How do I download photos to my Apple iPhone?
I have a new Apple iPhone and am having fun with it, but I can't figure out how to download photographs or pictures onto it. Is there some trick or technique? Also, in case it makes a difference, I don't use iPhoto to manage my photo albums.
Like getting photos onto a video iPod (see how to add photos to your ipod), the only way you can add pictures to your new Apple iPhone is through iTunes. But iTunes is a bit fussy about what it will and won't sync. You can choose a "roll" of pictures from iPhoto but since you -- like me -- don't use iPhoto, you'll need a workaround to get this going.
Fortunately, it's pretty darn easy!
What I do to manage my iPhone photo album is create a new folder in my Pictures folder called "iPhone Pic Sync" and then copied the photos I wanted to have on the iPhone there (you copy a file, rather than moving it, by holding down the Option key while dragging and dropping):
Notice here that I not only have a new folder in my Pictures directory, but I also dragged the folder onto the left navigational shortcuts area in the Finder too, so the folder is easily accessible anywhere I'm working on my Mac. Saves finding that folder again, ya know!
Now you can simply drag and drop images in that you'd like to have on your phone and eventually you'll have a nice little library, as I do:
When you have a bunch of pics you like, hook up your iPhone to your computer and after it autosyncs, it'll show you the Summary view of how things are set up:
Click on the "Photos" tab here and by default it'll offer up the ability to sync your iPhoto library:
You don't want that, though, you want to choose "Select Folder..." from that pop-up and select the new iPhone photo sync folder. Once you do that, it'll look like this:
That's all there is to it. Click on "Sync" and you'll see that iTunes is smart, it even adjusts images to work optimally on the iPhone. The sync flies past:
and now your iPhone has a spiffo new photo library of the images you desire.
Want to add or delete images? Just add or delete them to your new iPhone Pic Sync folder and they'll automatically be synchronized with your iPhone every time you plug it in.
Still learning about your iPhone? We have lots of iPhone help here on the site!
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Reader Comments To Date: 148
If i sync a folder will it automatically erase the photos i have taken on my phone?
these instructions for how to synch photos from iphone to mac do not work for me. I have done these steps but then on my Finder folder under iPhone Pic Synch i get a folder created and called iPod Photo Cache and then a whole bunch of folders called F00 - F50 with this folder called Photo Database and this error Last login: Mon Jul 21 10:47:16 on ttys000
sc0102a-dhcp175:~ debbieg$ /Users/debbieg/Pictures/iPhone\ Pic\ Sync/iPod\ Photo\ Cache/Photo\ Database ; exit;
-bash: /Users/debbieg/Pictures/iPhone Pic Sync/iPod Photo Cache/Photo Database: cannot execute binary file
Great! Thanks for this, was really stuck with a seemlingly simple task.
These instructions don't work for me either. Is it because I'm on a PC and these instructions are Mac? In the folder iPhone Pic Synch all I get is a folder created and called iPod Photo Cache and then a whole bunch of folders called F00 - F45 and a small file called "Photo Database". Meanwhile, the pics on the iPhone have not been updated with the pix I put in the iPhone Pic Synch folder.
Turns out it worked. The pics are on my iPhone in the "Photos" application. I was looking at the "Camera" app in the camera roll.
Thanks for the tips.
thanks for this! it worked for me the first time but the next time i plugged in my iphone and went to the photos tab in itunes to update the folder i had created i got this message, "Are you sure you want to sync photos? All existing photos and albums on the iPhone will be replaced with photos and albums from the current photo library."
i don't want to lose the photos that i have taken with my phone (the "camera roll") and it doesn't give me the option to choose the folder. any suggestions? i find it all rather confusing!
With the latest 2.X firmware, you can download photos from Safari by holding your finger on any image.
The photo then appears under 'photos' on the ipod.
I've had an iphone for about 4 months, and have always been able to move pictures from it to my pc by syncing phone with computer. Now, when I sync, it updates contacts, calendar, etc. but not pictures. What am I doing wrong? Thanks for any help you can give me!!!
