Have you tried to transfer some photos taking up too much storage on your phone, only to find that the latest iTunes update is taking up too much space on your computer or isn’t compatible with your PC? Then this is the article for you. Here are some quick and easy fixes to transfer your photos from iPhone to PC without using iTunes, saving storage both on your phone and your computer.
Method 1: Windows File Explorer
- Pros: No extra software is needed, only a USB cable for transferring the photos.
- Cons: It doesn’t detect all of your photos.
The wonderful thing about using Windows File Explorer to transfer your iPhone photos is that you don’t need any special third-party software in order to do it. The only thing you need to do is connect your phone’s USB cable, the one you use for charging, to your computer.
Step 1: Connect your phone to the computer
When you first connect your iPhone to the computer, you will receive a typical pop-up question on your home screen: “Trust This Computer? Your settings and data will be accessible from the computer when connected.” This is basically a warning to make sure you’re using a secure home computer that you trust instead of a public PC.
After connecting your iPhone, it appears under “This PC” as a new device on Windows File Explorer for Windows 10, and “Computer” on Windows File Explorer for Windows 7. You may need to wait briefly as it might not appear automatically on the screen. To rectify this issue, simply plug and unplug your USB cable until the iPhone storage appears on the screen.
Step 2: Open Windows File Explorer > Computer > Your Phone > Internal Storage
Next, you will find that there is another folder you have to click on before getting access to the photos within your phone. Under “Internal Storage,” click “DCIM,” followed by another numbered photo unique to your serial code to access your photo gallery.
Step 3: Transfer selected photos to your PC
Once you can see your photos, just copy the photos from Windows File Explorer into any folder on your computer that you wish.
The pros of using Windows File Explorer to transfer your photos is that no additional software is needed, and it’s easy to use as long as you have an iPhone USB cable. The downsides are that you cannot do this without a cable and that Windows File Explorer isn’t capable of processing all of your iPhone photos at times. Occasionally, some photos may be rotated incorrectly or not in chronological order.
Method 2: iCloud
- Pros: Can be accessed anywhere, and it syncs the edits you make on any device across all platforms.
- Cons: Access to additional storage is priced at $10 per month for 2TB of iCloud storage space. You also cannot exclude any photos from syncing.
If you are reading this article to avoid using iTunes, is there really a point to using iCloud? Yes. While it’s similar to other Apple software, it is a great alternative for storing your photos on your computer.
1. Updating your iCloud
Before you begin, make sure that you have the most recent version of the iCloud app on your iPhone device. You also have to set up iCloud on Windows by downloading it from the Apple Store. In order to transfer your photos from iPhone to your PC, you have to sign in to the same Apple ID for the iCloud account on your computer as your phone.
2. Turn on iCloud Photos
On your iPhone, go to the Settings option. Select your name, which then leads you to iCloud, to Photos, then turn on iCloud Photos. Upload photos to iCloud on your phone, then open iCloud on your computer and download them. It’s as easy as that!
The upside of the iCloud Photo Library is that it can be accessed by any device as long as you use the same Apple ID login. It also provides one of the strongest backup systems around; you’re not likely to lose any data stored in iCloud. iCloud also syncs the edits you make on any device across all platforms. All the edits are also non-destructive, so you can undo them at any time on any of your Apple devices.
While it is free to use, access to a good amount of storage space costs $10 per month for 2TB of iCloud storage space. You also cannot exclude any photos from syncing, so if there are personal photos you want to keep private you’ll have to delete them or store them elsewhere.
Method 3A: Dropbox (Third Party Cloud Storage)
- Pros: Easy to use, 2 GB of space provided for free.
- Cons: Limited amount of space, requires a paid subscription to access additional functions.
Not a fan of iCloud? You can upload your images to Dropbox instead. Dropbox is a good alternative app that allows you to easily access photos, documents, and more across any device within the Dropbox app or in a browser. There is also an option to set up the app to automatically connect photos to Dropbox, which means those photos are accessible from your computer anytime.
1. Manual Upload
First, make sure you have the Dropbox iOS app downloaded from the app store on your iPhone. Please note that you have to create an account with Dropbox first.
Then, select the folder you want your picture to go in under Files. On the right-hand corner of your screen, tap the three dots in the top-right corner. After selecting Upload File, choose the photos you want to transfer to Dropbox and tap Upload.
There are different choices as to how to navigate Dropbox on your computer. You can choose to download the Dropbox app to your computer, or you can go to the Dropbox website in your preferred browser and log in. From there, your recently synced photos will be available in the folder that you initially chose to store it in. You can then download any photos you want from Dropbox to your computer.
2. Automatic Upload
If you’d like to keep your photos backed up at all times, then the second option is for you. Dropbox also offers an automatic backup system as long as you know which functions to turn on.
