Firing up iPhoto just to pull a few pictures off your iPhone is too much trouble. So is emailing a voice recording to yourself. Videos? Well, they’re big enough, you’ll likely have to sync with iPhoto to get them.
There’s a whole market of tools to help people get files off their iOS devices, and Macroplant — the people behind iExplorer — have just made a free Finder for your iPhone: iBrowse. It’s a simple app that lets you get pictures, videos, recordings, and books off any iPhone or iPad just as easily as you could copy a file off a flash drive.
If you’ve ever connected your iOS device to a PC, you’ll know that it shows up in Windows Explorer just like a digital camera, with a DCIM folder of your photos and videos. iBrowse brings essentially the same thing to the Mac, albeit in its own Finder-lookalike app. It’s is simple enough to use, if you’re not scared to wade through some slightly cryptic folders. Just connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac, and run iBrowse. You’ll be able to see every folder that’s visible to your Mac in a non-jailbroken iOS device, including your Photos and videos in the DCIM folder, audio recordings in the Recordings folder, and ePub books from iBooks in the Books folder.
Most of the other folders will include plist and other system files that you can do precious little with, but this tool will at least give you an easy way to grab your pictures, videos, and recordings. There’s no drag-and-drop, but you can select the files you want to save, right-click, then choose where you want to save them on your Mac. That’s far simpler than importing everything into iPhoto first. Then, oddly enough, you can add files from your Mac to your iOS device, though they likely won’t be viewable on the iOS device. You could use that as a way to turn your iPhone into a USB flash drive to ferry files from home to office, but we wouldn’t really recommend that.
Or, there’s another option. If you want want to pull a picture or 3 off your iPhone without iPhoto but also without installing anything else on your Mac, there’s a built-in tool on your Mac that’ll do it as well: Image Capture. It looks incredibly dated, but it still works just fine. As a side note, you can also use it to pull scans from your printer, remotely even if you’ve got a wireless printer. Easy to forget about handy little OS X utilities like this that stay hidden most of the time.
So there you go: two apps to help you get files of your iOS device with ease for free. Enjoy!