This Simple Gesture Is the Fastest Way to Share Photos between iPhone, iPad & Mac (2022)

Learn to use a three-finger hand gesture to quickly and easily share photos between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Have you ever wished you could quickly insert a photo someone messaged to you on your iPhone into an email on your iPad without having to wait for it to sync via iCloud after saving it to your Photos app? Did you know that there is a quick and easy hand gesture that lets you share photos between your devices?  Better yet, it's the fastest way to share a photo between two Apple devices. All you need is three fingers. We will show you how a three-finger hand gesture can help you transfer a photo from one Apple device to another one. 

Related Article: How to Organize, Share & Store iPhone Photos (Updated for iOS 15)

Using the 3-Finger Gesture on iPhone or iPad

With the three-finger gesture, you use your thumb, index finger, and middle finger to pinch inwardly to copy a photo and to pinch outwardly to paste it to another device. Before doing these steps, be sure to enable Handoff since this method relies on using the Universal Clipboard. Also, make sure your devices have a Wi-Fi connection and Bluetooth is turned on. Here's how to share a photo from an iPad to an iPhone or vice versa.

  1. Open Photos app or any app that has the photo you want to share.

  2. Choose a photo you want to send.

  3. Perform a three-finger pinch gesture on the photo.

  4. Switch to the device you want to transfer the photo to.

  5. Pinch outward with three fingers into a text field or other app where you can paste photos.

  6. The photo will be pasted into the text field.

How to Quickly Share Photos from a Mac

If you're trying to share a photo from a Mac to an iPhone or iPad, you will not be able to do the three-fingered gesture on the Mac. Instead, you will have to use a keyboard shortcut. Some of these screenshots have been zoomed in for viewing.

First you will need to make sure Handoff is enabled on your Mac: 

  1. Click the Apple menu.

  2. Open System Preferences.

  3. Click General.

  4. Click Allow Handoff.

Now you're ready to copy and paste photos from your Mac:

  1. Open Photos app or any app that has the photo you want to share.
  2. Choose a photo you want to send.

  3. Use the Command+C keyboard shortcut.
  4. Switch to the device you want to transfer the photo to.

  5. Pinch outward with three fingers into a text field.
  6. The photo will be pasted into the text field.

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Kenya Smith's picture

Author Details

Kenya Smith

Kenya Smith is a Feature Web Writer for iPhone Life. She has a bachelor's degree in Strategic Communication and has written articles for two newspapers in her home state of Virginia. She also won first place in non-daily column writing for the 2019 and 2020 Virginia Press Association Awards.