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7 tips on how to transfer photos from your phone to your computer

Gone are the days of disposable cameras and 1-hour photo printing. With today's technological advancements, people can take instant digital pictures with the ease of their cellphones. However, taking amazing photographs with a cellphone often creates hundreds, if not thousands of pictures stored on a single device. Each image or video recording takes up a specific amount of space, and that space can quickly take over a phone's storage capacities. To both save your cherished memories and reclaim your phone's storage, you should regularly transfer your photo and video data from your phone to your computer. 

Fortunately, how to transfer photos from your phone is simple, and within this article, we will walk you through the process. No matter what type of smartphone or computer you have, one of the below options will fit your particular device requirements on how to import photos from your phone. In this article, we will discuss the following techniques: 

  • How to transfer photos from an iPhone to a PC
  • How to transfer photos from an iPhone to a Mac 
  • How to transfer photos from an Android to a Mac 
  • How to transfer photos from an Android to a PC 
  • How to transfer photos from your computer using email
  • How to transfer photos from a third party application 
  • How to transfer photos using Rosy

woman holding phone while using a laptop

How to import photos from your phone: the setup

Before you begin, make sure your computer has internet access, and every device is fully charged. There is nothing worse than trying to upload your photos, and halfway through the transfer, a device runs out of charge and you have to restart! 

With all of your devices fully charged and ready to go, it's time to learn how to import photos from your phone. First, identify if you are going to use a Universal Serial Bus (USB) cord for your upload or if you are going to try and upload them wirelessly/automatically or through a third-party application. Each data transfer has its pros and cons, but you may prefer one technique over the other. For some, it can be just a personal preference.

Check For A USB Cord 

Depending on the phone you are transferring from (iPhone vs. Android), make sure your USB cord is compatible. The USB cord was created to transfer digital data from one device to the next and it is vital to import photos this way. You may already have a USB cord in your collection (new phones typically come with one, and are used to charge your phone), but if you don't have one, you can purchase one. You can find a USB cord through your phone provider, or most stores have relatively cheap adapters that are compatible. Before you purchase, make sure you buy the type of USB cord that works with your devices to connect to your Mac or PC correctly. 

Check For Wireless Capabilities 

If you would like to skip the USB connection completely, you can learn how to import photos from your phone wirelessly. Depending on the age of your computer and your specific devices, this process can be a bit more tricky than a direct export using a USB cord. For example, if you are an Apple user, you can use Airdrop to transfer images between devices. However, when you move data between different platforms such as between an Android phone to Mac computer, there may be additional downloadables needed for the process. Try to think of it this way: Androids and iPhones speak different languages. To help them understand each other, you may need additional programs to help bridge the gap between the two platforms. It isn't too tricky, and once the proper applications are downloaded, the process is relatively straight forward.

How to transfer photos from an iPhone to a Mac

Luckily, iPhones and Macs speak the same computing language and have a built-in iCloud Photo program that simplifies the transfer process. iCloud Photo is a program that automatically uploads, stores, and dates your original, full-resolution photos from your phone. Those who have an iPhone can create an Apple ID account that links all devices with their iCloud account to keep them automatically uploading pictures and videos wirelessly. However, older iPhones or Mac models may not have the ability to connect through iCloud wirelessly, and using a USB to upload your photos is your best bet. Below are the steps to upload via USB cable: 

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac computer with the correct USB cable.
  2. The photos app on your Mac computer will automatically open when it senses your USB cable.
  3. Select File from the top left of the Menu bar and then select Import.
  4. You have the option to download every photo on your device or just a few specific images. If you want to select only particular images, hold down the command key on your keyboard while individually clicking all the pictures you want to transfer. Then click Review to begin the import.
  5. Make sure you import all of the correct photos, and once you are confirmed that they are on your computer, delete them from your iPhone to reclaim that space.  

