Photos from computer to iPad or iPhone

Take a virtual photo album with you on your iPad or iPhone

The iPad in particular is ideal as a portable digital photo album. But if you have a collection of photos on your PC or Mac, how do you get them on your iPad (or iPhone) …?

Transferring photos from your iPad or iPhone to a PC or Mac is easy. Matter of connecting your i-device to the computer and using for example iTunes (or Finder in Catalina) to copy them. Or use the Explorer and browse to the photo folder of your i-device and then copy or move all your photo folders manually. But if you always want to have a series of nice photos close at hand, it will be a different story. Because exporting from your PC, for example, is a lot more complex. It seems so. But luckily that’s not too bad! There are various roads that lead to Rome. If it’s just a few photos, it’s quickest to simply email them to yourself. Or at least: to the e-mail address that you also receive on your iPad or iPhone. Once you have received and opened the mail there, you will see the photos in the mail. Press on one of those photos a little longer, after which a balloon with options will appear. To save all the photos in the mail on the roll of your i-device, choose Save xxx images, where xxx is of course the number of photos. You can also save photos per piece, if you don’t want to keep them all on the film roll. By the way, don’t forget to delete such an e-mail (and empty the trash), because all those photos take up unnecessary storage space.

If it concerns a few photos, you can also email them to your i-device

OneDrive & co

You can of course also use iCloud. The disadvantage of this is – certainly for Windows users – that an iCloud tool must be installed for this. Experience shows that it does not work very well. But it is possible. However, keep in mind that the standard storage space of iCloud is not very adequate for storing a large number of photos in a high resolution. See iCloud primarily as an intermediate station and delete the photos after transferring again. A while ago we wrote how that works, little has changed. More practical in 2019 is the use of a cloud sharing service that you may already use. It is then a matter of opening the website of the cloud storage service on your PC or Mac and logging in there. You often do not even have to install a tool locally, uploading is often a matter of simply dragging photos from a local folder to the browser window and uploading starts. For example, it works exactly like that with OneDrive. If you have an Office 365 account, then you usually get a One TB Drive storage of 1 TB. Create a photo folder by – once logged in – on New and then Folder to click. Open the added folder with a double click and drag photos from the Explorer to that folder. Ready? Then open the OneDrive app on the iPad or iPhone (and make sure that you are also logged in there). You now see the newly added folder with photos. Tap that folder to open it. Press and hold the first photo in the folder; this is now selected. Select the other photos that you want to transfer by tapping the selection ball in front. Then tap on the button with the three dots to the right of Share. Tap in the opened menu To download and the photos are transferred to the Film Role. Ready! Preferably do not forget to empty the photo folder on the OneDrive (or any other storage service). Not only to save unnecessary storage space, but also in connection with privacy.

Upload photos to OneDrive from your PC or Mac via the browser


If you are in possession of a NAS, you can also use it as an intermediate station. Save photos that you want to transfer to your iPad or iPhone to a shared folder. Then you start the app on your i-device Files. Tap on the button with the three dots above the Files column (you may have to tap first Locations to see this column). Then tap Connect to server. Enter the IP address of your NAS and tap Connect. Select the option Registered user and enter the name and password of the account that has access to the shared folder where you just placed the photos. Tap on Next one and you get an overview of all folders that the entered account has access to. Scroll to the photo folder and tap Select. Then select all the photos (and also videos) that you want to transfer. Ready? Tap on Part and then Save xxx images. Everything is now stored on the film roll. To break the connection to your NAS again, tap below Shared in the Browse column on the blue eject icon.

With the standard Files in iOS app you can access shared folders (with photos, for example) on your NAS

Other apps

The disadvantage of the standard iOS app Files is that it does not show previews. Not a problem in itself if you use a temporary transfer folder that you have provided with the desired photos from your PC. You can then blindly select and retrieve everything. If you prefer previews (for example, because you want to select photos from an existing photo folder on your NAS), then it is good to know that many NAS manufacturers provide their own free file browser. For Synology, for example, that is DS file. They often have more options – including thumbnail previews – on board. Or use a separately purchased file browser such as FileBrowser. You can also access shared folders with this, with the advantage that thumbnails are available. FileBrowser for Business is actually the nicest. And that is mainly due to the fact that this version supports the SMB3 transfer protocol, with which your photos can be transferred quickly. The much cheaper standard or free variants are considerably slower due to the lack of SMB3. Select your photos in FileBrowser and tap Copy. Then tap in the navigation column Photo library and then Film role. If there are many photos on the film roll, wait a moment and tap Copy xxx files to Filmroll (and again in the opened menu). A big advantage of working via the NAS is that all your files stay indoors and you never have to be afraid of annoying digi-thieves that may crack your cloud storage account.

FileBrowser has more to offer than Files, including photo previews


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