How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to iPhone—Easiest Method! (2019)

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

Transferring photos from one iPhone to another is simpler than you might think. Whether you are transferring photos to a new device or sharing pictures with friends, we’ll show you how to master both techniques in this article. We’ll look into how to use iCloud to back up your photos for easy migration to a new device, how to create a backup and restore that backup on a new iPhone, and how to use AirDrop for a quick and secure way to share your latest vacation photos with friends. Read on to learn all about sharing, transferring, and archiving photos from one iPhone to another.

 

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Youtube video: How to Use AirDrop to Transfer Photos from iPhone to iPhone (Peer-to-Peer)

Related: How to Get Photos Off Your iPhone

How to Transfer Photos to a New iPhone Using iCloud

In the dark days of Apple, you needed a Mac or PC to transfer photos from iPhone to iPhone. Nowadays, the process is way easier. The lingo may be new, but our iCloud method is the simplest way to transfer photos from your old iPhone to a new iPhone. 

If you want to transfer everything, not just photos, from the old iPhone to the new one, then you should follow this article to create a backup and this article to restore the backup. If, however, if you just want to transfer a few things, iCloud is a quick and simple way to migrate your contacts, music, documents, and photos between different Apple devices. Because accessing your iCloud requires you to use your Apple ID, we recommend using this method only with devices you own.

To use this method, both iPhones Must Be:

  • Running iOS 8.3 or later.
  • Signed in to using the same Apple ID.
  • Connected to Wi-Fi.

Step One: Configuring Your iCloud Storage

You’ll need to make sure you have enough iCloud storage available for all of your photos. If you already have iCloud Photo Library turned on, this shouldn't be a problem.

To check your iCloud storage:

  • Open settings.
  • Select your name at the top.
  • Tap iCloud.

  

  • At the top of the iCloud menu, you'll see a storage bar labeled iCloud. This graph shows how many gigabytes of iCloud storage you're using, the iCloud storage plan you're enrolled in, and the storage allocation of different file types (Mail, Photos, Docs, etc).

How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to iPhone—Easiest Method!

  • If your iCloud storage is full, or close to full, you might be tempted to update your storage plan. While upgrading your storage is an option, you can also delete items from your iCloud storage that you don't want to transfer to the new iPhone so that you have more space for your photos. 

Step Two: Transferring Photos via iCloud

  • Make sure both iPhones meet the criteria listed above.
  • On the old iPhone (the one with the pictures), open Settings.
  • Select your name at the top (if running iOS 11 or later).
  • Select iCloud.
  • Tap Photos.
  • Toggle on iCloud Photo Library.

How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to iPhone 

  • If you didn't have it on already, it will take some time for all of your photos to transfer to the cloud. Wait until the transfer is complete before continuing.
  • If you already have iCloud Photo Library turned on, all of the photos you’ve taken will already be uploaded to the cloud.

Step 3: Downloading Your Photos from iCloud

  • Now, on the new iPhone (the iPhone receiving the photos), open Settings.
  • Select your name at the top (if running iOS 11 or later).
  • Select iCloud.
  • If you haven’t already logged in, do so using the same Apple ID as used on the older iPhone.
  • Tap Photos.
  • Toggle on iCloud Photo Library.
  • Then select either Optimize iPhone Storage or Download and Keep Originals.

  • Now, open your Photos app and select All Photos to view all of your photos.

Now, if you’re here because you just want to transfer some photos from your iPhone to a friend or family member’s iPhone, that’s even easier. I’ll show you how below.

How to Use AirDrop to Transfer Photos from iPhone to iPhone (Peer-to-Peer)

In order to transfer photos from iPhone to iPhone with Airdrop, you’ll need an iPhone 5 or later running at least iOS 7. If you’re transferring photos from your iPhone to a friend's iPhone, they too will need to have an iPhone 5 or later running at least iOS 7.

First, make sure both you and the person you're sending the photos to have AirDrop on. To do this:

  • On iPhone X or later, swipe down from the upper-right corner to of the screen to open Control Center.
  • On an iPhone 8 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Center.
  • Press and hold the network settings block on the upper left corner of the Control Center.

  • Tap on AirDrop in the expanded tile that pops up.
  • Select either Contacts Only or Everyone. If you select Contacts Only, only the people in your Contacts will be able to send or receive AirDrops to or from you.

Now, let’s send those pictures from iPhone to iPhone. To use AirDrop, you and your friend need to be nearby each  other within both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi range. Once you are in range, you can AirDrop your photos. To do this:

  • Open the Photos app and find the pictures you want to send to another iPhone.
  • Tap the Share icon in the lower left corner once you’ve selected the photo(s).
  • You’ll see the option to Tap to share with AirDrop. Locate the person you want to send the photo to and tap their contact bubble.

The other iPhone will receive a notification you’re trying to send it something via AirDrop. Once the owner of that iPhone taps Accept, the photo(s) will be added to the Photos app on that iPhone.

 

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Conner Carey's picture

Conner Carey's writing can be found at conpoet.com. She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.