How to Transfer Photos from Your iPhone to Your Mac or PC

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iPhones have proven themselves to be amazing cameras for basically any level of photographer. But storage space on an iPhone is finite, and all of those photos can quickly take up more room than you think.

Because of that, transferring photos to your computer — whether a Mac or a Windows PC — is probably something you’ll have to do eventually. Here’s how.

iCloud Photos

Before we get into any other methods of transferring photos, you should consider switching on iCloud Photos.

It’s a system that will automatically sync any pictures you take on your iOS devices to your Mac, Apple TV, iPad and even Windows PC. All the edits and changes you make to photos on one device will also seamlessly sync to other devices.

But, in lieu of that option, there are some other easy ways to transfer photos from your iPhone to your computers.

Transfer via Cable

Transferring files via cable is one of the simpler ways. You’ll just want to make sure that you have at least iTunes 12.5.1 installed on your Mac or Windows PC beforehand.


First, connect your iPhone to your Mac. You may be prompted to unlock your device with your passcode and “trust” you computer. Once you do, follow these steps.

  1. On macOS, Apple has made it fairly easy. You should see the Photos app open automatically after you plug in your device. If it doesn’t, open the Photos app.
  2. Photos should automatically show an Import screen. If it doesn’t click on the Import tab at the top or your device’s name in the sidebar.
  3. Select the photos you’d like to import and hit Import Selected, or click Import All New Photos.

Imported photos will appear in the Photo app’s Import album in macOS High Sierra or alter. In earlier versions, they can be found in the Last Import album.

Windows PC

It’s a similar process for Windows PC. You just have to make sure that iCloud Photos isn’t enabled. If it is, you’ll want to download the iCloud desktop app instead of using the method below.

The exact process of transferring photos will also differ depending on your version of Windows. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll use Windows 10 as an example.

  1. Click the Start button and open the Photos app.
  2. Select Import > From a USB Device.
  3. Follow the instructions to complete your photo transfer.
  4. After that’s done, you’ll have the option to select which photos to import and where you want to actually put your imported content.

Transfer via AirDrop

If you want to transfer photos from an iPhone to a Mac, AirDrop is also another solid and easy option. Better yet, it’s completely wireless.

Before you begin, you’ll want to make sure that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is enabled on both devices.

For ease of use, you’ll also want to ensure that your Mac has its Allow me to be discovered by AirDrop setting set to “Everyone.” Just navigate to Finder and the AirDrop menu. Don’t worry, you can turn that off later.

  1. Open Photos on your iPhone.
  2. Select the photos and videos you’d like to transfer.
  3. Click the Share icon to open the share sheet.
  4. In the AirDrop section, you should see your Mac pop up. Just tap on your Mac.
  5. The AirDrop transfer should wrap up shortly.

AirDrop, of course, isn’t available on Windows PC devices.

Use a Third-Party Option

You can also use a third-party cloud storage option like Dropbox to transfer photos from your iPhone to your computer.

Of course, this adds an extra step and additional time if all you want to do is transfer. Because of that, it’s not the most convenient if you’re strictly looking move photos from one device to the other.

But if you’re looking for a way to store photos that are accessible on both your Mac and iPhone, then cloud storage platforms are a good option.

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