How to transfer photos from an iPhone to a PC

Remember, when we said earlier that you might need additional programs installed to upload photos between different programming languages? This is the transfer we were talking about. It takes a few extra steps, but once those steps are met, you will never have to do them again. Get started with these steps below:

  1. Confirm that you have iTunes installed on your computer. 
  2. If not, install the program or make sure you have the most updated version.
  3. Once updated, connect your iPhone to your PC using the correct USB. 
  4. The first time you connect your iPhone to your computer, you will see a popup asking you to "Trust your computer." Tap the "Trust" or "Allow" to give your computer access to your photos. (You may have first to unlock your iPhone before you see this popup).
  5. Your iPhone should now appear as a new device under "This PC" or "Computer" (depending on the age of your computer/operating system).
  6. When you see your iPhone icon, double-click it.
  7. Select import pictures and videos using Windows. Either individually select which images you would like to import, or just choose Select All.
  8. Import.

How to transfer photos from an Android to a Mac

This transfer also takes another additional step that requires downloading an application to help move data. The Android File Transfer is a Google-made application for your Mac that lets you browse and transfer files between your Android phone and your Mac. If you want a direct transfer from Android to Mac, this is the program that needs to be downloaded and before you begin. To get started, follow the below steps: 

  1. On your Mac computer, download the Android File Transfer from the Android website. You will need to have a Mac that uses a 10.7 or higher operating system to use the app. (If you are unsure what your operating system is, follow these steps on the Mac support website).
  2. Once downloaded, double click Android File Transfer. Click okay if you prompted that the app was downloaded from the internet as a quick security check. 
  3. If the Android File Transfer program doesn't launch automatically, go to Finder > Applications and search there. 
  4. Connect your phone to your Mac via a USB cable.
  5. The Android File Transfer should open automatically. 
  6. In Android File Transfer, find the photos or files you want to transfer and drag them to your desktop. 

How to transfer photos from an Android to a PC 

Ahh, the simplicity of two devices that speak to each other! One of the more straightforward transfers between Android and PC typically takes a good USB cord or connectivity to wireless. Get started with these below steps:

  1. With your phone unlocked, connect your Android and PC using the correct USB cord. 
  2. Tap "Allow" when your phone prompts you for computer access to your Android.
  3. On your PC, your Android phone should automatically pop up, giving you an option to select. 
  4. Double-click the Android icon to open.
  5. Once your Android files are open, you can select individual photos/files to import or select all.  
  6. Choose how you want to import your data and import it.

How to transfer photos to your computer using email 

If you have wireless access and an active email account, you can transfer your photos to your computer from your smartphone. The pro to sending pictures via email is that you don't have to worry about any cords or program downloads. However, most email providers have size limitations with their video or photo data, so you may be restricted to only sending a couple of photos. Get started with these below steps: 

  1. Open your email application (Google, Yahoo, AOL, etc.) 
  2. Create a new email and add your email address as the recipient.
  3. Add a subject line that reflects the photos you are sending. 
  4. Select the paperclip icon to attach a photo. Find the right image in your gallery and confirm it's the one you want to send.
  5. Send the email. (Don't worry about adding in body text, the Photo is enough).
  6. Go back into your email, and you should find the email you sent yourself.
  7. Open the email, find and select the download icon.
  8. Once downloaded, you will want to save your photos however you have your digital photos organized.

How to transfer photos from a third party application

Another great way of transferring files between your devices is by using a cloud service. Besides iCloud that we discussed earlier, you can also look into additional services such as Dropbox or Google Drive. These third-party services allow you to upload your videos and photos from any computer or phone and then offer access across all devices. However, with these applications, be aware that your data will be stored externally, and your privacy and safety of your files/data could be jeopardized. You may also have a limited amount of storage space and will need to pay for anything additional. 

Sync Your Photos with Rosy

While Rosy is also a third-party provider, it has additional advantages for security, organization and storage within its robust platform. Rosy has the ability to help you organize all of your photographs from many devices into one specific place. No more phone, desktop or online storage solutions - Rosy will centralize all of your data providing you access to it from everywhere. Rosy also provides a safe and secure space for your photos and videos and offers additional customization options such as family sharing, photo editing, narration options, and automatic organization and filing. 

If you'd like to learn more about how Rosy can help you organize and transfer your photos from your phone, be sure to join our waitlist for the Rosy console and app launching later this year.