Even More Stuff I Like: Cameras preference pane

One of the things I like about iPhoto is it kicks in automatically when I connect my camera. One of the things I don’t like about iPhoto is it kicks in automatically when I connect my iPhone for synching or charging (iPhoto kicks in because it thinks of the iPhone as a camera, and wants to import its pictures). You might be thinking “Go into iPhoto’s preferences and tell it not to connect automatically, as shown below”–

iPhoto General Preferences
… but if I do that, iPhoto will NEVER launch automatically, and I usually want it to– just not when I connect my iPhone. I do want iPhoto to open when I connect my camera, but I don’t want iPhoto to open when I connect my iPhone. I want it both ways– but how can I do that?

The answer is “You use the Cameras preference pane, available via this link.” And guess what: it’s free.

(Note: if you’re using 10.6 (Snow Leopard) you have something like Cameras built in. It’s in the Image Capture program, inside the Applications folder. You don’t improve things by having two programs trying to control your cameras, so if you’re using 10.6, find the Image Capture program, make your adjustments there, and forget about installing Cameras. If you’re using 10.4 or 10.5, Cameras is the way to go.)

When you install Cameras you get a new item in your System Preferences, in the “Other” section. At first, it’s pretty empty in there, but as you connect cameras to your Mac you’ll get messages like this one:
Cameras preference pane
(The “No Name” camera is the camera card in my Olympus. I want iPhoto to open when I connect that camera.)

I get a similar box when I connect my iPhone the first time, but I make a different choice:
Cameras preference pane 2
I could leave it at that, but there are some other options. If you open the Cameras preference pane in System Preferences you see your list of cameras and the instructions for each one, like so:

Cameras preference pane 3
You can click in the “When Connected” column for more options:

So… if you want some other program to launch when you connect your camera, Cameras can take care of that too. (So can Image Capture.)

I used Cameras until I updated to 10.6, and it worked great. As of 10.6 I’m using Image Capture, and it’s also working great. Thanks to these programs, the days of iPhoto launching itself when my iPhone connects for a sync are over, and while I’m not sure that I’m doing anything productive with the few minutes I’m saving each day it’s nice to think that maybe I am. Give this tip a try and save some time for yourself.


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