After navigating to your Settings in the Dropbox app, select the Camera Upload. Turn on your Camera Upload and you’re set to go.
With this setting, any new photos taken will be automatically uploaded to the Camera Uploads folder in your Dropbox, which you can access via your computer on the Dropbox website. Dropbox offers limited space for free; a Dropbox Basic account gives you 2 GB. For additional space and features, select from the Dropbox Plus, Dropbox Professional, or Dropbox Business plan. The prices will vary according to the plan you choose.
Another issue that Dropbox users tend to face is that the uploaded photos may at first appear to be of lower resolution than the original. However, the photos uploaded to Dropbox are uploaded in their original resolution. If you’re viewing these files through the Dropbox website, then what you’re seeing is just a preview of the original file. The original, unmodified file will be seen in its full resolution when downloaded and opened on a computer.
Method 3B: Google Photos (Third-Party Cloud Storage)
- Pros: Unlimited space for storage of photos under a specific resolution or unlimited max resolution storage for users who own a Google phone such as the Nexus or Pixel.
- Cons: For unlimited storage, photos have to be under 16MP and videos must be 1080p or under. Anything higher counts against your Google Drive storage.
The difference between Dropbox and Google Photos is that Google Photos provides unlimited space for all of your pictures as long as each photo is under 16 megapixels (and for videos 1080p or less). Similar to Dropbox, you can set it up so that your pictures sync manually or automatically.
1. Manual Upload
After downloading Google Photos on your iPhone, open the Google Photos app to log in. For first timers using the app, Photos will ask to access your photos. Make sure you allow access or you will not be able to transfer photos over to your computer. Navigate your screen to Photos and tap on the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner. Here, you can choose to create a new album or select your photos.
Once you’ve selected the photos you want to upload, tap Done. When you’re creating a new album, you’ll be prompted to name the album as your photos are processing for upload.
If you chose to select Photos, check the photos you want to upload. Then, continue to tap the three dots in the upper corner before selecting the option to backup while the photos are uploading.
You will find that the pictures you uploaded will be there on your computer when you open Google Photos.
2. Automatic Upload
Once again, if it’s your first time using the app, it will ask for permission to access your photos. After pressing on the top right-hand corner, tap on Settings. Select Backup & Sync, and turn it on.
Your photos will begin backing up and syncing to Google Photos. After all the photos in your iPhone are synced, you can access Google Photos on your computer and see them sorted by date. Google Photos gives you unlimited space and is free for all to use, as long as all your uploaded photos are within 16 megapixels of resolution. However, it is a good alternative to Dropbox if you don’t mind storing your photos in low-res.
Method 4: Send by Email
- Pros: It’s simple to do and free of charge.
- Cons: If you’re looking to send multiple pictures, it is a hassle: You will have to upload them manually as individual photos or in small sets.
Before the huge variety of photo storage apps was created, this used to be the only option for sending photos to your computer. Simply create a new draft and type in your own email address, choosing the photos you want to send to yourself. When you tap on the text, there will be an option to Insert Photo or Video. Choose the photos or videos you want to load up into the email.
It’s as simple as that! However, this solution is less than ideal if you want to send more than 5 photos. It is also slightly more troublesome when it comes to loading up the photos, as you will have to do them one by one.
Method 5: Third-Party Transfer Software
- Pros: A wide variety of functions, provides a strong backup and storage recovery system.
- Cons: It isn’t free, and can be quite expensive depending on the plan you choose to subscribe to.
Now, I know what you are thinking. Are third-party transfer apps safe to use? Generally, this would be the least-advised solution because while there are tons of third-party software options, they aren’t all safe to use. However, one good one that I will share with you is dr.fone.
You can transfer photos between iPhones and computers easily including Live Photos, Selfies, and Albums. It even converts HEIC photos to JPG when detecting that the target device/PC does not support HEIC.
There are many features available within the app. You can also double-click on a photo to preview it on PC, add or delete photos on your iPhone, add photos to the album, and more. There is also the option to transfer, export, and manage all photos and videos in camera roll, photo library, and photostream.
dr.fone is also known for being able to recover iPhone data. However, it comes with a catch. There are several plans available, ranging from USD $29.99/year to USD $59.99/year depending on which you choose to subscribe to. Overall, Wondershare’s dr.fone lies on the pricier side. However, its reliability makes it worth your money.
In this article, I hope you found the answer to all your photo transferring headaches without the help of iTunes. Do share your thoughts below on whether these alternatives worked for you, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask away as well. I will do my best to answer them. Thank you for reading this article, and I hope it helped you!
Jessica is the co-founder and content manager. She has been fascinated by the startup culture in Silicon Valley and she loves building things from zero to one. When she is not writing, she loves getting close to nature and shoot photos with her iPhone and Canon EOS 80D.