Quick Ways to Get Photos off of the iPhone

by David Wayne

The iPhone includes an 8MP iSight camera with autofocus and panoramic capability. Photos you take with your iPhone appear in the Camera Roll album, and you can export these pictures in several ways. When you connect your iPhone to a computer, your Camera Roll photos are accessible from a desktop folder, and you can import them using your PC's photo-import wizard.

Syncing With iTunes

Manage your photos in iTunes from the photo-syncing interface. When you set up syncing in iTunes, you can select a folder to store photos from your Camera Roll. If you don't already have the latest version of iTunes, download it from the Apple site (link in Resources). Connect your iPhone with its USB cable and press “Ctrl-S” to display the iTunes sidebar. Select the iPhone in the Sources list. Select the “Photos” tab and click “Sync Photos From” to choose a folder on the computer. The next time you connect the iPhone to the computer, your photos are automatically transferred to your chosen folder.

Importing From Camera Roll

Use the computer's camera-import wizard to copy pictures to your photo library. By default, the import wizard runs when you connect the iPhone to the computer, unless it has been disabled. If you aren't prompted to import photos when you connect your iPhone, click the folder icon in the taskbar, and then right-click the iPhone in the Computer section and choose “Open AutoPlay.” From the AutoPlay menu, choose “Import Photos and Videos.” The import wizard displays your photos in a preview window. Click “Import” to copy them to your Pictures directory. The next time you connect your iPhone, the import wizard runs automatically.

Uploading to iCloud

Perhaps the fastest way to export iPhone photos is to set up Photo Stream in iCloud. The iPhone includes 5GB of online storage through Apple's backup and syncing service, iCloud. Photo Stream is a feature of this service that automatically uploads photos to your account as you take them. To set up Photo Stream, tap “Settings,” “iCloud” and sign in with your Apple ID. Tap “Photo Stream” and enable “My Photo Stream.” New pictures you take are immediately accessible from any computer or iOS device. Sync Photo Stream with Windows by installing iCloud Control Panel (link in Resources). Your photos are automatically downloaded to a folder on your computer.

Using Third-Party Software

Mount the iPhone as a USB drive by installing third-party software, such as iExplorer, DiskAid or iPhone Transfer Software (links in Resources). Like iTunes, these programs provide a graphical interface for your phone's file system, but they also enable you to view your iPhone in a folder and drag photos to your desktop from Photo Stream. They include many other features -- such as the ability to export text messages and voicemail -- that you may find useful. They can almost replace iTunes since they perform all the same functions aside from backing up your device and connecting to the iTunes Store.

About the Author

David Wayne has been writing since 2010, with technology columns appearing in several regional newspapers in Texas. Wayne graduated from the University of Houston in 2005, earning a Bachelor of Arts in communications.

Photo Credits

  • Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images