How do you sync ringtones on the new iphone3g and NOT end up with duplicates on the phone itself - despite m4r files showing and playing uniquely in iTunes?
hi i have iphone 2g i cant see any pictures when i use wifi on my iphone in my mails i am having already in my inbox,
I'm still confused...How can you transfer pics from my windows based pc to my 2g iphone...I have cydia, safari and installer on the phone...I'm better with stereo's than software...Thanks
how do i transfer photos from mac TO camera
Ok not sure if anyone cares but I found a way to get photos not taken with iPhone to show up in camera roll. Previously to getting my iPhone I had sent an mms text to my email as the recipient, I checked my email from my iPhone (the app at the bottom) open the email viewed the photos and then had 3options 1of which wAs save files, which were 3 photos , they then were now in my camera roll. Sorry if this is old news it's just that I read somewhere that any photos not taken with iPhone u could not get to show up in camera roll, you can only access th through photos app. Not that it's that big of a deal however someone did ask how to get photos not taken with iPhone into camera roll and so eons replied if could not be done. And if photos are in roll, when u sync there is no chance of losing those photos as there is when they are in regular photos app. Ttfn
My iPhone 3G has only connected in the wifi I have in my home once, did I hit some setting I should not have? It does not even see that I have a wifi any more
Another way to take photos off your iPhone is a simple app: WiFiPhoto. You can pick and download multiple photos in a single zipped file to any computer over a network in wifi. You can set compression quality to best fit your needs. Hope it helps.
EASY!!! Thank you! I have a PC and I did not have a problem at all!
I like your approach, Dave, and linked to it on my blog about iPhone photo management at occmac.blogspot.com.
tring to download pics from cuddyback camera trap,SMI card directly to iphone...is it possible?
need to transfer pics from sd card to iphone. thanks...dave
I have a new iphone 3gs. I did everything you said and I cannot get the folders to show up after I go to the sync summary. I don't even get the iPhoto folder. All I get is a Pictures folder. I sure hope you can help. I am lost. Here I am with this great new tool and can't figure out how to bless the grandparents with photos of the kids when we're together.
One additional note to my iphone dilemma of not being able to make the folders show up on the summary. I did add subfolders to my IPhone sync folder would that matter? I tried taking some of the photos out of the sub folders, but the iPhone Sync folder does not show up-NONE of them show up. ): So sad. Hope you can help! Sweet regards, Fudge4u
Good news! I figured it out. I was missing the step that says "Select Folder" It actually says "Choose Folder" on my computer. As soon as I did that it gave me a window to click on the folders. Thanks so much for your very precise directions. I just had to reread it more slowly to get my answer. It is most kind of you to post these for people. Thanks for being such a nice guy.
Worked like a charm! Thanks so much!
What up dave
I just bought me a 3G Iphone this week.I am going to Jamaica Dec 10 thru Dec 20. I want to use my Digicel sim cardin my Iphone. The Digicel sim card works great in my Palm Treo 750
I have a PC and have previously been able to transfer pictures from my Camera Roll on my Iphone to my PC. All of a sudden my computer does not recognize my device when I connect it. It automatically connects itunes and syncs but I do not want to sync until I am able to put the camera roll pictures on my pc.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, finally a real solution that a monkey can understand... AND you can categorise images into folders within the iPhone Pic Sync and it appears on the iphone. I have done away with iphoto, which is incredibly moody and temperamental... for the simplicity that it brags, I have found it to be quite a pain in the rear.
Also done away with extracting images from iPhone using preview and image capture (which are equally pains in the rear) as my iPhone doesn't always show up depending on how many photos I have on the iPhone (is 1838 images a problem?) or the kind of photos I have (file format NOT subject)... issues seem to arise either through quantity or file kind??? who knows, so have bought PhotoToMac ($2.49 from app store) and haven't looked back, don't need a cable either just any wifi connection and a shared folder will do. Both issues solved, now I can get on with living my life.
Also thanks to the person above who explained how to move a photo into Camera Roll, great tip, thanks.
