How to Transfer Photos and Videos from iPhone to a Computer

Download those photos from your iPhone

The iPhone's camera ranks among its most impressive features, one that seems to improve exponentially with each new model that Apple releases. Thanks to the high-quality photos and videos it is capable of capturing, ordinary shutterbugs can take professional-level snapshots and clips with minimal experience.

Once you have these precious memories stored on your smartphone, however, you may want to transfer them to your computer. Moving pictures and videos from your iPhone to a Mac or PC is a fairly simple process if you know what steps to take. We've outlined them below for both platforms.

Download Photos and Videos From iPhone to a PC

Follow these instructions to import photos and videos from an iPhone to your Windows computer.

  1. Download and install iTunes if it is not already on your PC. If iTunes is already installed, ensure that you have the latest version by launching the application and seeing if a message appears informing you that a new update is available. If you do receive this type of notification, follow the on-screen instructions to install the latest version.

  2. With iTunes running, connect the iPhone to your PC using a USB cable, such as the one attached to your phone's default charger. A pop-up dialog should now appear, asking if you want to allow your computer to access information on the iOS device. Select Continue.

    The Continue button
  3. A pop-up will appear on your iPhone asking if you want to trust this computer. Select Trust.

  4. Enter your passcode when prompted.

    At some point during this process, you may also be asked by the Windows operating system if you trust the new device (your iPhone). If so, select Trust.

  5. Return to your PC and ensure that your iPhone is now shown under Devices in the left menu pane of the iTunes interface. If iTunes still does not recognize your iPhone, follow Apple's troubleshooting advice.

    iTunes with an iPhone under Devices
  6. Once confirmed, open the Photos app, which is accessible from the Windows Start menu or via the search bar located in the taskbar.

  7. On Windows 10, select Import, located in the upper-right corner of the Photos app interface. On Windows 8, right-click anywhere within the app and select Import.

    The Import button in Photos
  8. When the drop-down menu appears, select From a USB device.

    The "From a USB Device" option
  9. All photos and videos on your iPhone should now be discovered by the Photos app, which could take several minutes if you have a large album. Once complete, a window labeled will appear asking you to select the items you want to import. You can choose specific photos or videos within this interface by selecting the accompanying checkbox(es). You can also choose to tag groups of photos or videos for importing via the Select new or Select all links found towards the top of the screen.

    The selection options in Photos
  10. Once you're satisfied with your selections, select Import selected. The import process will now begin. Once complete, the photos and videos that have been transferred to your hard drive will appear within the Collection section of the Photos app.

    The Import Selected button

Download Photos and Videos From iPhone to a Mac Using the Photos App

Take the following steps to transfer pictures and video clips from your iPhone to macOS using the Photos app.

  1. Open iTunes on your macOS device by selecting the iTunes icon in the dock. If you are prompted to update iTunes to a newer version, follow the on-screen instructions and complete the update before continuing.

  2. With iTunes running, connect the iPhone to your Mac using a USB cable, such as the one attached to your device's default charger. Select Continue when the dialogue box appears.

    The Continue button
  3. A pop-up will appear on your phone, asking if you want to trust this computer. Select Trust.

  4. Enter your iPhone passcode when prompted.

  5. The macOS Photos app should also be open, displaying an import screen containing photos and videos from your phone's camera roll. If you do not see this screen by default, select Import found near the top of the Photos app interface.

    The Import tab in Photos
  6. You can now choose the pictures or videos that you would like to import to your Mac's hard drive by selecting Import Selected. If you'd like to import every photo and video that resides on your iPhone but not your Mac, choose Import All New Items.

    Import options in Photos

Download Photos and Videos From iPhone to a Mac Using the Image Capture App

Another way to transfer photos and videos from your iPhone to a Mac is via Image Capture, a fairly basic app that provides a quick and easy import mechanism. To use this method, follow these instructions:

  1. Open the Image Capture app, available by default on all macOS installations.

  2. Once the Image Capture interface appears, connect the iPhone to your Mac using a USB cable, such as the one attached to your device's default charger.

  3. One or more pop-ups will appear on both your iPhone and Mac, prompting you to confirm that you trust the connection between computer and smartphone device. You will also be asked to enter your iPhone passcode, if applicable.

  4. After a trusted connection has been established, the DEVICES section in the Image Capture interface (located in the left menu pane) will display iPhone in its list. Select iPhone.

    An iPhone under Devices in the Image Capture app
  5. Your iPhone photos and videos will now appear in the main portion of the Image Capture window, ranked by date and accompanied by a number of key details, including name, file type, size, width, and height along with a thumbnail preview image. Scroll through your camera roll and select one or more items to transfer them to your Mac's hard drive.

    Images in the Image Capture app
  6. Next, modify the value in the Import To drop-down menu if you wish to copy your photos and videos to somewhere other than the default Pictures folder.

    The "Import To" menu in Image Capture
  7. When ready, select Import to initiate the file copy process. You can also skip the individual selection step and choose Import All.

    Import options in Image Capture
  8. Following a brief delay, all photos and videos that have been transferred will be noted with a green and white check mark, as seen in the above screenshot.

Transferring Photos and Videos From iPhone to a Mac or PC via iCloud

An alternative to directly transferring your iPhone's photos and videos to a Mac or PC using a hardwired connection is to access your iCloud Photo Library and download the files directly from Apple's servers to your computer. In order to utilize this method, you must have iCloud enabled on your iPhone and ensure that the iOS Photos app is turned on within your iCloud settings. Confirm this by taking the following path before continuing: Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Photos.

Once you've determined that your iPhone photos and videos are indeed being stored in iCloud, follow the instructions below to download them to a Mac or Windows PC.

  1. Open your browser and navigate to iCloud.com.

  2. Enter your iCloud username and password and select the login arrow, located on the right side of the password field.

  3. A pop-up will appear on your iPhone, asking for permission to access iCloud. Select Allow.

  4. A two-factor authentication code will now be shown on your iPhone. Enter this six-digit code into the fields provided.

  5. After you've successfully authenticated, several iCloud icons will appear in your browser window. Select Photos.

    A screenshot of the iCloud website with Photos highlighted
  6. The iCloud Photos interface will now be displayed, containing your photos and videos broken down by category. It is from here that you can select one or more images or recordings to download to your Mac or PC's hard drive. Once satisfied with your selection(s), select Download, located near the upper-right corner and represented by a cloud with a down arrow in the foreground. The selected images or videos will be automatically transferred to your browser's default download location.

    The Download button in iCloud Photos

In addition to the browser-based UI, some native macOS apps like Photos and iPhoto also allow you to sign into iCloud and wirelessly access your images. PC users, meanwhile, have the option of downloading and installing the iCloud for Windows application if they prefer that over the web-based route.