I saw a colleague send an email message from Apple Mail and in the middle of the message he picked up his iPhone to automatically add a new photo to the message. On his Mac! How did he do that little bit of magic??
Mac users are probably familiar with AirDrop, though I suspect too few of them are actually utilizing this slick connectivity tool. It’s a bit confusing to figure out at first, but if you have multiple devices and they all have Bluetooth enabled, you’re just a tap or two away from a fast, super simple file transfer utility. More importantly, though, AirDrop is actually woven into quite a number of Mac applications, making it super easy to do things like compose an email on your iMac, say, and add a photo that you actually take at that moment with your iPhone!
I’ve written about how to use this trick in Messages [see: Insert iPhone Photo Into Messages on Mac] and I’ve also written a couple of times about how AirDrop works [see: Get Started with Apple AirDrop] but let’s have a closer look at how this all works with Apple Mail.
Some people might be wondering now why you don’t just compose your email directly on the phone, so it’s easy to take a photo directly. Fair question. Turns out a lot of people don’t like tap-tap-tapping on their screen to compose a few sentences, a paragraph, even a few pages of content. Having your Mac and iPhone paired in that situation makes things quite a bit easier, as you’ll see.
Your first step is to ensure both devices have Bluetooth turned on. With the Mac, go to Apple > System Preferences > Bluetooth. On the phone it’s probably already enabled, but you can also turn it on from the shortcuts pane: Just swipe in from the top right corner of your screen and tap on the Bluetooth logo.
INSERT IPHONE PHOTO INTO MAC EMAIL MESSAGE
To simulate, here I am poised to send an email to my daughter, sharing a photo of what it looks like in my local Starbucks. This should look pretty familiar to every Mac user:
I’m ready to take that photo with my iPhone! There are a couple of ways to proceed from this point, one of which is to Control-Click anywhere in the actual message pane where you’re typing in the email, but you can also accomplish the same by clicking on the familiar photos icon on the top right corner:
My iPhone is called “iDave 12 Pro”; if you don’t see anything in this section, double-check Bluetooth and make sure the two devices are signed in to the same iCloud account.
I’ll choose “Take Photo” and instantly my iPhone switches to camera mode, ready to take a photograph:
Most of the Camera functionality is available. I’ll zoom in just a bit, then tap on the white button to take the photo.
It’s then shown to confirm it worked and is the one I want to send to the Mac:
Looks good. I’ll tap on “Use Photo” and in less time than it takes for me to shift my eyes from my iPhone to my Mac screen, the photo shows up in the email message:
It really doesn’t get easier than that, does it? While we’re here, though, a few extra tips…
HOW TO RESIZE A PHOTO IN APPLE MAIL
Many email programs like Gmail let you click and drag a corner of a photo to resize it, but Apple doesn’t offer that capability in Apple Mail. Instead, you need to click on the Image Size menu on the top right of the message composition window. There are a number of size options:
There are four possible sizes: Small, Medium, Large, and Actual Size. Be careful of Actual Size, particularly if you’re using photos from your iPhone, because they are big. Like, really big. Way bigger than the recipient wants to deal with. I find Medium is usually a good size (should I insert a Goldilocks and the Three Bears joke here?).
Notice above the Image Size option that there’s a Signature menu too: Turns out that you can set up multiple signatures in Apple Mail and choose which one is the best match for your particular email message. Very handy.
Finally, if you’ve ever wondered how to get CC or BCC on your messages, that’s yet another button, but this one’s way more subtle:
Heck, while we’re at it, be aware that the photo isn’t saved to the Camera Roll on the iPhone nor anywhere on your Mac either. Want to save it? Simply Control-Click anywhere on the image and chose “Copy Image”:
This does not save a copy as a file but instead just loads it into your Copy/Paste buffer. If you want to save it as a file, try dragging it onto your Desktop!
That’s it. Hopefully this will help you get the hang of AirDrop as it’s integrated into Apple Mail. It’s pretty darn cool once you get the hang of it…
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about the Mac since the days of Multifinder! Please check out my extensive Mac help library for hundreds of useful tutorials and how-to guides while you’re visiting. Thanks.