5 steps to transfer photos from phone to computer

Transferring your photos from your phone to your computer should not be hard. However, with the additional complications of cloud backup and sync, things are not very straight forward. In addition, Android and iOS behave very differently which adds complexity as well. Read on to find out how to transfer your phone photos to your computer.

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1. Determine if you will be deleting your phone photos or not

Before jumping into transferring photos from phone to computer, ask these question first: Are you going to delete your photos from your phone after transferring them to your computer? Most people will agree that they don’t want all their photos on their phone because there have many bad photos. But when pushed further, most people will want some photos still on their phones to show their friends. However, not deleting all your phone photos after transferring to your computer will give you headaches because you will have lots of duplicate photos.

For a more in depth discussion read Manage your phone photos.

What will you do?

2. Prepare your phone photo app for downloading photos

Before you start to transfer photos from phone to computer, you also need to turn Backup & Sync off on your phone, especially if you want to delete your phone photos after transfer.

The reason is that when you will be deleting your phone photos, you don’t want them to be deleted from your cloud storage. Have you decided?

I don’t believe you should ever turn Backup and Sync on, but most people use it…so it’s up to you.

Here is how to turn off backup and sync in Google Photos on iPhone and Android.

  1. Open Google Photos
  2. Tap the top left corner (look like 3 horizontal bars).  It’s in the search bar at the top.  You will get a menu on the left hand side of the phone.
  3. Tap the gears symbol on the top right of the left-hand side menu that comes up.  This is the Google Photos settings
  4. Tap Back up & Sync and turn it off.

Read more about setting up Google Photos.

Here is how to turn off Backup and Sync for iCloud on iPhone:

  1. Tap Settings then tap the Photos app
  2. Turn off iCloud Photos library and My Photos Stream

Whether you are using Google Photos or Photos on iOS, they are both set to backup & sync mode which means that if you delete photos from your phone, they will also be deleted from your cloud storage.

3. Prepare your phone to transfer photos to computer

Before starting to transfer photos from phone to computer, let’s prepare your phone a little bit. Read through these steps before doing them, to make sure you understand what you’re doing.

  1. (phone and computer) Plug the USB cable into the phone and the computer.
  2. (phone) On Android: Touch and drag the notification bar down. On iPhone, make sure your phone is unlocked and press the Allow button on the notification window you get when you connect your phone to the computer.
  3. (phone) On Android, touch for other USB options.
  4. (phone) On Android, touch the Image Transfer (PTP) option.
  5. (phone) The USB connection option has been changed.

4. Transfer your photos from phone to computer

Here is a step by step guide about how to transfer photos from phone to computer. Read through these steps first before doing it and make sure you understand them.

  • (computer) Start the software you use for transferring photos.
  • (computer) Press Import. Verify your import folder is 00-TRANSFER
  • (computer) Pick your phone in the source pull down if it’s not already there.
  • (computer) Press import all and wait for the import to be completed.
  • (computer) Verify your phone pictures are on the computer.
  • (phone) Delete all your photos from your phone.  This is optional, especially if you are fearful about deleting your phone photos.  However, if you don’t delete them, you will end up with lots of duplicates every time you transfer photos from your phone to your computer.

5. Organize your photos on your computer

Now that you finished transferring phone photos to your computer, it’s time to organize them on your computer.

  • Rename each event folder from your TRANSFER folder so that it has a place and short description in the name.
  • Move these “cleaned up” folders to our MAIN folder in the respective year folder.

For an easy way to organize your photo folders read Organize your photos in 5 easy steps.

Essentials for organizing your digital photos

Over the years I have come to rely on only a few products for managing and backing up my large media collection. These are my essential products and services I have been using for many years to keep things organized and safe. Even though these are affiliate links, I wholeheartedly recommend them.

I recommend using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC via the annual Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Lightroom has excellent photo editing capabilities. Yes, Lightroom has a steeper learning curve as you have to learn to keep your catalogs in sync with your hard drive. However, Adobe Lightroom makes most sense especially when you do lots of image editing.
If you don't like the subscription, you can get also download the last standalone Adobe Lightroom 6 for Mac or Windows (while it is still available). However, the product is no longer maintained by Adobe.

Excellent Lightroom and Picasa alternative. If you're looking for a cheaper and simpler photo manager then ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac or ACDSee Pro for Windows is my preferred solution for organizing your media on your computer. It has a very fast browser, beautiful image editing capabilities and you don't work with catalogs at all.

In addition, make sure you have an inexpensive and reliable external hard drive for backing everything up. It is absolutely essential for backing up your media regularly.

If you're looking for a reliable unlimited cloud backup service, I recommend Backblaze Cloud Backup. I have used Backblaze for my online backup for more than 3 years now. All my files are safe and secure and I have never had any problems with them.

YOURS FREE! 10 crucial steps most people miss when organizing their digital photos

Most people want to just organize their digital pictures and ignore these crucial steps right at the beginning...when they are shooting and transferring their digital pictures. Then they wonder why they can't organize their digital photos! Avoid most people's mistakes and start on the right track!

Start organizing now using detailed, step-by-step instructions and videos:
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