I plugged in my iphone and went to the photos tab in itunes to update the folder i had created i got this message, "Are you sure you want to sync photos? All existing photos and albums on the iPhone will be replaced with photos and albums from the current photo library."
i don't want to lose the photos that i have taken with my phone (the "camera roll") and it doesn't give me the option to choose the folder. any suggestions?
It is poorly worded, but you won't lose the photos you've taken with your phone itself, that just affects the other photo albums...
Thanks Dave I really appreciate your help.
How do I use the music from my itune library as my ringtone?I need your advice badly. Thanks
I have several folders besides the Comera Roll folder. The other folders have pictures i don't want people to see. Is there a way to lock certain picture folders on the iPhone 3Gs?
Olu, you basically can't do that without a lot of work. If you're on a Mac, there is a way to use GarageBand to turn music into a ringtone, but honestly, for my iPhone, I just use a third-party ring tone app called iToner (see ambrosiasw.com).
Michael, I don't know of any way to password protect photo albums, but check the app store, there might well be an app that offers that kind of security. Now about those nude photos of your girlfriend... :-)
Every time I try to sync photos it wants to do a full backup/sync of my phone first. This is annoying and unnecessary. Immediately upon clicking sync on the bottom inside the photos tab the progress bar in the top of my iTunes window begins copying my applications (basically it starts a full sync)--with over 150 apps this is not something I want to do every time I want to add a few photos. I know you can't simply drag & drop pictures like you can with songs (oh how I wish you could), but is there a way to add pictures without syncing and backing up all 30 GB of my phone?
What format photos and size are downloadable into one's Iphone:.Tiff; .jpeg only, etc. Thanks for the great page.
Glad everyone likes their iphone. I found the task of updating to be nothing as described by Apple and ridiculously time consuming. During a recent connection to my pc to do a backup and update, it deleted ALL of my pics and ALL of my 137 contact info! NEVER again will I plug this damn thing in for an update, I just don't have the time for this crap! Thank God these incompetent software clowns do not build cars... they'd be putting millions of people in the hospital!
Thank you for the very helpful info, saved a lot of time and frustration.
This worked fine. But I cant seem to transfer pics from my photo albums in iphone to other PCs. Transferring the pics from the camera roll is easy breezy.. but from photo album to PC is quite a challenge. Any solution?
Here's a good question. I had the unfortunate issue of my hard drive crashing! Iam a photographer and had invested a lot of time sizing images and creating folders for them. SO now those originally sized images and folders are no more but they are on my phone. I've tried several methods to access these images with no luck. iTunes doesn't show them on it drop down listing for the phone. iTunes only sees the camera roll as well as all other programs I have tried. ANY IDEAS?
Thank you Sir.
Hey Dave, thanks for solving the riddle for me! It took some mucking around, but I finally got there. There's a Grande Soy Chai coming your way - I threw in one for your life partner, too, but it's up to you whether you share or not!! Have a fab day. x
Hi, I might be being an idiot, but I have no 'photo' tab on my iTunes, so I can't follow your instructions. Under "Jeff's iPhone", I have 'music', 'movies', and 'tvshows' but no tab for 'photos', nor do I have one under the summary. What's going on?
Jeff, I'm sure you're not an idiot. :-) Are you looking on the left column or have you clicked on your iPhone in the left column and are then looking at the set of tabs that show up along the top of the iTunes window? (yeah, the UI could do with a bit of tweaking)
Both, Dave. On the left hand column, after clicking on my phone, my options are 'music, movies, tv shows'.
On the top of the window, after clicking on the phone, the options, in order from left to right, are 'summary, info, applications, ringtones, music, movies, tv shows, podcasts, iTunes U'.
The iTunes screem seems to stop a bit abruptly to the left, and I wonder if there would be a 'photos' tab beside iTunes U, but there's no left to right scroll bar, I can't drag the screen further, and my screen resolution is at max.
I've googled this problem a bit, and it seems to be somewhat common, but I haven't found a straight answer yet. Thanks!
Oops, I meant it stops abruptly to the right of the screen.
Really helpful - Thanks a lot!
what if i want to add pics from another computer like my work pc or a pc with out itunes? THIS IS WHY APPLE & ITUNES SUCKS BALLS AND THE MAIN REASON I WILL NEVER BUY ANYTHING FROM APPLE!
