How to Transfer Photos from an iPhone to a Computer

How to Transfer Photos from an iPhone to a Computer

There can be several reasons why you want to transfer photos from your iPhone to a computer: to have copies on your hard drive, to edit the images, or to give a copy to a friend. Transferring photos from an iPhone to a PC used to be a somewhat complicated task as they were much less compatible. However, this scenario has long since changed and when it comes to photo sharing. The problems of the past are no longer present.

This article shows you how to transfer photos from iPhone to computer quickly and easily. We also explain how to do this from a Mac or PC.

Transfer iPhone Photos to PC with iCloud

The easiest way to transfer your photos to a computer is probably to download them from the iCloud service. This process requires you to enable iCloud storage on your iPhone. Once you do that, all the photos will be safely stored there and can be accessed from any computer. You must sign in with your Apple ID.

When transferring to Mac, the process is relatively simple. However, if you are moving to a Windows PC, some preparation is necessary. Follow these steps to access your iCloud Photos:

  1. Make sure your computer is running on the latest version of Windows 10. If not, make the necessary updates.
  2. Download and install iCloud for Windows 10.
  3. Sign in to iCloud with your Apple ID. If you’re not sure how to do that, follow the instructions that came with your iPhone.
  4. Open in iCloud for Windows “Options” next to “Photos” and select iCloud Photos.”
  5. Click Done,” then Apply.

Once you’ve completed everything, you can view and download your iCloud photos using the To download icon (the cloud with a downward pointing arrow). Apart from downloading, you can also edit the images on your computer while on iCloud, and the edited version is available on any device.

Transfer iPhone photos to PC with iTunes

To transfer photos to a PC via USB cable, you must have the latest version of iTunes installed. Once you’ve made sure that iTunes is up to date, connect your iPhone to the PC using your USB lightning cable. Pay attention to your phone as it may need to be unlocked before continuing. if there is one Trust this computer prompt, tap Trust or allow, then your PC can access the iPhone photos.

Note that you cannot transfer iCloud photos if you have not previously downloaded them to your iPhone. This scenario is because the image is not present on the device.

Transfer iPhone photos using Photos app

  1. After connecting your iPhone to the PC, open the “Photos” app. You do this by going to the “Start menu” and select “Photos.”
  2. In the app, go to “Import,” then select “From a USB device”, and follow the instructions.
  3. Then choose the photos you want to transfer to your computer.

If you’re transferring to a Mac, connect iPhone via USB and open the photos app. Just like connecting to a PC, you may need to unlock your iPhone and allow the phone to connect through the “Trust this computer” prompt.

You should see the Import screen in the Photos app, listing all your photos on the iPhone. If you don’t see that, click on your phone’s name in the sidebar on the left. Then you can select the photos you want to transfer or click Import all new photos to copy each photo to your Mac.

Transfer iPhone images to PC without apps

If you don’t have iTunes or iCloud on your PC and want to transfer photos from iPhone without additional installations, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your iPhone to the PC using the USB cable. If you don’t have iTunes, instead of Trust This Computer, you’ll see “Give this device access to photos and videos” on your phone. Tap “Allow.”
  2. Open on your PC “File Explorer” for Windows 10. In the left sidebar, you will see iPhone listed as a new device. Note that the name of the device will be displayed – it will not be listed as ‘iPhone’.
  3. Double click on the phone in the sidebar. You will only see the “DCIM” folder because you can connect to other files and folders on iPhone without iTunes.
  4. In the “DCIM” folder, you will see one or more subfolders depending on how many photos you have on iPhone and whether you use iCloud or not. The default folder for pictures is “100APPLE”, while for additional folders, the number is increased to 101, 102, etc. All your iPhone photos are there.
  5. Once you have found the files you want to transfer, “drag and drop” them to your chosen location on the computer. Plus, you can drag and drop the whole thing “DCIM” folder. Make sure to copy and not move the files as the “Move” option removes them from iPhone.

You can copy the photos to the Pictures folder or a new folder you created beforehand. If you want to transfer the photos and clear your phone’s memory at the same time, moving the files is a better solution than copying.

Transfer iPhone images to PC via Bluetooth

Another option for photo transfer is the use of Bluetooth. Earlier versions of iPhones didn’t support Bluetooth connections to Android or PC, but modern devices don’t have such issues.

Connecting iPhone to your PC via Bluetooth is as easy as connecting two devices.

  1. Enable the connection on your phone and make sure it’s discoverable.
  2. Turn on Bluetooth on your PC and let it discover new devices. Connect to the iPhone, enter the one-time security code and that’s it.
  3. Once the Bluetooth connection is established, transfer the photos in the same way as described for USB connections.

Transfer iPhone photos to PC via email

In the unlikely event that you encounter problems with the iPhone-to-computer connection, there is an alternative solution that always works. Maybe you don’t have a Lightning to USB cable with you, or your computer doesn’t support Bluetooth? Maybe you want to send the same photo to several people at once? You can always use email.

Photos are added to emails just as easily with an iPhone as they are on your desktop. Make sure they are in the correct format and do not exceed the size limit. Add the images to the message, add the recipients and send the email. If you don’t need to transfer a large number of photos, this might be the best way: you don’t even have to be in the same room as the PC, and you can email yourself if you want.

Handling specific file formats

Most of the files you transfer from your iPhone have the usual JPEG, MOV, and PNG extensions. As of iOS 11 however, the default format for images on iPhones has been moved to HEIF or HEIC. This new image format provides the same image quality as JPEG, except it produces smaller file sizes. There is one drawback: the file extension is not visible on anything other than an Apple device without using an external viewer.

If you find HEIF or HEIC photos on your iPhone and don’t want to install any third-party software to view or convert them on your PC, there is an integrated solution.

  1. In your iPhone settings, go to photos.
  2. Tap automatically under ‘Transfer to Mac or PC’.
  3. The iPhone will then automatically convert the photos to JPEG when transferring to a PC.

You can also set your iPhone to always take pictures in JPEG by going to camera settings and . to select “Most Compatible” under ‘Formats’.

Locate your photos on the computer

Once you’ve transferred the photos to your Mac or PC, you may want to open them to copy or edit them. In Windows, this is relatively easy: they are located in the “Photos” folder or in a custom folder you created if you transferred the photos without iTunes.

However, to find the actual photo files on macOS, you have to go a little further. Here are the steps to find your photo files on Mac:

  1. Open “finder,” then click “House” and select the “Pictures” folder.
  2. Right click on “Photos Library,” then select “Show Package Contents.”
  3. In the new window, open the “masters” folder.

Now you can access all the images on your Mac and edit or copy them as you see fit.

Alternatively, you can use the “Search Spotlight” to search photos by type. This method is a bit more complicated and works best if you know exactly what to look for.

Finally, developers have created quite a few third-party apps to search and organize photos on Mac. If the first two methods seem too daunting, you can let the software do the work for you.


Finally, transferring files and photos from an iPhone to a computer, especially a PC, is no longer a problem. Cross-platform sharing becomes more convenient over time, especially with cloud services with upload/download functionality. Now that you have learned all the relevant methods such as using cloud services, USB and Bluetooth connections and even email, you will be able to transfer photos from iPhone to computer in no time.

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