Eye-Fi Folder Action for automatic import to Apple Photos in El Capitan
a.k.a. ‘Eye-Fi duct tape’ script

by Alexander Thomas (aka Dr. Lex)

What is it?

In OS X ‘El Capitan’, iPhoto was replaced by the new Photos app. This broke the automatic import of Eye-Fi SD cards using Eye-Fi Center, because it relies on specific functionality of iPhoto. Eye-Fi didn't bother fixing this at the time of this writing. They did release a replacement for Eye-Fi Center (called Eye-Fi X2 Utility), but it is limited to importing photos and videos to a folder. Luckily there is a workaround to re-enable automatic import into Photos.

This is an AppleScript that can be configured as a Folder Action. When it notices a change in the Eye-Fi import folder, it will run and feed the photos to the Photos app. This comes as close to the direct import as it can get.

Credits go to natcl for making the initial script that served as inspiration. I could not get that script to work: the Folder Action does not trigger when Eye-Fi adds image files directly to the watched folder, and when using subfolders, the script doesn't work. So, I made an improved variation. As added advantage, the new script imports all photos in one operation, so they are all grouped together in the last import view.

Download and installation

First of all, you should have a good idea of how many seconds it can take at most to transfer a single photo from the Eye-Fi card to your Mac. The reason for this is that the script needs to wait until all photos have been transferred before it can start importing. It uses a polling loop, and the polling interval must be larger than the longest time it can take to import a photo, otherwise the import may be incomplete. The default is five seconds, but for high-resolution or RAW photos this may not suffice. The larger you choose this value, the longer it will take for the import to start, but too small a value has a risk of photos being skipped and never imported.

ConfigurationDownload (Zip archive, 8.1kB)

Unzip the script. Unless you believe the default polling delay of five seconds to be good enough, open the script file in Script Editor. Adjust folderPollDelay and any other settings if desired. Next, use the ‘Go to Folder’ menu in Finder to go to ‘~/Library/Workflows/Applications/Folder Actions/’. Put the script in that folder. (The Library folder is hidden, so you cannot find it by just browsing.)

Next, configure your Eye-Fi card in Eye-Fi Center or Utility to upload photos (and movies if you want) to a certain folder. You must also configure it to create subfolders (the date format doesn't matter, in the new Utility this option is called “Organize media folder contents”). In the Finder, create this folder if it doesn't exist yet, and right-click (or ctrl-click) it. Choose ServicesFolder Actions Setup…, and select ‘Eye-Fi duct tape.scpt’.

Now you can connect to your Eye-Fi card as usual, to have it import the photos to the designated intermediate folder. When it has finished, the script will activate after the polling delay. It imports the images to the Photos app. When finished, all folders inside the Eye-Fi folder are moved to the trash, unless they contain something the script doesn't recognise.

Of course, this folder action can also be used to automatically import photos in any other situation where images are added as subfolders of a certain folder.


I provide this script without any warranties. Using it is entirely at your own risk.