We just released Photo Transfer, an iPhone app that lets you transfer photos from your computer to your iPhone or iPod touch over wifi.
The app it's very simple to use and makes transferring photos super easy without having to use iTunes. You can also transfer photos from your iPhone to your computer or from one iPhone to another.
I hope you can check it out and find it useful:
Let us know if you have any comment or suggestions.
Photo Transfer App
Hi, I might be being an idiot, but I have no 'photo' tab on my iTunes, so I can't follow your instructions. Under "Jeff's iPhone", I have 'music', 'movies', and 'tvshows' but no tab for 'photos', nor do I have one under the summary. What's going on?
I got the same problem. I solved the problem by expanding the Itunes (and so Iphone) window which then will show all the tabs beyond Itune-U on the right side. You can do expand the window by going to "window tab" of Itunes menu bar on the top and select "Zoom". This will show all the tabs for iphone sync.
I got 2 more tabs; Books and photo.
Thanks, your advice is great and EASY to follow.
Thanks for the info. you make it so simple to understand.
The problem with this workaround is that for every photo you want to have on your iPhone you have to have a duplicate on your PC in a special "iPhones photos" folder as well as the original photo stored elsewhere on your computer. You can't delete photos from your specialist "iPhones photos" folder or else when you sync up with your iPhone it will also delete those photos from your iPhone.
Personally I don't want to create an extra folder on my PC specially for my iPhone photos. And I shouldn't have to. I should be able to just transfer a bunch of select photos (from different folders if I want) from my PC to my iPhone without all this faffing about with workarounds and this syncing bullsh**.
I'm amazed Apple don't just provide drag and drop photo transferring. It's insane that with the most advanced phone in the world you can't just drag and drop photos on and off've it.
P.S: I'm having a go at Apple here, not the writer of this article, as obviously the writer is just trying to help, and evidently has helped, various people.
Come on, Apple, sort your sh** out.
Thank you very much for your post.
My hard drive crashed and I have a ton of photos in the "photo library" in iPhone, none of those pics are in camera roll, how can I move them to my new hard drive? Thank you!
Thank's. Your article very usefull...
I have a brand new iPhone4, and I am a new iPhone user. I managed to download a lot of photos from my Mac, though directly (not via a special folder, but from existing folders under Photos). I also hate iPhoto. They are on the iPhone, but the photo app on my phone won't show them, it just says there are no photos or albums. I can use them as wallpaper, and some automatically attached themselves to appropriate Contacts, but I can't see them as photos! Help!
I have sync iphone a lot of times and had no issues. Now what has happend is i had to change my hard disc for some reason.
i had backup all the data and copied again on the new hard disc. i use windows.
i have downloaded itunes again the latest version.
Now when i have tried to sync, the message i get is that the data ie applications, photos, songs, videos all will be replaced by data on the computer. but i do not have all that data on my computer.
i am more concerned about the applications & the data i have in the applications.
how do i copy the data from iphone to a blank harddisk lets say using itunes.
Elizabeth, did anyone reply to your question? I'm having the same issue and it's driving me crazy! Thanks!
Hmmm.... trying to understand what's going on, Elizabeth and Jeffery. When you're looking at Photos on your iPhone, you understand that there are both Albums ad Events, and they're different, right? If you're looking at an Album, click on the "Albums" button on the top left corner to make sure you step back to where other albums might be displayed...
Good luck, I have to say that I do wish there was a nicer photo management tool for iPhones. I use Aperture, and it's *still* confusing.
Hi Dave - I have an iphone 3gs, but just updated my software to 4.0 so, now when I look on itunes, I can see that I have about 900 pics, but only 30 miscellaneous pictures show on my phone. I have synced several times with no luck. The back up and software update took forever, but everything else worked fine. I just can't see my pictures.
can you help me i've just got an iphone i put itunes on my laptop but i don't say owt about photos. what do i do. cheers
I think it works differently in this part of the world....firstly there is no "Photos" options in my iTunes store...hence no chance to sync photos...iPhone is a bit handicapped at getting information from any other devices...
