t currently have.