Many iPhone/PC users (as opposed to iPhone/Mac users) are not sure how to transfer/import/download/save their iPhone photos/videos to the PC. Worst, they think they need something like iTunes to do this supposedly simple thing. Well, it turns out that it is indeed quite simple, as simple as saying ‘Plug and Play’. In fact, I like the way Windows deals with this issue compared to Mac OSX.
In Windows, the iPhone (and presumably other iDevices) is considered one of USB devices, hence it’s treated like it!
The only limitation is that Windows is only allowed to ‘see’ the Camera Roll folder! You don’t have access to other ‘internal’ folders of the iDevices, presumably this is for our own protection, though others (read: non-iPhone users) would scream ‘Freedoommm!’ – or the lack of it that is.
So, since the iPhone is treated as a USB device, you can practically plug the USB cable from your iPhone to your PC and you are ready to transfer your photos/videos.
Be aware that while you can easily download your photos from iDevices to your desktop, the reverse is not true! You can NOT just drag and drop photos to the iPhone. So if you want to transfer photos/videos from your desktop back to iDevices please read my tips here.
In this post I want to show you 2 ways of importing the photos/videos; one is the simplest one and the other is the quickest.
Note that both techniques require a physical connection between your iDevice and the PC via the USB Cable. Each of them has its own pros and cons. You may choose which ever you see fit to your situation. You can in fact use both depending on the need.
Now let’s have a look at the simplest one first.
This is easy:
1. Plug the USB cable from the iDevice to the PC. 2. In Windows, open My Computer. 3. You should have the name of your iDevice under Portable Devices.
4. Double click on the iDevice icon. You should see the Internal Storage icon with descriptions underneath showing the total capacity of your iDevice storage and how much from that is free.
5. Double click on the Internal Storage icon. You should see the DCIM folder. This is the Camera Roll folder and as I said before this is the only folder you are able to see.
6. Double click on the DCIM icon. Now, you might see different view here, but basically you should see a bunch of folders with seemingly random name. Don’t ask me what they means, it’s something to do with maintaining the image name unique.
As you can see in my screenshot, I only have to folders, that’s because I just refreshed my iPhone and practically started over. But if you’ve had your iDevice for long you might see even more weird name folders.
7. Anyway, if you look inside each of this folder you should find your photos and videos. And from here you can just copy them to your local hard-drive. You can also delete them.
What you cannot do is to copy photos from your local hard-drive to the iDevice. You can only transfer out not in.
11. Unfortunately, and this is the drawback, there is no indication into which folder your particular photos would reside. Even looking at the Date Stamp wouldn’t help as they all seem to be stamped on the same day. Consequently, if you want to copy the last photos you just took you will need to hunt them down by opening the folder ONE BY ONE! Crazy huh!
Well fortunately there is one small trick you can do to give your sanity back!
On the DCIM folder, simply put an asterix, that is the ‘*’ symbol on the search box at the top right corner of the file explorer. This will basically show all files under all subfolders on the same page. Sanity back … done!
Unfortunately, you still can’t copy the files in batch, in fact you have to resort to Copy and Paste the photo ‘one at the time‘ because you can’t do drag and drop!
So while your sanity is back, your patience might be tested.