5 Easy Ways to Transfer Photos from iPhone to PC or Mac (2022)

Easily download photos from iPhone to PC or Mac, plus hidden ways to transfer photos that Microsoft will never tell you!

If you’re wanting to know how to transfer photos from iPhone to a PC or Mac, you have lots of options. Whether you're looking to move photos from iPhone to Mac or transfer iPhone photos to PC, the process is not as complex as you might think. Transfers between Apple devices are pretty simple, and for PC owners, we've found some easy methods (including the solutions that Microsoft doesn't advertise). Let's cover how to get photos off iPhone and onto a computer easily!

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How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to PC

How to Upload Photos from iPhone to Computer in Windows 8

If you have a PC with an older version of Windows, Auto Play will pop up when your iPhone is connected to your computer with a USB cable. On a PC with Windows 8, your computer will detect the device and provide a pop-up that says "Tap to choose what happens to this device." When you click on that pop-up, you’ll see the Import Photos and Videos option to allow you to move photos and videos from iPhone to PC. The rest of the process should be pretty similar to what is demonstrated below for Windows 10. When in doubt, look for the Import button!

How to Import Photos from iPhone to PC in Windows 10

If you're looking for the easiest way to transfer photos from your iPhone to your PC (with the additional detail Microsoft doesn't provide), here's how to get photos off your iPhone and onto your PC:

  1. To transfer photos from your iPhone to PC, plug your iPhone into your Windows computer with the USB cable.
  2. On your iPhone, a pop-up will ask if you would like to allow the computer to access the iPhone. Tap Allow.
  3. On your Windows computer, the Photos application may automatically launch. If it doesn't, launch the Photos program using the Windows Start menu or search bar.
  4. Click the Import button in the upper-right corner of the Photos app.

    How to Download Pictures from iphone
     
  5. In the drop-down menu, select From a USB device.

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  6. If you have multiple USB devices plugged in to your PC, such as a thumb drive, you'll be asked to select which one you want to import from. Select your iPhone.
  7. The computer will search for photos to import, then a box with the new photos for transfer will pop-up. If the Photos application crashes here, you may have a common bug. Try the alternate method listed in the next section.
  8. Select the photos you want to import.


     
  9. To see where the photos will be saved and to change that location, click settings, represented by a gear icon.

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  10. ​​​In the import settings menu, you will see the location where the photos will be saved plus a Change the import destination link in case you want to change where imported iPhone photos are saved to your PC.


     
  11. Click Done to go back to the image-selection screen.
  12. Once you've selected the images you want, click the Import button.


     
  13. Once they're imported, you can view the photos in the Collections menu of the Photos app or select the Album icon on the left sidebar to view specific albums.

How to Transfer Pictures from iPhone to Computer with a Cable (Alternative Method)

Some users encounter bugs with the built-in Windows Photos application. If you can't get it to work and need another solution, try this method to copy photos from iPhone to your PC:

  1. To transfer iPhone photos to PC, plug your iPhone into your Windows computer with the cable, unlock the iPhone, and tap Allow, as above.
  2. On your Windows computer navigate to This PC. You should see your iPhone listed under Devices and Drives. 
  3. Right-click on your iPhone, and in the context menu select Import pictures and videos.


     
  4. You can either import all new items, or click Review to organize and group items to import. I recommend selecting Review because the automatic organization may not be ideal.
  5. The More options link at the bottom offers options to change where the files are saved, but for most users the default Pictures folder is fine.


     
  6. Click Next and the computer will scan your iPhone for images and videos.
  7. In the following window, select the items you wish to import.


     
  8. A slider at the bottom of the menu changes how the images are grouped into folders, e.g. by hour, by hours, by day, by month, or by year taken. You can slide it all the way to the right to save them all in one folder.
  9. Click Import when you're ready to transfer images.

Next, we’re going to delve into how to import pictures from iPhone to your computer with the iCloud Photo Library. 

Related: What Is iCloud & How Does It Work? Apple iCloud Basics

How to Download Photos from iPhone to Computer with iCloud Photos (Mac or PC)

Psst.. Here's the secret you'll never hear from Microsoft: you can use iCloud.com to securely store and access your photos, even with a PC! Like any iCloud user, you'll need to pay a small monthly fee for storage ($0.99/month for 50 GB or $2.99/month for 200 GB). However, I consider this is a small price to pay, as the process for how to transfer photos from iPhone to computer will be practically effortless, since iCloud will automatically keep the two libraries in perfect sync. If you want to avoid having to plug your iPhone into your computer to transfer your photos, this method is likely a great solution for you.

First, both Mac and PC users will need to follow the iPhone steps below to make sure your photos are safely backed up in the cloud:

  1. Open the Settings app and select your Apple ID profile at the top.

  2. Tap iCloud.

  3. Choose Photos.

  4. For iPhones with iOS 16 installed, toggle on Sync this iPhone. (For older software versions, toggle on iCloud Photos.)

    how to transfer photos from iphone to computer via iCloud

If you own a PC, you can simply log in to your iCloud.com account with your Apple ID to view and access your photos. The downside to this method is that you can only download up to 1,000 photos at a time from iCloud.com to your PC (so downloading your entire photos library at once is likely out of the question).