Please, i have the Iphone 1g and everything is syncing ok on my PC, but the folder of photos I took on the I phone 'Camera Roll' is not syncing? never did, or at least im cant view ITHMB file formats on my PC. As I cant find this on my computer, I do find the folder ipod photo cache.
I used to be able to just to to 'my computer' and see that the computer recognized my Iphone, and then I could move or copy my photos over to my PC, in JPG format. But now for some reason, its not working since about June 2010. My computer is XP , i also connected it to another PC with Windows 7, it found the iphone but said there are no photos accessible?
Hey, i just kept trying with the Itune preferences, changes alot and somehow, my iphone is now recognized my phone, infact my computer gave me a listing of 4 programs that could open the folder and view the files. :)
so all ok, now :)
Hey, anyone can help me with this Iphone 1g, i used in in the USA for 2 years, and then when my vodafone contract ended, i stopped using it, then I moved to Europe and seems that it doesnt work here,, as I cant use another 'Carrier'. I just had a friend crack the phone, but now its always asking me to update the firmware, but I did this once and then the phone stopped working. Any advice or comments?
Worked Like a Champ For ME!!!! THANKS!!
"I have a brand new iPhone4, and I am a new iPhone user. I managed to download a lot of photos from my Mac, though directly (not via a special folder, but from existing folders under Photos). I also hate iPhoto. They are on the iPhone, but the photo app on my phone won't show them, it just says there are no photos or albums. I can use them as wallpaper, and some automatically attached themselves to appropriate Contacts, but I can't see them as photos! Help!
Posted by: Elizabeth at June 27, 2010 2:31 AM"
Elizabeth, I too have exactly this problem using the new iPhone 4 - I can select them as wallpapers but they show up nowhere else. I think this system breaks on the iPhone 4 for some reason.
David & Elizabeth, please make sure that you have things configured properly in iTunes on the "Photos" tab when you're looking at how things are set up for sync with your iPhone plugged in. Good luck. :-)
Everything is configured correctly. I was actually using your technique over a year ago on my previous iPhone with no problems, I picked up the new iPhone 4 and it simply doesn't work with it - the images show up under the wallpaper settings and can be used as such but do not show up in photos at all.
Your advice for "How do I download photos to my Apple iPhone?" worked great for me, but how do I view them once they are transferred? Where do I find them?
Thanks!! This worked perfectly. :)
Okay, I have an issue: I upgraded from an iPhone 3G to a iPhone 3GS. I have no problems transferring/syncing my photos from my computer to my phone, but they seem to be resized so small that when I veiw them on my iPhone, the images are pixilated and grainy. I never had this problem on my 3G, only on the 3GS. I've tried deleting them from the iPhone and re-transferring them, but that did not fix the problem. Any suggestions?
Thank you ever so much pal! You're a genius! Great tip.
Connect I Phone, ignore i tunes and click on my computer there you will see your I-Phone just onen the file select the photos and copy and paste onto PC....
Hi. Thanks for a great tutorial!
I supoort the input posted by Jon at May 20, 2010 5:34 AM.
I too feel that it's a problem that I need to have a duplicate on my harddrive of every photo that I want to put on my iPhone.
I tried this: in my "iPhone Photo Sync" folder I place a folder alias pointing to another folder containing the photos I want on my iPhone. This was to prevent making a copy and to make it easy to keep my "iPhone Photo Sync"-folder syncronized with that other folder - so the contents always match.
But I can't make it work. iTunes and iPhone will not read the folder alias and doesn't display the photos in the folder pointed to...
Can anyone offer a workaround or a solution to this?
it took me ages and every one else never explained it as good as u !!!!!1
"PhotoSync for Lazy" is a new app that wirelessly and automatically synchronizes photos from PC to iPhone.
Just wanted to say thanks for a very helpful article!
You can connect the USB cable directly to the PC and get the pop-up as shown in the below URL. I was doing like suggested by many but in vain. Luckily the solution in below URL gives solution on where most of them go wrong. If you dont log in the password i found the pop doesnt come up.
hope it helps some of you...
