Import photos and videos from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Learn how to transfer photos and videos from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your Mac or PC. We'll also show you how to make your photos available on all your devices with iCloud Photo Library.

Choose where you want to keep your photos and videos

First, decide where you want to keep your collection of photos and videos. You can make them available on all your devices with iCloud Photo Library. Or you can choose to store them locally on just your Mac or PC.

iCloud Photo Library

With iCloud Photo Library, you can access your photos and videos from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple TV, on iCloud.com, and even your PC. Your latest shots are automatically added to iCloud Photo Library, and any organizational changes or edits you make are always kept up to date across all your devices.

Before you begin:

  1. Make sure that the software is up to date on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, your Mac, and your Apple TV (4th generation).
  2. Set up iCloud on all of your devices. If you have a PC, download iCloud for Windows. Make sure that you're signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID on all of your devices.
  3. Make sure that your device is connected to Wi-Fi.

The photos and videos that you keep in iCloud Photo Library use your iCloud storage. Before you turn on iCloud Photo Library, make sure that you have enough space in iCloud to store your entire collection. You can see how much space you need and then upgrade your storage plan if necessary.

Turn on iCloud Photo Library:

  • On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings > iCloud > Photos, and then turn on iCloud Photo Library.
  • On your Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud. Click the Options button next to Photos, then select iCloud Photo Library.
  • On your Apple TV, go to Settings > Accounts > iCloud > iCloud Photo Library.
  • On your PC, follow the steps to set up iCloud Photo Library.

If you've already synced photos to your iOS device from iTunes, and then you turn on iCloud Photo Library on your iOS device, you'll see a message that says "Photos and Videos Synced from iTunes will be Removed." The photos and videos that you synced from your computer will stay on your computer, but they're removed from your iOS device.

You can get these photos and videos back onto your iOS device by turning on iCloud Photo Library on your Mac or PC. When you do that, the photos from your computer will upload to iCloud so that you can access them on all of your devices. After you turn on iCloud Photo Library, all photos are in iCloud and accessible from the Photos app on your Mac or a folder on your PC.

You can get more help using iCloud Photo Library on your Mac or PC.

Import to your Mac

You can use the Photos app to import photos from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your Mac without using iCloud Photo Library. These steps also work for importing images from digital cameras and SD cards. 

  1. Connect your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or digital camera to your Mac with a USB cable. If you're using an SD card, insert it into the SD slot on your Mac, or connect it using a card reader.
  2. You might need to unlock your iOS device using your passcode. You might also see a prompt on the iOS device asking you to Trust This Computer. Tap Trust to continue.
  3. On your Mac, the Photos app automatically opens. If it doesn't, open the Photos app.
  4. The Photos app shows an Import screen with all the photos and videos that are on your connected device. If the Import screen doesn't automatically appear, click the Import tab at the top of the Photos app, or click the device's name in the Photos sidebar.
  5. To import a selection of photos, click the ones you want, then click Import Selected. To import all new photos, click Import All New Photos.
  6. When the import is complete, a message box asks if you want to delete or keep the photos on your device. Click Delete Items to remove the photos, or click Keep Items to keep them on the device.
    If you select Keep Items, you'll have to delete them directly from your device when you want to remove them.
  7. You can now disconnect your device from your Mac. If you imported photos from an SD card or other USB device, safely eject the device first.

Imported photos appear in the Photos app's Last Import album.

Photos and videos that you sync from your computer to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using iTunes can't be imported back to your computer. 

Learn what to do if you can't import photos from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your computer.

Import to your PC

You can import photos to your PC by connecting your device to your computer and using Windows Photo Gallery:

  1. Connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your PC with a USB cable.
  2. You might need to unlock your iOS device using your passcode.
  3. You might also see a prompt on the iOS device asking you to Trust This Computer. Tap Trust or Allow to continue.

Then, follow the steps in these Microsoft knowledge base articles to learn how to import photos to Windows Photo Gallery:

When you import videos from your iOS device to your PC, some might be rotated incorrectly in Windows Photo Gallery. You can add these videos to iTunes to play them in the correct orientation.

Photos and videos that you sync from your computer to your iOS device using iTunes can't be imported back to your computer. 

Learn what to do if you can‘t import photos from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your computer.

Get photos from your computer to your iOS device

You can choose among several options for transferring photos and videos from your computer to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  • Use iCloud Photo Library with Photos for macOS or iCloud for Windows to keep your photos safely stored and up-to-date on all your devices.
  • Use AirDrop to wirelessly send photos and videos from your Mac to your iOS device. This is a quick and easy Mac-only option for sending a few items. When you send photos and videos to an iOS device via AirDrop, they appear in the device's Photos app.
  • Sync your photos manually with iTunes. Each time that you sync your iOS device with iTunes, the photos and videos on your iOS device will update to match the albums on your computer.

Learn more

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