How to Download Pictures From Your Cell Phone to Your Computer

by Jeff Grundy

Modern cell phones and smartphones enable you to do much more than just place voice calls; they let you browse the Web, send email and texts -- even take high-resolution pictures. In fact, many smartphones have integrated cameras that take much better pictures than digital cameras made only a few years ago. Therefore, you no longer need to carry a separate camera with you when you want to capture a special memory or moment in a photo. Once you take pictures with your phone, though, you should download them to your computer for editing, sharing and safekeeping.

Using Import Pictures and Videos Wizard

Connect the USB data cable to the cell phone and an empty USB port on the computer. Wait a few seconds for Windows to recognize the phone and display the AutoPlay window.

Click the "Import pictures and videos" option in the AutoPlay window, then the "Import Settings" link.

Click "Browse" and select a folder on your computer in which to save the photos from the cell phone. Alternatively, leave the default "My Pictures" destination folder selected.

Click the "Import" button and wait a few seconds for Windows to copy the photos from the phone to the My Pictures library or the folder you selected. After Windows copies all of the photos from the phone, a new Windows Photo Gallery window appears, displaying thumbnails of the imported images.

Disconnect the USB cable from the cell phone and the computer. Use Windows Photo Gallery to view the pictures from the phone as you normally would.

Dragging and Dropping

Open your preferred Web browser and navigate to the support website of the manufacturer of your cell phone. Download the latest USB driver for the phone and save it to a folder on your computer. Close the Web browser after downloading the USB driver.

Click "Start," then "Computer." Navigate to the folder where you saved the USB driver for your cell phone. Double-click the installation file to launch the setup wizard and then follow the onscreen instructions to install the cell phone's USB driver on the computer. Restart your computer if Windows prompts you to do so.

Connect the USB data cable to the cell phone and your computer. If the cell phone display prompts you to choose a mounting or storage option, choose "Mass Storage Device," "External Drive" or another similarly named option. Wait a few seconds for Windows to detect the memory card in the cell phone and initialize it as a removable storage device. After Windows configures the memory card in the cell phone for use with the computer, the AutoPlay window appears.

Click the "Open device to view files" option in the AutoPlay box to launch a Windows Explorer windows display the files and folders on the cell phone's memory card.

Press "Ctrl-N" to open a second Windows Explorer window. Click the "My Pictures" link in the Navigation pane of the second Windows Explorer window.

Return to the first Windows Explorer window displaying the folders on the phone. Click the "Photos" or "Pictures" folder on the cell phone memory card. Press "Ctrl-A" to highlight all of the photos.

Click one of the selected picture files and hold down the left mouse button as you drag all of the photos from the memory-card folder window to the second window displaying the My Pictures library. Windows copies the photos from the memory card to the My Pictures library.

Close the Windows Explorer windows and disconnect the USB cable from the cell phone and the computer.


  • When using the Import Pictures and Video wizard, you can enable the "Erase after importing" option to delete all of photos from the phone after copying them to the computer. To use this option, simply enable it while Windows imports the pictures from the phone.
  • With some phones, you may need to configure the storage settings before connecting to your computer. You can usually configure the memory card in the phone as a Mass Storage Device or External Drive in the Settings menu.

Items you will need

  • Phone USB data cable

About the Author

Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images