Image Capture the best little program you never knew you always had

I hate printers. I know an odd way of starting a blog. But it is very true I hate printers (Why I hate printers in its full flaming hateful glory is a whole different blog post) One of the reasons why I hate printers is the horrible software they try to get you to install on your Mac. Their scanner software always seems to barley work. This is why I NEVER install scanner software on my mac.

I always use Image Capture!

This is a little bit of software that is installed on every mac. It is hidden so you have to look for it. But you will find it in your Utility folder. You can also find it by doing a spotlight search in the upper right-hand corner.

Applications > Utilities > Image Capture

But what does Image Capture do?

Image capture universally captures images. (I know anti-climatic…..wait for it waits for it ) FROM ANY DEVICE THE MAC CAN SEEE. Oh and then import all the image it finds into any folder. (It also works with iPhoto, Photos and Aperture. I honestly have not tried with third-party software)

Lets put this into perspective Do you know a software that works with Android, IOS, Scanners via USB, Scanners over a network, SD Cards and old cameras that nobody has heard of? I do … Image capture.

When I worked at Apple in the iApps T2 department in California (Other Mac support people think…oh you were one of THEM) We would often get people who had a hard time getting their images off a camera. Well, when all the other software would fail. Image Capture always worked. Even in the most difficult cases it ALWAYS worked if image capture would not work then Data recovery was the next step because their device was malfunctioning for some reason (and it was not the Mac)

This is also the software we use when we need to recover photos from an iPhone that is broken. As long as we can unlock the iPhone there is a good chance we can save the images.

How do you use it?

The hardest part is finding the program (As above) but once it opens you will get a slightly different screen depending on what kind of device you are working with. (This sometimes confuses people who are unfamiliar with the software)


Scanning is sooooo easy with this software. Basically when the software launches it checks to see if there are any scanners on the network or connected via USB (Who uses the buttons on the physical scanner anyway?…more on that on why I hate printers)

Diagram on how to use Image Capture Software
How to use Image Capture

Most of the time you don’t even need to tell the software that you have a scanner. They seem to want to talk to each other and just works (I have seen a few times where we had to get drivers but that is very easy)

Overview of Overview

From here you will select overview where you get to see a preview of what is going to be scanned. The settings are mostly self explanatory. Though sometimes you may want to turn off Auto Selection (Used for if you want to scan more than one item at a time (YES YOU CAN DO THAT )

Once you get the settings that you want you will want to choose a location of where you want to save the documents.

WARNING: The software remembers what and where you saved the last file. This is not bad but sometimes it can make scans hard to find. (See the two green lines in the image above). I had to block out the file names of the screenshot because the names had private info in them. (Not a security concern unless you are writing a blog about how to use image capture after applying for Australian citizenship and posting it on the web)

Make sure you change the name of the file you want to save otherwise it will just name it what ever your called the last file but with a number after it. Example Report (1). pdf. This is not much of a problem till you have about 20 files name “Report”

Test it!

I always recommend running a test scan the first time you scan anything to make sure you have the quality settings correct. Also if you take a look one of the options is to send a document to Mail … Try that out it will save you a few steps.

Working with Photos

Like I said Image Capture works really well with photos. Even when we would get an angry customer who always blamed iPhoto for not working with their camera Image Capture always worked.

The Process is basically the same regardless if it is iPhone, Android or an SD Card. You will notice that the second you connect your phone it will show up under devices. (Android you will need to download software to get the Mac to talk to it in the first place but after that, it is the same process to import photos onto your Mac)

Image Capture Showing iPhone

Once you select the iPhone you should get a layout like this. Though it can be a little bit different. (Yes I am a digital artist. This is some of my work)

Image Capture photo import layout.

The most important setting you need to worry about is where you want to import the images. You can choose what images you want to import. You can even tell it to only import images that have not been imported before.

Warning! Once you start this process it will dump all the images it was set to import directly where you told it do go. This can make a mess if you are not using software like Photos or iPhoto. I recommend creating a new folder and importing to that folder every time you use this software somewhere in your Pictures folder. (Easier to keep track and less mess)

Image Capture FAQ

How much does Image Capture cost?

If you have a Mac you already own it. It is included in every version of OSX that I can remember.

Does Image Capture work with Android?

Yes, it does. However, you do need to be able to access the phone’s folders using software called. Android File Transfer

I have an old SD card will Image Capture download the images?

Yes it can.. It does depend on the condition of the SD card so if you dropped it in a puddle outside you never know.

What is the easiest way to find the Image Capture App

Open up Spotlight and search for “Image” and it will pop up. In this image, I am searching for something else but you get the idea. Once you have Launched the app you can tell it to stay on your dock

Can I tell Image Capture to work with my old HP Scanner?

If your Scanner is on the network or has USB there is a good chance that image capture will be able to work with it without needing to download any software.

Try out Image Capture I think you will like it.

In closing Image Capture is one of the best bits of software I have ever seen and for some reason, nobody knows about it. If you would like help with your Mac in the Lithgow or Katoomba area Give us a call and we will talk about our in-home training and support.

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