The iPhone camera gets better with every new iteration, which isn’t surprising given it’s one of the most popular smartphone cameras in existence. However, as image quality improves and resolution continues to climb, you’re going to need more storage space. And now with support for RAW images, as well as 4K videos, those files are now even larger. Shutterbugs who carry around a 16GB iPhone will soon find that their device is running out of space well before their contract expires.
That said, there are plenty of ways to quickly and easily back up your photos to your computer or the cloud, which not only saves you space, but ensures your photos will be readily accessible elsewhere in the event your phone is stolen or breaks. Below are a few of our favorite methods for doing so, whether you want to rely on a direct connection or one of many cloud-based apps. (The processes described here could also apply to iPads.)
How to upload your photos using a USB cable
The process for importing and transferring photos from an iOS device basically hasn’t changed for a decade, whether you’re using MacOS or Windows. The process varies slightly between operating systems, but it’s basically just a matter of plugging your iPhone in and clicking the Import button.
Step 1: Plug your phone into your computer — either using a 30-pin USB cord or Lightning cable — the same way you would if you were uploading music.
Step 2: The Photos app should automatically launch, but if not, open the program via Launchpad or your main Applications folder. Alternatively, launch Aperture or iPhoto. If your device isn’t automatically selected, you can find it on the left side of the Photos app screen. You could also use the Image Capture app in MacOS to quickly download content from phone to a folder.
Step 3: If using Photos, click the blue Import New button in the upper-right corner, or select the individual photos you wish to transfer before clicking the Import Selected button at the top. You can also check the box beside Delete items after import if you wish to automatically delete the photos on your iPhone after importing.
Once done, select Last Import (located on the left) to view your recently-uploaded images. Keep in mind that Ctrl-clicking an image will also bring up additional options for sharing, favoriting, and editing said images.
MacOS, by default, launches the Photos app whenever a camera, memory card, or device containing photos — like an iPhone, for example — is connected. To disable this, after the first time Photos launches, uncheck the box in the upper-left that says “Open photos for this device” or “Open photos.”
The iPhone pairs well with MacOS — there’s no doubt there. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean Apple has made it difficult for Windows users to access their photos using a program native to their respective OS. The process is nearly identical for Windows 8 and 10 users, though, so you shouldn’t experience much trouble using any moderately-recent Windows OS.
Step 1: Plug your phone into your computer — either using a 30-pin USB cord or Lightning cable — the same way you would do so if you were uploading music.
Step 2: The Photos app should automatically launch, but if not, open the program using the Start menu or search bar. You may have to unlock your iPhone before moving on.
Step 3: Click the Import button in the upper-right corner, represented by a box with a downward arrow inside. Afterward, check the individual photos you wish to transfer from your iPhone and click Continue in the lower-left corner.
Step 4: Check the box in the resulting pop-up window if you’d like to automatically delete the photos on your iPhone after importing them, or simply click the Import button to transfer the images to your main Pictures folder. Alternatively, click the blue Change where they’re imported link to select a new save destination.
When finished, click the Albums button accessible via the left-hand navigational pane. Then, select Last Import at the top to view, share, or edit any of your recently-uploaded photos.