These days, there’s just no getting around it: you need to back up your videos and pictures from your iPhone to another device in case your phone is lost, stolen, or damaged beyond repair.
The default system on iOS uploads your files to iCloud (or another cloud storage platform), which is incredibly convenient because it automatically syncs your content across your tablet, computer, and the web. But if you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection handy or just don’t want to pay extra for storage, you can also manually move your photos and videos to macOS and Windows.
Moving files from iPhone to Mac computer is easy, but iOS to Windows transfers are also relatively simple. All you need is a cable to connect your iPhone to your computer, so Lightning to USB-C or USB-A, depending on your device’s ports.
How to Manually Move Pictures from iPhone to macOS
As you’d expect, moving files between your iPhone and Mac is simple because Apple products get along perfectly well. Use a cable to connect your iPhone’s Lightning port to a free USB port on your Mac, and the two hardware components will recognize each other. On your iPhone, tap Trust and enter your phone’s password to confirm that you are connecting your phone to a trusted computer.
Continue by opening the Photos app on your Mac computer to perform a transfer. You will see that your iPhone appears in the navigation pane on the left side of the screen: select it to see the photos and videos on your iPhone, then click on the images and clips you want to move to your machine.
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At the top of the screen there is a Album drop-down menu that you can use to choose where to import photos and videos. Make your choice and click Import selection to copy the files, or click Import all to copy everything. Your files will be securely transferred from your phone to your Mac, which you can then send to other devices and drives as needed.
You also have a few other options. If you don’t use iCloud Photos on your iPhone at all, open Finder and select your connected iPhone from the sidebar on the left. Go to Pictures tab and drag and drop your images and videos to other locations on your Mac as you would any other file. You can also run the macOS Image Capture utility to view all photos and videos on your iPhone and transfer them to a specific folder on your Mac computer.
How to Manually Move Pictures from iPhone to Windows
When you connect your iPhone to a new Windows computer, a message appears on your phone asking if you want to allow the device to access photos and videos on iOS: tap Allow to allow file transfers. This should do it, but Windows may also ask you to restart your computer to complete the iPhone Access setup. If so, follow the on-screen instructions and reboot.
The import process is slightly different depending on whether or not you have iCloud Photos enabled on your phone. If so, install iCloud for Windows and sign in using your Apple ID. Next, launch the native Photos app in Windows, click the gear icon (top right) and choose View iCloud Photos. They will appear in their own section inside the Photos app, and you can then copy them to other areas of your Windows system as needed.
[Related: How to back up your iPhone]
If you don’t use iCloud Photos, you can still use the native Photos app for Windows once your iPhone is connected. Interior photos, click Import (top right) and then select your iPhone – you’ll be able to select some or all of the images and videos on it, and then you can click To add to transfer them to your hard drive. All you have to do is choose a destination folder to start importing.
There is also another option whether or not you use iCloud Photos. Your iPhone will also appear in the navigation pane of Windows File Explorer, and you can browse (and copy) the images and videos on it just like you would from any other flash drive. Just look in the DCIM folder. . Keep in mind that the folder organization structure on iOS is somewhat confusing, so you may not be able to find your files as easily.
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