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How to stop iTunes and Photos from launching when you plug in an iPhone

These two simple fixes take less than a minute.


Mike Wehner


Posted on Jul 5, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 12:22 pm CDT

Apple‘s gadgets are always built to work hand in hand, but if you’re an iPhone owner who also uses a Mac, you might find that the two devices talk to each other too much. Plugging your iPhone into your computer starts a whole avalanche of cross-device functionality, and it can be seriously annoying when all you want to do is charge your phone. Here’s two simple tweaks that will make your experience a lot less noisy. 


To prevent Photos from automatically launching, you’ll need to get past the app’s welcome screen. Click “Get Started” and move past the configuration screen so that you arrive at the main Photos gallery display. 

Mike Wehner

At the top of the window you’ll see your device’s name and an icon, letting you know that the phone is plugged in. Right next to it, hiding in plain sight, is a check box that says “Open Photos for this device.” Uncheck this box and then quit out of Photos. That’s it, you’re done! 


The toggle for the iTunes auto-launch is a little harder to find but still very easy to tweak. First, open iTunes and click the “iTunes” drop-down from the main menu bar. Now click “Preferences.” 

Mike Wehner

Once the Preferences window pops up, click the “Devices” tab.

Mike Wehner

With the Devices tab open, you’ll see a blank check box that says “Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically.” Check this box, and then click “OK” to save and apply the change. Now close iTunes, and you’ll never have to worry about it spontaneously syncing whenever you’re trying to give your iPhone a little bit of juice. 

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*First Published: Jul 5, 2016, 12:59 pm CDT