How can I save all my pictures from my iPhone?

Saving all your pictures from your iPhone can seem daunting, especially if you have thousands of photos stored over years of use. The good news is, with the right tools and techniques, it’s easy to export all your iPhone photos so you have a backup and can access them when needed. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the best practices for saving iPhone photos to ensure no images get left behind.

Quick Answer: Use the Export option in Photos app

The easiest way to save all your iPhone photos is to use the Export feature in the Photos app. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone
  2. Tap Select in the top right
  3. Select all photos by tapping the word “Select” at the top
  4. Tap the Share icon at the bottom
  5. Choose Export XXX Items
  6. Select desired export location like iCloud Drive, computer, external hard drive, etc.

This exports your entire iPhone photo library while maintaining the album structure. With iCloud Drive, you can access the files on any device logged into your iCloud account.

Connect iPhone to computer

Another quick way to save iPhone photos is by connecting your device directly to a computer. Use the USB cable that came with your iPhone to connect it to your preferred computer, whether Windows PC or Mac. The computer will recognize your iPhone and you can access its files and photos.

On a Windows PC, your iPhone will appear as an external device. Open File Explorer, click on your iPhone, then navigate to Internal Storage > DCIM to find your photo folders. You can then copy and paste them to your computer.

On a Mac, your iPhone will appear as an icon on the desktop. Open it, go to the DCIM folder, then copy the photo folders to your Mac. This method provides easy access to all iPhone images for backup.

Use AirDrop

AirDrop is an Apple feature that allows you to wirelessly transfer files between Apple devices. To use AirDrop to save iPhone photos:

  1. Open Photos app on your iPhone
  2. Select the photos you want to transfer
  3. Tap the Share button at the bottom
  4. Choose AirDrop
  5. Select the receiving device like your Mac or iPad
  6. Accept the AirDrop transfer prompt on the receiving device

AirDrop makes it easy to quickly get your photos off your iPhone without cables or internet. It’s reliable and secure too thanks to direct device connections.

Sync Photos to Computer

You can also use syncing to save iPhone photos to your computer automatically. This approach keeps your iPhone and computer photo libraries in alignment.

On Windows, enable iPhone photo sync in iTunes. Connect your iPhone, select it in iTunes, click Photos, then enable syncing. Check “Copy photos to your PC” to save copies.

On Mac, enable iPhone photo sync in the Photos app. Connect your iPhone, open Photos, click your device, select “Copy items to the Photos library”, and enable syncing. New photos will copy automatically.

Syncing ensures your iPhone photos are always backed up to your computer. It can be left on continuously or enabled temporarily whenever you want to offload new photos.

Use iCloud Photo Library

iCloud Photo Library seamlessly syncs your iPhone photos across devices. When enabled, your entire photo library is backed up to iCloud automatically. This allows you to access your photos on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC, and even the iCloud website.

To enable iCloud Photo Library:

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone
  2. Tap your name at the top
  3. Choose iCloud > Photos
  4. Enable iCloud Photos

With iCloud Photo Library, all your iPhone photos will be saved online. You can then delete them from your iPhone if needed to free up space while retaining the backup.

Use third-party apps

Third-party apps provide advanced tools for transferring iPhone photos. Apps like AnyTrans, iMazing, and iMyFone iTransor offer to backup your entire iPhone camera roll with one click.

For example, with AnyTrans you can:

  1. Connect iPhone to computer
  2. Open AnyTrans and select your device
  3. Click Photos, then Export All to Computer
  4. Choose export location on your computer

Apps like these can selectively export albums, maintain folder structures, and even encrypt your photos for enhanced privacy during transfer. The convenience makes them worth exploring.

Save photos from iPhone messages

Photos received in iPhone messages via SMS, MMS, or iMessage will be saved in the Messages app. To retain those incoming photos:

  1. Open Messages app
  2. Navigate to the conversation with the photo
  3. Tap & hold the photo to save
  4. Choose Save Image
  5. The photo will now be saved to your Camera Roll

You can then back up your entire camera roll using the methods outlined above. This ensures no incoming message photos get left behind.

Transfer photos via email

If you only need to move a few iPhone photos, emailing them to yourself can work well. To email photos from your iPhone:

  1. Open the Photos app
  2. Select the photos you want to email
  3. Tap the Share button
  4. Choose Email
  5. Compose your email and attach the photos

The email approach isn’t efficient for mass backups, but works great for individual photos. You can also email photos to friends, family, and coworkers easily.

Upload photos to cloud storage

Cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive offer official iOS apps that allow uploading your iPhone photos. Benefits include:

  • Access your photos from any internet-connected device
  • Share albums with family and friends
  • Plenty of free storage for most users
  • Photo stream viewing to relive memories

To upload your iPhone photos:

  1. Install the cloud storage app like Dropbox
  2. Sign in or create an account
  3. Allow access to your iPhone photos
  4. Enable auto-upload from your Camera Roll

Cloud storage gives you an automated iPhone photo backup as you take shots. It’s reliable and lets you access your library everywhere.

