How to transfer photos from a Mac or a PC to an iPhone

While you’re probably familiar with moving pictures from your iPhone to your computer, you might find yourself in a situation where you want to transfer them the other way. Maybe you took your DSLR with you on a trip and took a handful of photos, which you now want to keep in your Camera Roll. Or maybe you’ve stumbled on some old pictures that you want to have on your iPhone. 

Whatever the reason, it couldn’t be easier to transfer them. In this article, we’ll go over all the various ways you can transfer photos from your computer to your iPhone.


Transfer photos from a Windows PC to an iPhone

There are a couple of different ways you can go about transferring photos from your PC to your iPhone. It just depends on which of the ways you prefer. We’ll go over how to move photos using iTunes, as well as talk about a way that doesn’t require it.

Transferring a bunch of photos to your iPhone can cause a huge mess and waste a lot of iPhone storage. But, you can run Gemini Photos to quickly clean up your photo library, removing duplicates and keeping only the pics you want.

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How to transfer photos from a computer to an iPhone with iTunes

Setting up your iPhone to transfer photos using iTunes is a great way to keep your pictures in sync on both devices. Once you set it up using the steps below, you’ll be able to update the photos on either your PC or your iPhone just by plugging in your iPhone.

So here’s how you can transfer pictures from your computer to your iPhone:

  1. Plug your iPhone into your PC.
  2. Open iTunes, if it doesn’t automatically.
  3. Click on the iPhone icon in your upper left.
  4. Click on Photos in the sidebar.
  5. Check Sync Photos.
  6. In the “From” drop-down, choose either Pictures or Choose Folder.
  7. Then choose to either sync all or just selected folders.
  8. Click Apply in the bottom right corner.

There is one drawback to transferring your photos this way. When you sync your pictures, it overwrites your saved photo library on your iPhone. If you plan on syncing all your photos between your computer and your phone, then this won’t be as big of an issue. However, if you’re only trying to transfer a handful of images, then this is something you should be aware of before you start.


How to copy photos from PC to iPhone without iTunes

One of the easiest ways to move your photos without iTunes is by using iCloud. Here’s how to do that with iCloud:

  1. On your PC, download iCloud for Windows.
  2. Open iCloud for Windows.
  3. Log in using your iCloud account.
  4. Select the checkbox next to Photos.
  5. Click Apply.
  6. Open a File Explorer window.
  7. Under Favorites in the left sidebar, click iCloud Photos.
  8. Copy the photos you want to transfer to the Uploads folder.

After the photos have finished uploading, you can open the Photos app on your iPhone and see your pictures. If you don’t see them at least start to download, you might want to verify your phone has iCloud Photo syncing turned on, by going to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Photos.


Transfer photos from a Mac to an iPhone

There are multiple ways you can move pictures from your Mac to your iPhone. The most obvious one is iTunes, but if you don’t like using iTunes, we’ll go over a way to transfer your picture without the app.

How to transfer photos from Mac to iPhone with iTunes

When you sync the photos on your iPhone to your Mac, you can sync do that whether you're using the Photos app, iPhoto, or Aperture. But to set up the syncing, you'll first need to use iTunes. Follow the steps below to get started.

  1. Plug your iPhone into your Mac.
  2. Open iTunes, if it doesn’t automatically.
  3. Click on the iPhone in the top left.
  4. Click on Photos in the sidebar.
  5. Check Sync Photos.
  6. Select Photos, iPhoto or Aperture from the drop-down.
  7. Then choose to either sync all of your library or just selected albums.
  8. Click Apply in the bottom right corner.
Screenshot: How to sync photos from your Mac to your iPhone using iTunes

It may take some time to sync your photos, so some extra patience may be required. The larger the photo library, the more time it will take to transfer.


Can I AirDrop pictures from Mac to iPhone?

Yes! If you want to transfer a limited number of photos quickly, you’ll definitely want to try AirDrop. Here’s how to transfer photos from a Mac to an iPhone without iTunes:

  1. On your Mac, open the Photos app or the folder you keep photos in.
  2. Select the pictures you want to transfer.
  3. If you’re sharing pictures from Photos for Mac, click on the Share button in your upper right. If you’re in a folder on your Mac, right-click on selected photos and select Share from the menu.
  4. Click on your iPhone name.
  5. On your iPhone, an AirDrop notification pops up. Click Accept.
  6. Open the Photos app on your iPhone and your pictures will be there.
How to copy photos from Mac to iPhone using AirDrop

Moving your photos from a Mac to an iPhone can also be done by syncing all your photos to a unified iCloud Photo Library (iCloud Photos), or adding the most recent ones to My Photo Stream, also powered by iCloud. Follow the links above for more detailed tutorials.


Hopefully, now transferring photos from your computer to your iPhone will feel painless, whichever way you decide to do it. Whether you want to show someone the pictures you took with your digital camera or share the perfect old photo in a #TBT post, now you can!

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