If you own a Mac, follow the steps below to sync your Photos app to iCloud. This way, your iPhone pictures will appear in your Mac Photos app and vice versa. For Mac users, here's how to get photos from your iPhone to your computer:

  1. Open System Preferences from the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen. 


     
  2. Choose Apple ID and sign in.


     
  3. In the menu on the left, iCloud should already be selected. If it's not, click it.
  4. Check the box next to Photos and enter your computer passcode if asked.


     
  5. Now all the photos you take on your iPhone, and all the photos you add on your computer, will show up in both places. Keep an eye on your iCloud storage!

    How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Computer (Mac)

    The classic way to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac is to use the photo transfer feature in the Photos app. It's important to note that the import Photos from iPhone to Mac process has changed a little since MacOS Catalina, Big Sur,and soon macOS Monterey, so if you're using a newer operating system you'll want to use the method shown next. If you use Mojave or earlier, you can skip to the next section.

    How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac in MacOS Catalina & Later

    1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac with the USB cable and unlock your iPhone.
    2. Open the Photos app on your Mac. You can find it with Spotlight search, in your Dock, or by opening the Applications folder and selecting the Photos app.
    3. Your iPhone should already be selected in the browser on the left of the Photos page. If it isn't, then select your iPhone.


       
    4. Select the photos you wish to import by clicking on them.
    5. Click the Import button at the top.


       

    That's it; Finder has made this process easy! If you'd rather move photos from iPhone to Mac without a USB cable, you can also learn how to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac using AirDrop or iCloud Photo Stream. These methods are especially helpful if you own a MacBook that doesn't have USB-A ports built in!

    How To Import Photos from iPhone to Mac in MacOS Mojave

    This method will help you transfer iPhone photos to a Mac or MacBook if you use the macOS Mojave operating system. If your device is compatible with the newest macOS version, we always recommend keeping your device updated! This ensures that bug fixes, privacy updates, and new features are always available to you.

    1. Connect your iPhone to your computer with the USB cable.
    2. Open the Photos app on your Mac. You can find it with Spotlight search, in your Dock, or by opening the Applications folder and selecting the Photos app.
    3. Select File from the top menu, then select Import.

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    4. You can download select photos by holding down the command key (cmd) on your keyboard while clicking all the photos you want to transfer, then click Review for Import.

      how do you transfer photos from iphone to computer
       
    5. If you've already imported some or all of your selected photos, your Mac will let you know and then give you the option to import the remaining photo(s) by clicking Import New Photo.

      how to move pictures from iphone to computer
       
    6. If you'd rather import all the photos on your iPhone that you haven't previously backed up, click Import All New Items.

      how to download pictures from iphone to mac
       
    7. To view the recently imported photos, select Last Import on the sidebar.

    And you’re done! If you'd rather transfer iPhone photos to Mac without a USB cable, you can also learn how to import photos from iPhone to MacBook or Mac using AirDrop or iCloud Photo Stream. These methods are especially helpful if you own a MacBook that doesn't have USB-A ports built in!

    How to Download Photos from iPhone to Mac with AirDrop

    AirDrop uses Wi-Fi to transfer files from iPhone to Mac and vice versa (and can be used for other files as well), which means first you need to be sure both your iPhone or iPad and computer are connected to Wi-Fi. Remember that AirDrop also requires a 2012 or later Mac model running OS X Yosemite or later to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac. Here's how to upload photos from your iPhone to your computer using AirDrop: 

    1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone. Select the photos you want to transfer to the computer, then tap the Share icon.

    2. Select AirDrop in the Share menu.


       
    3. Choose your computer from the list of devices displayed at the bottom of the screen.

    4. If successful, it will say Sent below your computer's icon.

    5. Tap Done in the upper-right corner to leave the AirDrop screen.

    6. If your computer is not using the same iCloud account as the iPhone you are sending files from, you will need to click Save when the file arrives on your computer. If you are using the same iCloud account, the pictures will automatically save.

    Need more methods to download pictures to a computer? Here's three more you can use to transfer photos from iPhone to computer. Also, get organized with our article on how to edit the Launchpad on your Mac. 

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    Author Details

    Cullen Thomas's picture

    Author Details

    Cullen Thomas

    Cullen Thomas is a senior instructor at iPhone Life, creating tips and guides to help users unlock the full potential of their iOS and iPhone. In addition to writing countless tip-of-the-day articles and many detailed guides, Cullen has spent ten years as an instructor in media and communications at Maharishi University, lecturing on technical and artistic subjects ranging from camera and audio hardware to story-plotting to how to manage a film crew. Cullen answers questions daily about iPhones and iOS as part of the Ask an Editor insider service, and designs curricula for iPhone Life’s online classes. As a frequent contributor to iPhone Life magazine and occasional guest on the iPhone Life podcast, Cullen likes to talk about security and privacy news, tech, gadgets, and apps, even if nobody asked.

    Cullen holds a master’s degree in Cinematic Arts from the David Lynch School of Cinematic Arts. Cullen also holds two Bachelor’s degrees from Maharishi University, one in literature with an emphasis in writing and the other in Communications and Media. Cullen’s short fiction has been featured in anthologies from Amphibian Press and TANSTAAFL, and Cullen co-owns a game design company, Thoughtspike games, which builds thought-provoking puzzle games. Cullen is a sci-fi author, a coffee connoisseur, and an iPhone expert.