So, you would like to transfer photos and videos from your Apple smartphone to your PC? Let’s start by putting those USB cords away. Updates in Windows 11 allow you to set up iCloud on PC for constant access to your collection of screenshotted memes, selfies, and blurry vacation photos.
In addition to your iPhone, this method will work for other Apple devices connected to an iCloud account such as an iPad or a Macbook. In order to use iCloud, you will need to sign up for an Apple ID, if you do not already have an account.
To double check that your smartphone photos and videos are iCloud enabled, open up the phone’s Settings. Then, tap on your name at the top. Choose iCloud, then Photos. For this to work, the slider needs to be toggled to the right.
Make sure you remember what your password is for the Apple ID! It’s not likely a password you use very often. After that’s all sorted out, go ahead and open up the Microsoft store to download iCloud for Windows. Log in using your Apple ID. You may need to enter a verification code from your phone into the computer.
You will see options for sharing the contents of your iCloud drive, photos, contacts, calendars, website bookmarks, and passwords. Leave checkmarks next to the ones you would like to access on your PC. Look to the right of the photo section, tap on Options, and make sure the box is marked next to iCloud Photos before clicking Apply. You’ll also see an option for accessing the shared albums from your smartphone.
Next, choose whether or not you would like to automatically send Apple diagnostic information, and the set up will begin to download.
How do you locate the media on your PC? The photos and videos you capture on the iCloud-enabled Apple device are viewable by clicking on the File Explorer icon and choosing the iCloud Photos tab on the left side of the screen. You can now look at thumbnails of all your pics and videos on the PC as part of iCloud. If you want to transfer a copy of the media, click twice on the thumbnail for it to open up a preview in Microsoft Photos. Then, hold CTRL+S to download a copy of the media to your PC.
Pro tip: This instant access has the potential to be helpful, but take a second to really let what you’ve just done sink in, especially if you share a household PC. Every image you capture on your smartphone is accessible in a few, quick clicks on the PC. All of them.
Only 5 GB of storage is available for free through iCloud. Users who need more space than that small allotment have the option to subscribe to Apple’s iCloud+ service, which offers a few storage tiers depending on what you’re willing to pay. Use a majority of Apple products other than your PC? Maybe consider signing up for an Apple One subscription, a bundle that includes iCloud storage space, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, and Apple Arcade.
For even more options to preserve your unique collection of smartphone photos, check out Whitson Gordon’s helpful article about backing it all up. In addition, anyone who uses iCloud should consider reading David Nield’s tips for making sure you can recover everything.