What is the best tool for saving photos from an iPhone?

It depends from your current iCloud configuration and what other devices you have in your possession.

If you have activated iCloud Photo Library, then your photos & videos are automatically copied to iCloud. If you have activated the “Optimize iPhone Storage” option, then you do not have the full resolution version of your photos and videos locally stored on your iPhone anymore.

  • If you have a PC running at least Windows 8, you can install iCloud which will allow you to download all the photos and videos onto your computer from iCloud.
  • If you have a Mac running at least OS X 10.10.3 and with sufficient internal storage, then you can activate iCloud Photo Library with Photos and get a copy of your photos and videos onto your Mac.
  • If you haven’t a computer but have access to one (friend, family, …), then you can access iCloud.com from a web browser and download all your photos and videos from there (which can take quite some time and bandwidth depending on the number of photos and videos)

If you haven’t activated iCloud Photo Library (or can’t or don’t want to), then it depends whether you have a computer or not.

  • If you have a computer:
  1. Unlock your iPhone
  2. Connect your iPhone to the computer via the USB charging cable
    1. On a Windows PC, open an Explorer window and access your iPhone’s internal storage, then you can drag & drop the pictures into a folder on your internal hard drive
    2. On a Mac, you have several options. Either use Photos or iPhoto depending on the version of the operating system, or use Image Capture , to save the photo and videos into a folder on the internal hard drive or a memory stick.
  • If you don’t have a computer but another iOS device:
  1. Via the Camera Connexion Kit (either lightning or 30-pin) and a USB cable, you can manually import photos and videos from your iPhone to the other iOS device (iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch)
  2. Via AirDrop and having both devices in close proximity, you can wirelessly transfer photos and videos, from one device to the other.
  • If you don’t have any other device at your disposal, then I’d recommend using Google Photos as a way to save copies of your photos and videos in the cloud. To do that, you’ll need:
    • a Google account
    • installing the Google Photos app on your iPhone
    • activating the automatic backup option (which is free as long as you accept that your photos are slightly compressed and your videos are saved in 1080p at most).

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