How to Transfer Your Photos From iPhone to PC (Tech Guide)

Happy Wednesday friends! Originally I had planned to post about my favourite spring shoes & dresses today, but as it turns out my iPhone ran out of space to the point that it wouldn’t even let me take 1 photo. I couldn’t complete my original blog post until I literally deleted photos and apps off on my phone.

So if you’re like me and don’t want to pay $12.99/month for 2TB iCloud storage and you’re trying to transfer photos from your iPhone to your PC then you’ve come to the right place.

A little back story about my current phone situation – I currently use an iPhone X with 256gb of storage space. I’ve had this phone for a little over 2 years and I never delete anything unless I have to. In my defence, because I’m a blogger, I hate deleting anything, especially photos in case I need to reuse images. Maybe an image will make a good cover photo for a future post later down the road.

Before the iPhone X, I used an iPhone 6 and I remember the process of transferring photos to PC being easy peasy – it was like moving photos from any regular USB storage to PC. Now the process is a whole nightmare. It took us two evenings to figure out all the kinks and decipher what all the pop ups meant and after a bunch of trial and error, we were finally transferring 208GB worth of photos to my PC and not all at once, I might add. At one point, I was so frustrated and impatient I even considered buying a new iPhone! X. So I’m writing this blog post to (1) remind myself when I probably have to do this again in 2 years and (2) share what I’ve learned in hopes that you will find this useful 🙂 If you are out of storage space on your iPhone and don’t need to buy a new one yet, keep on reading!

Photo taken pre-quarantine

1// Before connecting your iPhone to your PC, it is imperative that you keep your photos + videos in its original format when transferring. I’ve learned that iPhone will attempt to convert photos and videos to a compatible format to your PC if you leave the default transfer settings as “Automatic”. And when your iPhone can’t find that “compatible format” with PC, it will create an error message preventing you from moving anything else in that folder. Long story short, make sure you select “Keep Original” before you start. You should change the setting while your iPhone is disconnected from your PC.

From settings > Photo > Transfer To Mac or PC > Keep Originals

2// After you plug your iPhone to the PC, the next thing to do is to “allow” or “trust” your iPhone to transfer photos to your PC. Make sure your phone is unlocked for the pop up to appear.

This next part may sound dumb but trust me here. If you’ve been getting transfer errors, you will need to reconnect your iPhone to your PC. After plugging and unplugging your phone to your PC several times, the “allow” or “trust” pop up may not actually appear anymore. When this happens, you will need to Reset Location & Privacy settings. This will ensure you are always connected and if need be, do it every time the pop up does not appear.

If you are not getting the Allow This Device pop-up, go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Location & Privacy.

3// When you’re connected, you’re supposed to see Apple iPhone folder under “My Computer” or “My Files”. Depending on what kind of computer and USB port you’re using (you might have to try USB 2.0 vs USB 3.0 ports), it may take a while before any folders actually appear under your Apple iPhone Folder. For the longest time, my Apple iPhone folder would be empty and read “there is nothing in this folder”. Eventually, I decided to plug my phone into another laptop and the DCIM folder finally appeared after a few minutes.

My Computer > Apple iPhone Storage > DCIM > a bunch of folders.

4// Okay, so now you’re ready to transfer files and you may think that it makes sense to just ctrl+A and move everything to your PC all at once right? WRONG!! I attempted this and ran into a few error messages and here are my solutions:

Error Message: Error Copying File or Folder – A Device attached to the system is not functioning.
Solution: I ran into this error message a handful of times and easily fixed it by following Step # 1 (above), which is ensuring the transfer of photos are kept in its “original format” before connecting. If you’re like me and flipped the settings while you’re already connected, you might have to disconnect and change the setting again, reconnect your phone (step #2) or restart your phone or switch USB ports on your PC

Error Message: The requested value cannot be determined.
Solution: This was the most frustrating error but patience is the key. This error occurs when too many files are being transferred at once, meaning ctrl +A will not work. From my experience, moving around 800 items at a time is safe. Anything above that will trigger the error message and you’ll have to restart from steps 2 to 3. To give you some perspective, I had 25,000 photos & videos to be transferred and had patiently transferred 800 items each time and repeated that roughly 31 times (some folders like ###IMPRT had less than 100 items and folders like ###APPLE carry more than 1000 items)

Final Thoughts: The key is to not trigger any error messages during this whole process because once iPhone senses something is wrong, the transfer will fail and even though your computer will show that the iPhone is connected, you won’t be able to see any of the files and you’ll have to start from step 2 again. When in doubt, try to restart your iPhone and your PC or switching the USB port.

That’s it from me! Hope you guys found this tech guide helpful. Feel free to also follow along my Instagram page where I update daily with what I’m up to!

Written by Grace Yeung
Edited by Eden Yeung


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