Best way to transfer photos from iphone to drive

Hi everyone
I wonder what could be the best way to transfer photos from iphone to pc or mac in a way that all photos are visible and selectable
I tried a few ways and having connection drop issues

I tried:
Plug in windows and copy folders from iphone
Use import functionality in photos app
Use import function in mac photo app
All drop connection in mid copy

The only successful way for me was to air drop photos to mac and move them to a backup hard drive

I have iCloud backup and iTunes backup as well but need photos separately
I don’t think downloading from i cloud would be a good solution

My devices:
Iphone 12 pro max
MacBook Pro 2019
Winfows Envy laptop

Is there an error message when the connection drops (to explain why it is dropping?) Does the phone drop the link when the screen locks, for example?

Windows does have the robust copy command robocopy that can be used from the command line. I don’t know if it is robust enough against the connection drop you’re experiencing.

When I needed to move a few photos from an iPad to a PC I created a DropBox account… and used DropBox’s web page to retrieve the files on the PC.

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Error would be there was an error with the device
And i can use my google photos or iCloud but would like to have a more reliable way to copy photos
Also photo app in mac seems not to give freedom to move copy photos to drive easily
It’s just importing to a library

How many phots are we talking about?

Have you tried copying them over in batches?


If you already have them in Google Photos, you could use takeout ( The pics will be zipped by Google and you get an email with a link so you can download them in batches. The only issue is the photos may not be full quality, unless you’ve selected that option in Google Photos. You can schedule them to run every 2 months too if you’re doing this as a regular backup.

Or Apple Photos on the Mac there is a File Export option. Select all the photos, then pick Export or Export Unmodified Originals, depends which you want.

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You could get one of those USB sticks with two connectors on it. USB-C/USB-A on one end and lightning on the other. I think the iPhone would let you copy the files to it and then you could move it to the PC.
Something like this:


You mention two computers having a connection problem with one iPhone over a wired connection. Seems to indicate a problem with iPhone or cable.
Try different cable and a soft reset on iPhone to see if it clears connection problem. If connection problem persists, you have a more serious problem, probably with iPhone.

My experience with iPhone when moving a lot of photos has always been to use method described by @Jamze, using Photos on Mac to import from iPhone to a new album in Photos, then exporting all photos I select to a new folder. This folder could be on an external drive directly, or on PC or Mac, then copied to external drive.

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It’s a general 1500-2000 per month

Last night i did that with windows photo app import functionality

I had to select 100 each time and a few plug and unplug. Close and reopen app
And the last 100 didn’t go through at all , had to air drop them to mac and take them in a flash drive

This is a big hassle
Simply loses connection and is not showing up in explorer
Ive had same issue with my previous iPhone s as well
Going to wipe the windows laptop and fresh install a new win 10 pro again to see if that helps
I have a feeling the ssd or software is going through hiccups here and then so that might be the issue

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Thanks that helps
I couldn’t fine the export in mac yet

Also i need to clean up my Google photos as it is full of unwanted photos and is making storage out of space

I may gove it a try thanks
Have you tried connecting a usb c hard to iphone with charging cable
I wonder if that may work or butn my hard disk

The only confusing part for me was if the import will do that in a library on the iphone
So as you say can I import in a new library and export files in a folder then delete the library
Will i loose the original from iphone

On another subject
Is there any way to orgnize and delete unwanted photos on iphone from mac so i dont need to stait hours at iphone smaller screen than mac

It sounds like you haven’t got iCloud photos turned on, which will sync all the photos on your mac and iPhone so you can access/manage them from both. Is this because it would take too much storage space in your iCloud? i.e. it doesn’t take too many pics before you have to pay Apple for more storage.

I do have it ON and im paying for storage as well just need a way to have a backup exported to my hard drive as well
I usually back up photos and clean up my icloud photos so it doesnt get full easy
That is why i need photos to be accessible outside ( the reason i dont wanna use any backup solution or ios backup)

If it is easy to export from i cloud photo app on mac to a folder tgat i can move to hard drive that would be the best for me

Then if i remove photos in photo app on mac
Will it delete the photo from my iphone or will it be uploaded back again from iphone

Understood on the backup requirement.

But prob a good idea to work out why iCloud photos aren’t syncing between your iPhone and Mac first. If it’s turned on (at both ends) and you’re logged into the same Apple ID, both mac Photos and the iPhone should have the same pics.

Just checked on my wife’s mac and phone. And yes, if you delete a pic on the mac, it gets removed on the phone. Works the other way too - remove a pic on the phone, disappears on the mac.


That would be great
Ilk check it this evening

Can you please check how to export photos from the photo app to an external drive on mac as well
Need to make sure about that

Also do you recommend to keep the aa files for each photo

Be warned, I haven’t used Apple Photos for years, others may have more current knowledge!

But it looks like you can select all your pics (cmd A is a shortcut) and use this File/Export menu option. Either export a jpg/tiff/png of your edits, or export the original pic before edits.

It prompts for a disk and folder where you want to export to.

Do you mean files with an AAE extension? I think they are used to track edits, from the Aperture days. Where are you seeing those? :thinking:


Thanks ill try it
Yes AAE files are being populated in windows

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Good luck!

Few other things I thought of. When you get iCloud Photos syncing, it does take a while. My dad got himself an iPhone, and I synced it to his Mac Mini where his Photos library was, and it took overnight to complete.

Might as well keep those AAE files. If you ever use the backup on a mac it might be able to use them?

And when you export from mac Photos, I’d use 16bit TIFF and keep the location info.

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Working with Apple Photos on both the Mac and PC tends to confuse the issue.

From an Apple only perspective, here is what I experience with Photos on iOS devices, my Macbook Air M1 running Monterey, and iCloud Photos via Safari:

First, your export to external drive query. Using Photos on the Mac, after you “Select” specific photos (as many as you want), you click Export under the File menu. It will give you some choices to export photo or original photo, Select what you want. It will then pop up a menu to select file type and name. When you click “Export” at bottom of that page, it will pop up a Finder window, where you can select where you want the files stored. As long as your Finder preferences include external drives and Hard drives in the sidebar, you can have all the selected photos exported to your preferred location directly.

Next, if you choose to use all the Apple Photos features, your iOS devices, your Mac Photos, and iCloud will sync photos, and should stay in sync with a little luck. If you take a photo with your iPhone, it should appear on your Mac a short time later. If you delete a photo on any device, you get a popup informing you it will be deleted everywhere. A couple of things to keep in mind. All devices must be logged into same iCloud Apple ID account. You need to turn on Photos in the iCloud settings on each device. If your Mac Photos is not in sync, you should run “Repair” on it. To do this, you close Photos, then you hold down the Option and Command keys at the same time, and click on the Photos icon and select Repair. After it completes repairing (supposed to be non-destructive) your Mac Photos should sync with iCloud.

Personally, I keep the management of Photos on the Apple devices, and use Google Photos on the iPhone to provide access to photos on a PC if needed. I have just proved to myself that if I delete a photo from Photos on my iPhone, the same photo is deleted from Google Photos, so be careful.