How to transfer photos from computer to iPhone

The easiest way to transfer photos from a PC to an iPhone is using iCloud, but you can also manage the process using third-party software or cloud storage. In this article we'll explain how to use iCloud to transfer your photos between a computer and an iPhone, as well as outline other ‘non-Apple’ options.

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  • Summary 1
  • iCloud 2
  • Step 1 3
  • Step 2 4
  • Step 3 5
  • Step 4 6
  • Cloud storage 7
  • Third-party software 8
  • More stories
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Step 1 of 8: How to transfer photos from computer to iPhone: Summary

It's possible to upload photos from your PC to your iPhone or iPad - or iPod touch - and the easiest way to do this is to use iCloud. Here we'll explain how to do it.

The video above shows how you can use iCloud Photo Library, Apple's latest photo synching service. This works for free if you have only a few photos and haven't used up the rest of your 5GB iCloud allocation for other things. If your photo library is larger than 5GB, you will have to pay for extra iCloud storage. Otherwise, when you try to enable iCloud Photo Library in Settings > Photos on your iPhone or iPad, you'll see a message saying you don't have enough storage to use it.

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It's possible to upload photos from your PC to your iPhone or iPad - or iPod touch - and the easiest way to do this is to use iCloud. Here we'll explain how to do it.

The video above shows how you can use iCloud Photo Library, Apple's latest photo synching service. This works for free if you have only a few photos and haven't used up the rest of your 5GB iCloud allocation for other things. If your photo library is larger than 5GB, you will have to pay for extra iCloud storage. Otherwise, when you try to enable iCloud Photo Library in Settings > Photos on your iPhone or iPad, you'll see a message saying you don't have enough storage to use it.

Step 2 of 8: Ways to transfer photos from PC to iPhone: iCloud

Apple uses iCloud, it's cloud storage and synching service, to make sure that the photos you take on your iPhone are readily available on both your computer and iPad. It’s a very useful service to have, and negates the need for cables and syncing – but what about if you wanted to put photos FROM your computer ONTO your iPhone? Is that possible? Of course it is – but the method depends on the software you use.

If your devices are running iOS 8 or later, the process is fairly straight forward due to the changes that Apple made to both its iCloud service and iOS. This essentially means that you can manage and upload your complete photo libraries via the iCloud website, which we demonstrate below.

Step 3 of 8: How to transfer photos from computer to iPhone: Step 1

To transfer photos from your PC to your iPhone, the first thing you need to do is access the iCloud website from your browser. Simply open your browser, navigate to iCloud.com and log in with your Apple ID.

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Step 4 of 8: How to transfer photos from computer to iPhone: Step 2

Once you’ve logged in to the iCloud website, click the Photos icon on the top row of apps. It’s worth noting that loading times may vary depending on the size of the library, with larger libraries taking upwards of 10 seconds to display. Also, if this is the first time you’ve accessed your Photo library from a browser, you’ll have to go through a first time setup. (In case you skipped over the intro, this will work only if you have space to spare in your iCloud drive. Most people with the free 5GB account won't have enough storage to use iCloud Photo Library and will need to cough up for extra storage space.)

Step 5 of 8: How to transfer photos from computer to iPhone: Step 3

Select photos to add to your photo library and iPhone. Once you’ve opened the Photos app and accessed your Photos library, there should be an “Upload” icon in the upper right hand corner of the page. Click this, and browse your PC for the photos you want to add to your iPhone. If you want to select multiple files at once, hold CTRL and click each photo.

Once you’ve selected the photos you want to add to your iPhone, click Open/Choose and they’ll be uploaded to your iCloud Photo Library. If you look at the bottom of the page, you’ll see a progress bar – the process is usually pretty quick, but this can depend on the amount of photos you want to add.

Step 6 of 8: How to transfer photos from computer to iPhone: Step 4

You’re done! Once the photos have been uploaded to your iCloud Photo library, they should soon also appear within the Photos app of your iPhone (if you have iCloud enabled and are connected to Wi-Fi anyway).

It’s worth noting that photos will be displayed in chronological order, so if photos you add were taken in March, you’ll have to scroll back to March to see them.

If you don’t want to use Apple’s iCloud service, there are other options available to you. Carry on reading to see a list of other options available for transferring photos from your computer to your iPhone.  

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Step 7 of 8: Alternatives to iCloud: Cloud storage

One option, if you don't mind having your photos in a different app to the stock Photos app, is to use a cloud storage service such as Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive or any of the other alternatives we recommend in our Best Cloud Storage Services roundup.

Once you install the iPhone or iPad app on your device, you then have access to all the files in your cloud account. Most allow you to mark files you want available offline so you don't need to have an internet connection to see those photos. And it's easy to copy photos stored on your PC to your Dropbox/Google or other cloud account. Then you can view them on your iPhone, download them or share them with friends.

Step 8 of 8: Alternatives to iCloud: Third-party software

We've mentioned Google Drive, but a better alternative is the Google Photos app. Not only will this automatically backup photos you take on your iPhone, but it's essentially a free alternative to iCloud that will house photos and videos from any device you link to Google Photos. Plus, you can upload photos to Google photos from your PC, so it's an easy way to transfer photo from your PC to your iPhone. Here's how to use Google Photos.

There are other programs that will let you drag and drop photos and other files to your iPhone without iTunes, but don't forget you can you use iTunes itself to upload/sync photos to your iPhone.

See also: How to download YouTube videos to your iPhone or iPad

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