[Best Ways] How to Transfer Photos from Computer to iPhone

Last Updated on January 13, 2023 by Joanna Lake

Unlike the old days, phones have become the best way for us to share our photos and thoughts. Although you can take photos with an iPhone, Camera is a better way to capture the moments. Furthermore, on desktop, you have much better photo retouching software than on iPhone, like Lightroom, Photoshop, Luminar and more.

Let’s say you just finish editing a picture with Photoshop on your computer and want to transfer it to your iPhone for sharing to Instagram, Pinterest, or maybe Facebook.

How can you do it?

The first tool that occurs to you is iTunes. Well, iTunes can help you transfer photos from a computer to your iPhone. However, it may cause data loss due to the fact that its transferring mechanism is to replace your files other than adding. And the most intolerable thing is it is quite complicated and time-consuming to use iTunes to transfer photos from PC to your iOS devices.

For those who are looking for a safer and more convenient way to transfer photos to an iPhone, this tutorial will introduce 6 methods to you. Each one of them can help you transfer photos from Windows or Mac to your iPhone without data loss. You may pick up one and start the transfer with ease.

Method 1. Transfer Photo from Computer to iPhone with iPhone Transfer

No doubt we need a good professional transfer that can help us to transfer photos with simple operation and bring great experience. I will introduce iCareFone - a trustworthy and professional iPhone Transfer.

For those who care about convenience and reliability of transferring photos between desktop and iPhone, it is the choice. It offers personalized and more advanced services. Unlike iTunes, this iPhone Transfer will never overwrite the data on your iPhone and cause data loss.

Beisdes transfer photos, it’s able to transfer almost all data types between Windows/macOS and your iPhone. Yes, it is a comprehensive Mobile Phone Data Manager with great speed and wide device support range - like Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 7, macOS, Android 12.

Step 1: Download and install it to your PC.

iPhone Transfer (Win)
iPhone Transfer (Mac)
iPhone Transfer (Win)
iPhone Transfer (Mac)

Step 2: Connect iPhone and computer. Open the program, you’ll see some information about your iPhone/iPad. Then select Photos on the interface, you will see all the photos on your device.

Step 3: Choose ImportSelect File/Select Folder, then navigate the browser to those photos, click the OK button to continue.

After a few seconds, you’ll find the photos on your iPhone/iPad.

Tip 1: You’re available to add photos to a specific album on your iPhone. Just click Album from the left menu and then click Import to transfer photos to your iPhone album.

Besides, it would be pretty easy to export data from iPhone to your Mac/PC. Such as, one-click to export photos and export the ringtone to your computer. Feel free to have a try!

iPhone Transfer (Win)
iPhone Transfer (Mac)
iPhone Transfer (Win)
iPhone Transfer (Mac)

Method 2. Transfer Photo from Computer to iPhone with iCloud Photos

Another method is using iCloud Photos, which is able to automatically sync the photos on the PC/Mac and iPhone/iPad.

Once you’ve turned on the iCloud photos on the desktop and mobile devices, the photos on your computer will show on iPhone/iPad and other devices signed with the same Apple ID.


1. All your photos will be uploaded to iCloud, you had better organize them regularly, or it will easily reach the limit of free storage(5GB).

2. If you have completely deleted a photo on one of devices, then you can’t view the image on all devices.

How to Turn on iCloud Photos on PC

1. Download and install iCloud for Windows.

2. Open the program and sign in to your Apple account. Select the Options… on the right of Photos.

How to Turn on iCloud Photos on Mac

Unlock your Mac, select the Apple icon on the menu bar. Then choose System PreferenceApple IDiCloud, and tick the checkbox of Photos.

How to Turn on iCloud Photos on iPhone/iPad

Open Settings app, swipe down and tap the Photos, and toggle on iCloud Photos.

After that, when your iPhone/Mac connects to WiFi, the photos will be automatically uploaded to your iCloud and downloaded to other devices including iPhone, iPad, and PC/Mac.

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Method 3. Transfer Photo from Computer to iPhone with a Cloud Drive

Unable to use iCloud but want to wirelessly transfer photos from computer to your iPhone/iPad. Here is another method – transfer with Cloud Drive (such as iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc), because it will provide more storage than iCloud to store some vital photos and files.

Therefore, once we upload the photos from the computer to a cloud drive then we can download them to our iPhone/iPad anytime.

Steps to transfer photos from computer to iPhone/iPad with a cloud Drive are similar, here we will take iCloud drive for example.

Step 1: Upload Photos from Computer to iCloud Drive

First, visit iCloud Drive on your computer, sign in with your Apple ID, then select the upload icon on the top of the website. A file browser will present, navigate its photos' location, then just select photos and click the Open button. Those photos will be quickly uploaded.

Step 2: Download Photos from iCloud Drive to iPhone/iPad

Unlock your iPhone/iPad, open the Files app, swipe down then you will find them. Open it and tap the share icon at the bottom left, touch Save Image, and you can view them on the Photos app.