I am also trying to get photos from my PC to my iPhone. As far as I can tell I have done all the right steps. However, no photos appear on my iphone in the photos nor camera icon.
@Tam : I have the same problem. I did everything like it's sad, but photos are not appearing in "Photos" or "Camera"
BUT, i can find them and see folders in Settings when I'm seting my wallpaper...
What to do? Heelp! :)
I have an older IPOD and have down loaded many pictures in the past, now cannot remember how to do it. ITunes does not seem to help me and I cannot seem to create a folder. It asks if I want to import but does not find the pictures. Won't let me copy/past or drag and drop. Any ideas would be appreciated. thanks, Carol
I am not familiar with the mac yet, how do you create the folder in the Pictures directory? Thanks!
I was successful transferring my photos from my mac to my iPhone4 using your clear instructions, however, i noticed that I can use those photos for all functions that are available to "camera roll" except the Delete function. Delete function is not available for the photos transferred from mac to iPhone. Is there a way around this? Am I missing something?
Also, when I transferred two sets of photos in two different folders using iphoto and itune from my mac to iphone4, in addition to placing the two folders as individual albums the phone also generated another album called "Photo Library" the contents of which is the compilation of all photos in my two other albums i just transferred. This consequently takes up twice as much room in my iphone and I cannot get rid of it. Would you happen to know why iphone generates that additional album? is there a way to delete the photo library and leave the individual albums?
Also, though not as critical as the issues above, I noticed that I can only transfer the photos in folders whether there is just one photo or several photos in the folder, can single photos be transferred to iphone without having to place them in folders?
I just activated my Verizon iphone 4 and these instructions are not applicable anymore. When you have your iphone plugged into the computer, make sure you're viewing your iphone under "Devices" and it will show the Summary tab. Then just click on the Photos tab, which should be on the far right. If you have it set to manual sync (which I do), then you just click on "Synch Photos" and you can select which photos to transfer. It will even show you how much memory the transfer will take before you verify it. Couldn't be simpler, another excellent product.
Thanks for the update, Alan. Makes me think I should get a Verizon iPhone so I can add new, updated how-to articles. Hmm....
I did this and got a new photo library on my iPhone 4. However it erased all the photos in the cameraroll!! Just the pictures, not the thumbnails!!! so they appear to be there till you try to look at one. Good job I'd copied them off as a remote drive earlier. I'm using Win7 Pro via VirtualBox 4 on a Linux Ubuntu 10.10 machine. Never trust Microsoft with your hardware, lol
my laptop doesnt have all this i try to download them all but it says i have no pictures or vidios on it could you please help me im trying to work this thing and im struggling :S
I have a new Iphone(s)
I had alot of photos on the 1st one...
someone "helped" me & told me to "synch" my photos (1st phone) when I get home...I did
plugged in new phone...now my pictures are all on albums....where is my camera roll....I loved camera roll....albums don't let me get rid of pictures I never wanted on my new phone..
how do i sync pictures to my iphone 4?
i've tried to sync it through photos tab
but i cant....
i always get the revert and apply button while i sync. when i click apply... i get the instruction that tells me i will delete all my apps...
what should i do?
can u please teach me step by step?
Thank you so much! Worked great and solved my problem.
That's genius! Thank you.
Finally.. thank you! Cant believe something so simple took me a google search to figure it out! Cheers for this.
Doesn't work with my iphone 4. Do exactly to instructions and it says it's syncs the 4 photos but the don't appear in my camera role :(
Apple care with help me for £61... don't think that's an option as I think it might be their fault
Just got some free help from apple and found out my photos were actually syncing :)
I was checking my camera roll but the images were under "photos" on the iphone which is different from the camera roll :)
Dave, look around on google. Tons of people having a problem with syncing pc/mac photos to iphone. Think it would be a good idea to do an article on this problem. People think they're not syncing when they actually are. they're just looking in the wrong place like I was!!
I do have a lot to say, and questions of my own for that matter, but first I'd like to say thank you, Dave, for all your helpful information by
buying you a cup of coffee!||
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