So, you’re ready to sell your iPhone! Before you do, you’ll have to prep the phone for its new owner, but where exactly should you start?

If you’re like most folks, the Photos app probably takes up most of the storage on your iPhone. These countless pictures and videos hold precious memories that you’d want to keep, even as you’re parting with the device that captured them. Luckily, there are various ways for you to transfer your photos from your phone onto your computer for safekeeping. Keep reading to find out how!

Why it’s important to transfer photos from your iPhone to your computer 

In general, regularly transferring photos from your iPhone to your computer is a great habit to start. Having backup files on an additional device provides an extra layer of security. If there’s an unfortunate incident involving your phone, you don’t have to worry about losing all of your photos because you already have them on your computer!

This practice is also crucial if you want to sell your iPhone. Before you sell your phone, you’ll have to clear out your entire device by performing a factory reset. This deletes your phone’s data so that the buyer gets a device that is free of your personal information—as if it’s straight out of the factory! In order for you to not lose your photos and videos during the reset, you’ll have to import all of those files onto your computer first.

The process is quite simple, essentially just involving your USB cable and no extra software. It does vary slightly depending on whether you have a PC or Mac, which will be covered below! There are also wireless options for transferring your photos to your computer, such as AirDrop and iCloud.

How to transfer photos from your iPhone to your PC or Mac 

The steps to transfer photos from your phone onto your computer or laptop will depend on whether you have a PC or Mac.

Transferring photos from your iPhone to a PC 

Using the Windows Photos App 

  1. Connect your iPhone to your PC using a USB charging cable.
  2. If asked, unlock your iPhone and allow your computer access to your photos. If you don’t have iTunes installed on the PC, you’ll see a popup on your iPhone asking to allow the computer access to your photos and videos. If you do have iTunes installed, it will ask whether to trust this computer. Tap Allow or Trust.
  3. The Windows Photos app should automatically launch. If it doesn’t, then open the program manually from the Start menu or by looking it up in the search bar. 
  4. Click Import and then select From a USB device in the top right corner of the Photos app. A window will prompt you to select the items you want to import. You can select all of your photos and videos or individually check-mark specific files you want to transfer. Press continue.
  5. Review (and modify, if needed) the details shown on the resulting pop-up window and then click Import. Here you can pick where the photos will be imported and how they will be organized. You can also select the option to have the photos automatically deleted from your iPhone after importing.
  6. Let your devices complete the transfer before you disconnect your iPhone.

Using File Explorer or Windows Explorer

  1. Connect your iPhone to your PC using a USB charging cable.
  2. If asked, unlock your iPhone and allow your computer access to your photos. If you don’t have iTunes installed on the PC, you’ll see a popup on your iPhone asking to allow the computer access to your photos and videos. If you do have iTunes installed, it will ask whether to trust this computer. Tap Allow or Trust.
  3. Open File Explorer on your PC.
  4. Locate your connected iPhone device. It should be listed under This PC.
  5. Right-click on your iPhone and select Import pictures and videos from the drop-down menu. If you’d like to transfer all of your photos and videos, select Import all new items now and click the Import button. Otherwise, you can select the Review, organize, and group items to import option, click Next, and select the specific photos and videos that you want to transfer onto your computer.
  6. The Pictures folder should open automatically once it has finished importing!

Transferring photos from your iPhone to a Mac 

Using the Photos app 

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a USB charging cable.
  2. Open up the Photos app on your Mac.
  3. An Import screen should automatically display in the Photos app. You’ll see all of the photos and videos on your connected iPhone here. If it doesn’t appear, then select your device’s name from the Photos sidebar.
  4. If asked, unlock your iPhone and let your phone trust the computer. Tap Trust from the pop-up to continue.
  5. Select the photos you want to import onto your Mac. Click the Import Selected button in the top right corner. If you want to transfer all of your photos and videos, simply press the blue button in the top right corner that says Import All New Photos. 
  6. Wait for the process to finish before disconnecting your iPhone from your Mac.

Using AirDrop 

  1. On your Mac, open up AirDrop by selecting it on the sidebar of a Finder window. Make sure the Allow me to be discovered by line has Everyone or Contacts Only selected.
  2. On your iPhone, select the photos and videos you want to transfer and then the tap the Sharing icon. It looks like a box with an arrow flying out of it and should be located in the bottom left corner.
  3. Wait a few seconds and your Mac should appear on the sharing screen of your iPhone in the form of a small icon. You may need to tap the AirDrop icon.
  4. Select your Mac device by tapping. If prompted, click Accept on your Mac when the AirDrop notification pops up. Your selected photos and videos will immediately start transferring.
  5. Your files will be located in the Downloads folder on your Mac! This may take a while depending on the amount of photos. Keep the two devices close to each other until the transfer is finished.

Using iCloud 

iCloud enables you to view all of your photos on all of your devices by automatically uploading those files to cloud storage. Apple offers 5GB of free iCloud storage per Apple ID. If you would like to store more than 5GB, then you will have to purchase a subscription.

  1. Make sure you are logged into the same Apple ID on both devices.
  2. On your iPhone, go to Settings. Press your name or Apple ID at the top. Tap iCloud, press Photos, and turn on the toggle for iCloud Photos.
  3. On your Mac, go to System Preferences and then Apple ID. Click on iCloud from the sidebar and select Photos. For older versions of macOS, go to System Preferences, select iCloud, click Options next to Photos, and check iCloud photos.
  4. The devices will then automatically sync the photos and videos. This may take some time, but once the process is finished, all the photos on your iPhone will be accessible on your Mac and vice versa.
  5. You can also view, organize, and download the synced photos from iCloud.com. Simply visit the site and login with your Apple ID. This can also be done on a PC.

Note that enabling iCloud Photos syncs any changes you make to either device. So, if you manually delete a photo from your iPhone, it will then be unavailable on your Mac, as well. Fortunately, this does NOT happen when you factory reset your iPhone. Everything will get erased at the device level, but no signals will be sent for it to be deleted in the cloud.

Backup your photos before you sell 

Knowing how to transfer your images from your iPhone onto your computer is crucial if you want to sell your phone. Buyers expect phones to be wiped clean and ready to use, meaning all of your files have to be permanently deleted. Whether you have a Mac or PC, there are multiple ways for you to import those memorable photos and videos and keep them safe and secure for the future!

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