Method 4. Transfer Photos from Computer to iPhone with WhatsApp Web

Other than a cloud drive, WhatsApp can also serve as a photo transfer for your iPhone and PC thanks to its web version. And the steps are quite easy, read here:

  1. On your computer, open WhatsApp Web.
  2. Then, take out your iPhone and launch WhatsApp, scan the QR code on the WhatsApp Web page to sign in.
  3. Next, create a personal Group with you as the only member.
  4. Transfer the photos from your computer to this group to not spam your friends.

Now, you can see all the target photos in the WhatsApp Group on your iPhone. To add them to Photos, long-press each and save them to your iPhone. Note that the only caveat of this method is the loss in image quality due to WhatsApp’s compression.

Method 5. Transfer Photo from Computer to iPhone by Sending Email

When you send an Email, the photos in it will be sent as attachments, and we can download the photos from this Email to our device. So, it’s capable of sending an Email to yourself with some photos on your computer and saving them to your iPhone.

You may be wondering ‘How can I send an Email to myself’, well, it’s easy to solve that. Sign up to another Email address and transfer photos between this new one and the old one. This is what you need:

  1. Prepare 2 Email addresses. Sign in one on your PC and another on your iPhone.
  2. Send an Email on your PC with photos as attachments. Set the Email address on your iPhone as the target.

In this way, you can access the computer photos on your iPhone via Email. Remember to download the photos from this Email onto your iPhone.

Method 6. Transfer Photo from Mac to iPhone/iPad with AirDrop

If you’re a Mac user, then you shouldn’t miss AirDrop, an original feature for directly transferring iPhone data (such as photos, music, files) between Apple devices.

First, make sure the Bluetooth and WiFi of the iPhone/Mac are on, and both devices should be discoverable.

Then open Finder on your Mac, move to the menu bar and select GoAirDrop. Next, you will see AirDrop showing up, and you will see your iPhone/iPad on the interface.

Now just drag the photos from the folder to your iPhone, and the transfer will complete for a while. You will see photo prompts on your screen.

Also, if you are a Windows user and want a similar tool of AirDrop, you can take a look at the transfer application that is able to transfer photos between PC and mobile devices.

Want to know which method is your favorite? Here is a comparison, let’s check it out.

Method/ParameterRequire to download an extra app on Computer & iPhoneComplexityOverwrite media library / Data lossCompression / Quality loss for image filesLimitations
iPhone TransferYesEasyNoNoA USB cable is needed.
iCloud PhotosPC needs, while Mac won’t.MediumYesNoFree iCloud Storage is only 5 GB.
Cloud DriveYesMediumNoPossibleYou need a account of the service
WhatsAppYesMediumNoYesFor every transfer, you must sign in to WhatsApp Web.
E-mailNoMediumNoNoThe size of attachments is strictly limited. For G-mail, it’s 250MB.
AirDropNoEasyNoNoNot compatible with Windows and Mac that were produced in 2011.


1Can I drag and drop photos from my computer to my iPhone?

Yes, with the iCloud that is installed on your Windows PC, you can drag and drop photos from a computer to an iPhone.

If you’re asking whether you can do the photo transfer without any apps but with the Windows Drag&Copy feature, then, the answer is NO.

2How do I transfer photos from my computer to my iPhone using a USB drive?

Go to Amazon and search ‘iPhone Memory Stick’ or ‘iPhone USB drive’ to get yourself a USB drive that is perfectly designed for iOS devices.

When you have one in hand, insert it into your computer and import computer photos to it. Then, plug the stick into your iPhone and transfer photos to your iPhone.

3How do I get my computer to recognize my iPhone?

To make your computer recognize your iPhone is pretty easy.

First, take out a compatible USB cable and insert your iPhone into the computer. Then, unlock your iPhone and tap the ‘Trust’ button on the screen.

If you’ve installed iTunes on your computer, it will launch automatically when your computer recognizes your iPhone.

4Why can’t I copy photos from my computer to iPhone?

If you fail to copy photos from a computer to your iPhone, try these methods to fix it:

  • Switch to another USB cable.
  • Try to plug the USB cable into another USB port on your PC.
  • Upgrade iTunes to the latest version.
  • Unlock your iPhone and go to SettingsGeneral ResetReset Locate & Privacy. Then, reconnect your iPhone to the PC.
  • Get your PC to recognize the iPhone properly.

If these methods still couldn’t retrieve the photo transferability of your PC and iPhone, try using iCloud and Google Photos.

5How do I transfer files from a computer to an iPhone via Bluetooth?

First, turn on the Bluetooth on your iPhone and computer. Note that if your desktop isn't shipped out with a Bluetooth feature, you may purchase an external Bluetooth adapter on Amazon.

Then, go to Start Devices Bluetooth & Other devices, there, select Send or Receive files via Bluetooth.

Next, pair your computer to your iPhone and click Browse to select the files to transfer to the iPhone. Hit Next to finish the transfer.