How to Transfer Photos and Videos From iPhone to a Computer

Download those photos from your iPhone

The iPhone camera captures high-quality photos and videos, allowing ordinary shutterbugs to take professional-level snapshots and clips with minimal experience. After storing these memories on your smartphone, you may want to transfer the photos to your computer. Here's how to transfer pictures and videos from your iPhone to a Mac or PC.

Transfer Photos and Videos From iPhone to a PC

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

  1. Download and install iTunes if it isn't on your PC. If iTunes is installed, ensure that you have the latest version. Open the application and see if a message appears informing you that a new update is available. If you receive this type of notification, follow the on-screen instructions to install the latest version.

  2. Open iTunes and connect the iPhone to the PC using a USB cable, such as the one attached to the phone's default charger. A pop-up dialog appears, asking if you want the computer to access information on the iOS device. Select Continue.

    The Continue button
  3. A pop-up appears on the iPhone, asking if you want to trust this computer. Select Trust.

  4. Enter your passcode when prompted.

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

  5. In iTunes, go to the left menu pane and ensure that your iPhone is listed under Devices. If iTunes doesn't recognize your iPhone, follow Apple's troubleshooting advice.

    iTunes with an iPhone under Devices
  6. After confirming its presence, open the Photos app, which is accessible from the Windows Start menu or the search bar located in the taskbar.

  7. In Windows 10, select Import, located in the upper-right corner of the Photos app. In Windows 8, right-click anywhere in 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 are discovered by the Photos app, which could take several minutes if you have a large album. Once that is complete, choose the items to import by selecting the check boxes on the photos and videos. You can also tag groups of photos or videos for importing by choosing Select new or Select all.

    The selection options in Photos
  10. When you're satisfied with your selections, select Import selected. The import process begins. When complete, the photos and videos that were transferred appear in the Collection section of the Photos app.

    The Import Selected button

Transfer Photos and Videos From iPhone to Mac Using the Photos App

Take the following steps to transfer pictures and video clips from your iPhone to a Mac using the Photos app, which was introduced in macOS Catalina (10.15). Macs with earlier versions of macOS and OS X used iPhoto to transfer photos.

  1. Connect the iPhone to the Mac using a USB cable. Unlock the phone.

  2. Open the Photos app on the Mac.

    The Photos app icon in the Mac Dock
  3. Select the iPhone in the Devices section in the left sidebar of the Photos app.

    The Mac Music app with the iPhone selected in the Devices section
  4. Choose Import All New Items to transfer all the new photos and videos from your iPhone to the Mac.

    Mac Photos app with Import All New Items selected
  5. If you prefer to import only some of the items, click on each photo or video you want to import to place a check mark in a blue circle and choose Import Selected, rather than Import All New Photos.

    Photos app with three photos selected and Import 3 Selected highlighted

The transfer begins immediately.

If you only have a few images to transfer from an iPhone to a Mac, the quickest way to transfer them is to select them in the Photos app on the iPhone and tap the Share icon. Select your Mac in the sharing screen to transfer them to its Downloads folder.

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

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

  1. Attached the iPhone to the Mac using a USB cable. Unlock the iPhone.

  2. Open the Image Capture app available in the Applications folder on all macOS and OS X installations.

  3. Select the iPhone in the Devices section of the sidebar.

    An iPhone under Devices in the Image Capture app
  4. Your iPhone photos and videos appear in the right pane. The images are ranked by date and accompanied by key details, including name, file type, size, width, height, and a thumbnail preview. Scroll through the camera roll and select one or more items to transfer to the Mac.

    Images in the Image Capture app
  5. To copy photos and videos to somewhere other than the default Pictures folder, select the Import To drop-down menu and choose a location.

    The Import To menu in Image Capture
  6. Select Import to start the file copy process. You can skip the individual selection step and choose Import All.

    Import options in Image Capture

The photos and videos that transfer are noted with a green and white check mark.

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

An alternative to directly transferring iPhone photos and videos to a Mac or PC using a hardwired connection is to access your iCloud Photo Library and download the files from the Apple servers to the computer. iCloud must be enabled on the iPhone, and the iOS Photos app must be turned on in your iCloud settings. To confirm this on the iPhone, select Settings > your name > iCloud > Photos.

To download the images to a Mac or Windows PC:

  1. Open a browser on your computer and go 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 appears on your iPhone, asking permission to access iCloud. Select Allow.

  4. A two-factor authentication code appears on your iPhone. Enter this six-digit code in the fields provided.

  5. After you successfully authenticate, several iCloud icons appear in the browser. Select Photos.

    The iCloud website with Photos highlighted
  6. iCloud Photos displays your photos and videos organized by category. Select one or more images or recordings to download to the Mac or PC. Then, select Download, located in the upper-right corner, and represented by a cloud with a down arrow. The selected images or videos are automatically transferred to the browser's default download location.

    The Download button in iCloud Photos

In addition to the browser-based UI, some first-party macOS apps such as Photos and iPhoto also allow you to sign in to iCloud and wirelessly access your images. PC users can download and install the iCloud for Windows application if they prefer that over the web-based route.

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