Use social media

Many iPhone users already share photos on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can lean on these platforms as makeshift cloud backups for your images.

For example, to use Facebook for iPhone photo storage:

  1. Make sure auto-posting from Facebook app is enabled
  2. Share photos on Facebook right from the Photos app
  3. Periodically download your Facebook data for offline backup

Social platforms compress your uploads so aren’t suitable for archival purposes. But in a pinch they can rescue photos you thought were lost if your iPhone fails.

Auto-delete old photos

Your iPhone has a finite amount of storage, so it can help to automatically remove photos from your Camera Roll after backing them up. This frees up space for new shots.

You can enable auto-delete old photos like so:

  1. Go to Settings > Photos
  2. Under Library, tap “Review Large Content”
  3. Tap “Auto Remove Old Items”
  4. Select the timeframe threshold like 30 Days or 1 Year

The Photos app will regularly check and remove local copies of photos older than your set timeframe while retaining your backups. It’s an easy way to open up storage.

Use Optimize iPhone Storage

Another built-in option for freeing up space automatically is Optimize iPhone Storage. When enabled in Settings > Photos, your iPhone will intelligently replace local full-resolution photos with smaller versions after backing up the originals. This reduces used storage while maintaining visual quality.

Full-size originals remain safely backed up via iCloud Photo Library. But locally, your photos will take up less room. Enable Optimize iPhone Storage if you’re low on space.

Transfer to external drive

For large iPhone photo libraries, an external hard drive can provide ample reliable storage. Solid-state drives (SSD) have fast transfer speeds, while portable thumb drives give you something compact to carry in a pocket or bag.

To transfer iPhone photos to a drive:

  1. Connect the external drive to your computer
  2. Use a USB cable to connect your iPhone
  3. Access your iPhone photos from your computer
  4. Select all photos and copy them to the external drive

External iPhone photo backups keeps your images secure offline while freeing up space on your primary devices. Just make sure the drive is encrypted for privacy and security.

Print iPhone photos

Don’t overlook physical prints as a way of preserving your favorite iPhone snapshots. Services like Walgreens, CVS, Snapfish, and Shutterfly make it simple to turn your mobile photos into prints for family albums, framed photos, scrapbooks, and more.

You can print iPhone photos by:

  1. Choosing images in the Photos app
  2. Tapping the Share button
  3. Selecting Print
  4. Placing an order on the provider website

Speciality services like Chatbooks and FreePrints mail you regular photo albums or prints automatically using the photos from your iPhone library. It’s a unique way to create physical keepsakes.

Save iPhone photos to Google Photos

Google Photos is a top choice for iPhone backup thanks to its unlimited free storage for high-quality photos. Other benefits include:

  • Cross-platform syncing to Android and iOS
  • Smart search for locating photos
  • Built-in editing and enhancement
  • Family sharing for collaboration

To save iPhone photos to Google Photos:

  1. Install the Google Photos app
  2. Enable backup and syncing options
  3. Confirm settings like Mobile Data use
  4. New photos will now backup automatically

With real-time syncing, your iPhone shots appear in Google Photos moments after you take them. It’s a set-and-forget backup solution.

How to recover deleted iPhone photos

If you accidentally deleted important iPhone photos, don’t panic. As long as you act quickly, there are ways to try recovering deleted photos.

If using iCloud Photo Library, you may be able to restore deleted photos from the Recently Deleted folder. This holds your photos for 40 days before permanent removal.

You can also use the backup in iTunes or the Photos app on your Mac or PC to restore missing images if they were synced before deletion.

For a quick deep scan of your iPhone’s storage, apps like iMyFone iBypasser and iPhone Data Recovery Gihosoft can find residual copies of deleted photos that haven’t been overwritten yet. This can rescue photos before it’s too late.

Just remember – the sooner you restore from a backup or scan your iPhone, the higher the chances of photo recovery. Don’t wait too long after deletion.

Make sure all photos are saved

To ensure you’ve saved every last iPhone photo, here are some best practices:

  • Check Hidden Album for photos not visible in your Camera Roll
  • Manually transfer screenshots using a computer
  • Backup Live Photos as both JPG and MOV files
  • Export the Photo Library a second time weeks later to catch stragglers
  • Scan local iPhone storage with a recovery app to catch overlooked deleted photos
  • Enable iCloud Photo Library and confirm all photos are available on

Saving an iPhone’s photos takes diligence. Use multiple methods and repetition to get everything. Automating backups is also key so nothing slips through the cracks in the future.


When all is said and done, you want confidence that your iPhone’s photos are completely backed up and accessible. Whether using wireless sync, direct connections, cloud services, social media, external drives, or recovery tools, take advantage of the options at your disposal.

Don’t let indecision or lack of effort lead to lost iPhone photos. Their sentimental value makes them worth protecting. Use this guide to fully transfer your iPhone Camera Roll, selfies, Live Photos, screenshots, and incoming shared images so they’re never far away.

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