How to Download and Save Photos and Images to the iPad's Camera Roll

Screenshot of NASA photo of the day


The iPad makes it extremely easy to download photos and images on the web to the iPad. This is also true for photos sent to you in email and pictures you see in popular social media apps like Facebook and Twitter. However, not all websites are quite so friendly when it comes to saving images to your iPad. Whether they are trying to protect copyrighted photos or simply aren't very tablet friendly, the website may block your attempt to download the image. However, there's an easy workaround to that as well.

How to Download Photos to the iPad:

  1. First, locate the photo you want to save. You can save from the Mail app, the Safari Browser, Facebook, etc. 

  2. Press your finger down on the photo and hold it on the image until a menu pops up on the screen.

  3. Depending on the app you are using, you may see different options on this menu. But if the app supports saving photos, you will see a Save Photo or Save Image option in the menu.

  4. In apps like Facebook or Twitter, you will need to click on the photo to display it full screen before you can download it. You may be prompted to give the app access to your Camera Roll. The iPad doesn't allow apps to save photos to the Camera Roll until they have permission.

  5. If you are in the Safari browser, the menu may include options such as "Open in a New Tab" or "Add to Reading List". This happens when the image is also a link to another webpage. Ignore these options and choose "Save Image."

What If You Weren't Prompted to Save Image?

While many websites and apps support this feature, there are some notable exceptions, including Instagram and Pinterest. So how do we get around these restrictions? Simple: We take a screenshot of the image!

  1. Before you actually snap the screenshot, try expanding the image to fill the screen by using the pinch-to-zoom gesture. The screenshot works best if the image fills the screen, but if you can't make it full screen, it's easy enough to edit the photo.

  2. When you have the photo just right on the screen, hold down the sleep/wake button at the top of the iPad and the Home button at the same time. The screen will flash when the screenshot is captured.

  3. After the screen is captured, the photo should appear on the bottom-left side of the display as a thumbnail image. You can tap this photo to edit it before saying or simply swipe it off the screen to save it.

  4. When you tap it and go into edit mode, you can tap and hold the corner of the image and move it to clip the photo. This is great if you weren't able to expand the photo before snapping the screenshot.

  5. You can also edit the photo in the Photos app.

Where Does the Photo Go?

If you are unfamiliar with the iPad's Photos app, the "Camera Roll" is simply the default album for storing all of your photos and images. You can get to this album by opening the Photos app, tapping the Albums button at the bottom of the screen and tapping Camera Roll.