“Computers have memory but they don’t have memories.” - Anonymous

Photos and computers have developed quite the relationship in recent years. Images are everywhere, screens are covered in them, photos are shared en masse on social media, and we all take part in sharing them. So while most of us have a TV, computer ownership isn’t far behind.

Nearly 90% of households in the UK have a computer. This means that there’s a lot of interest when it comes to looking at images on smaller screens.

So depending on your storage device, how do you transfer photos from your camera or phone onto your computer or tablet?

In this article, we'll look at how to transfer photos from a photo library on a device or camera roll to iOS devices or Windows PC.

Transferring Photos from an iPhone to a Computer

To save photos from a mobile phone, there are a number of different methods. However, there are specific ways to do it on an iPhone.

How do you download photos from an iPhone?
Whether you've got an iPhone X, iPhone 7, iPhone 6, or whatever, it's never been easier to transfer photos. (Source: StockSnap)

Transferring Data Using iCloud

The photo gallery on iPhones saves most of your images online automatically.


Thanks to iCloud. If you have an iPhone, you’ve probably got an iCloud account since it’s obligatory. This account allows you to store files, emails, and even find your phone. The latter being very useful if you lose it.

Storing files mainly means storing photos. If you synchronise your account regularly, all the photos taken on your telephone will be accessible via your “cloud”. The cloud is virtual storage that you can access with an internet connection. You can easily download photos from iCloud over a WiFi network or data connection.

You can access your storage on Windows or Mac via iTunes and you’ll be able to download the photos from the cloud to your computer.

Practical, isn’t it?

However, if you aren’t a fan of this technique or your account isn’t currently accessible, you can also transfer photos from your computer to your iPhone.

Transferring Files with a PC

On Windows, the technique is quite simple and you can transfer photos very quickly.

  • Unlock your iPhone.
  • On the computer, click the little iPhone tab that pops up.
  • Click on “Home” and then “Import”.
  • Then all your photos will be stored onto your computer.

If you’re using Windows 10, you can import your snaps from your iPhone by using the “Photos” app.

Exporting Photos via iTunes

If you’re using a Mac, the whole process will take place via iTunes on iOS. iTunes is the default programme for managing media on Macs. The same is true for your contacts, messages, and music.

Itunes is quite simple to use when it comes to importing photos and files and you can also use it on Windows computers. You just need to download iTunes, connect your phone, and you’re done.

Using Airdrop to Transfer Files onto Your Mac

Are you familiar with AirDrop?

This is a file transfer system that uses wireless Bluetooth connections to transfer files. This photo transfer app allows you to wirelessly transfer photos from your iPhone onto your Mac.

PCs can’t use this but Macs can. If you have a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air, you can go to the toolbar in the top right of your screen and activate AirDrop.

Link your iPhone XS to your computer and you’re ready to go.

Learn more about editing photos.

Transferring Photos from an Android Phone to a Computer

The process for transferring photos from Android to a Mac or PC is a little different, but essentially the same. Whether you’re using a new iPhone or a Samsung, for example, you can transfer your photos onto a computer.

Search for photography classes near me here.

How do you transfer photos from an Android device?
Got an Android phone? No problem! (Source: TeroVesalainen)

Transferring Photos via a USB Cable

This is one of the simplest techniques since, over the years, more and more devices have started using USB connections. All Android devices have a USB port, unlike Apple phones, which can be used to transfer photos.

All you’ll have to do is:

  • Connect your Android phone to your computer with a USB cable.
  • On your computer, select the internal memory or the memory card on your phone.
  • Select the photos you want to import.
  • Drag the files from the images folder on your phone to the images folder on your computer.
  • And that’s it!

Whether you’re using a Windows Phone, Nokia, Huawei Mate, the process will be the same.

Easy, isn’t it?

Exporting Photos Using an App

This second technique is a little less obvious but it is useful if you don’t have a USB cable or a memory card adaptor.

Using an App to Transfer Photos onto Your Computer

“People everywhere love Windows” - Bill Gates

There are image transfer apps for Android devices too. Much like AirDrop, AirMore is a free app for exporting files. You can transfer the images from your mobile phone to your PC or Mac. That’s not all, either; AirMore can be used to transfer files between two Android devices!

Isn’t it amazing?

You just need a WiFi connection to transfer several photos onto your computer. You can also use a version with QR codes if your WiFi is acting up. This is a useful tool for managing your photos and you can get it on Google Play (and the App Store).

To get the most out of your storage, consider reducing the size of your image files.

Transferring Photos Onto a Computer from a Camera

Digital cameras or smartphones can be used to take photos. Whether it’s a family photograph or an art project, you’ll probably want a copy on your computer. Of course, you can do all of this thanks to technology.

How do you transfer photos from a camera to a computer?
Transferring photos from a camera is very simple. (Source: TheAngryTeddy)

Via a Memory Card

Most digital devices have a removable memory card. These objects are where all your photos are usually saved. Memory cards come with different capacities which allow you to store more photos. When this memory card is full, you might want to transfer some of your photos onto your computer to free up space on the camera.

Whether you’re using a Windows or a Mac, you just need to remove the memory card, put it into the port on your computer. Some computers, however, like the MacBook Air, don’t have a memory card slot. In this case, you’ll need to get a USB adapter, which you can get for around a tenner.

Once you’ve connected your memory card, you just need to find the folder and files on your computer (using My Computer or This PC on a PC and Finder on Mac), select the files, and drag them into the folder of your choosing on your computer.

You can also right-click, click on “Copy”, go into the target folder, and click “Paste”. The photos will then be copied from your memory card onto your computer.

Not all file types are created equal. Learn more about converting image files.

Via a USB Cable

If you don’t have a memory card, you can always directly connect your camera or phone to a computer with a USB cable. A good old USB cable will do the trick and a lot of digital cameras will probably be sold with one.

Just like with the memory card, you just need to connect your device to the computer with the cable. You then select the photos you want and copy them over by dragging or using copy and paste.

Want a more prominent subject?

Learn how to blur parts of a photo.

Transferring Photos from a Peripheral Device

All your photos mightn’t be stored on a phone or camera, you might have photos stored on an external hard disk or USB key.

How do you transfer photos from an external storage device?
No matter what your setup, you can easily transfer images using a USB key or external hard disk. (Source: stux)

If you want to look at your photos on a bigger screen, it’s quite simple.

Whether you’re using a PC or Mac, a USB key or a hard disk, the way you transfer photos is exactly the same as we previously mentioned.

You plug your device into a USB port and there you can transfer pictures like you would from a memory card. It’s very simple and if you want to plenty of photos at once, this is the way to go.

In short, whatever device you’re using, transferring photos is quite simple. If you want to share a class photo, some good memories with friends, or some snaps from your childhood, you can look at them on a bigger screen.

If you need more help with photo editing or photography, you might want to consider getting help from one of the many talented tutors on Superprof. Just search what you want to learn and where you live and you'll find plenty of private tutors and online tutors ready to help you!

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