Technology iPhone Mobile

Apple Photos App Prompts “Please unlock iPhone” Even Though Phone is Unlocked Already

TL;DR: Check your iPhone’s backup settings in the Apple device backup settings and switch them to back up to your computer instead of iCloud.

Today I was trying to import my photos into the Apple Photos app on my iMac only to be stuck in a loop where it asked me to, “Please Unlock iPhone”. After checking my home screen several times, I verified that my iPhone was unlocked already!

Things I tried to fix Apple Photos from prompting the false “please unlock iPhone” message with no avail

  • Lock, then unlock iPhone
  • Disconnect phone from my iMac completely
  • Reconnect to Apple Photos

Solution to fix Apple Photos False Unlock Message

Open iPhone backup settings by clicking on the device in your finder window or by opening the Music App (formerly iTunes App)

interface to fix please unlock iphone issue
Apple photos app prompts "please unlock iphone" even though phone is unlocked already 4

What I found is that the backups were set to: “Back up your most important data on your iPhone to iCloud, even though I wasn’t backing up in that manner. So, I simply changed the backup method to backup on my computer only.

back up all of the data on your iphone to this mac
Apple photos app prompts "please unlock iphone" even though phone is unlocked already 5

After I did this I was able to see my phone in Apple Photos and import my new pictures!

14 replies on “Apple Photos App Prompts “Please unlock iPhone” Even Though Phone is Unlocked Already”

And what if you can’t even get Finder to recognize your iPhone? That’s where I’m stuck. I plug it into my computer and it just keeps telling me to unlock my iPhone. I’ve reauthorized the computer, told the phone to trust the computer, done a reset on the phone, run disk utilities, tried different USB ports and different cords. NOTHING works…and I have been able to get the computer to recognize it in the past.

Thank you!
I had Photos open and the false Unlock iPhone message, all I had to do was click on my phone in a finder window and all the photos suddenly appeared in Photos.
Unbelievably frustrating that this needs to be done but thank you for figuring it out

actually this most often caused by lag due to a lan extremely large photo library….. this is poor user design on apple’s part to continue to display the unlock message until all photo thumbnails are loaded in photos

greetings, I am having MacOs 10.15.5, same problem with me; already in the finder its already ticked and this doesn’t work in the photo. its ask to unlock and suddenly shows all the pictures from the device. but cannot export to photo app. this may be a trust issue, the iPhone doesn’t prompt to accept the trust. I have updated all the devices. please help me to find a solution for this.. thank you.

My phone was already set to back up to my computer. I changed it then changed it back, still nothing. I’m at a loss. I need to download iphone photos to my computer so I can clear out my phone!

I get this message every time however all I have to do is wait a long time. Maybe 5 to 8 minutes for the photos to show up. I have a lot of photos on the phone. It always says “unlock iPhone…..” but I just wait and it works fine.

That worked for me too – took about 15 minutes but now it works… Pretty lame user interface!!! Very glad I saw this post!

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