How to transfer files between iPhone / iPad and Windows PC

Transferring files between iPhone and Windows PC has never been easier than transferring files between Android phone and Windows PC. Fortunately, several new methods have appeared over the years, making the process of transferring files relatively easy. But it remains quite restrictive. This article will discuss some of the best ways to transfer files between iPhone / iPad and Windows PC.

Navigate this guide:

  • How to transfer files between iOS and Windows using:
    • itunes
      • Transfer Photos from iPhone to PC Using File Explorer in Windows
    • iCloud
    • Snapdrop
    • Third party applications:

Transfer files using iTunes

ITunes logo

Although not everyone likes to use iTunes to transfer files between iPhone and PC, it is one of the official methods. Since you will be using the iTunes app to transfer files, you will need to install it from the Microsoft Store if it is not already present on your PC.

  • Connect your iPhone or iPad to your PC using a USB cable.

iTunes on Windows

  • Open the iTunes app and click the iPhone button at the top left of the iTunes window.

File Sharing on iTunes for Windows

  • Now click on the File sharing in the left sidebar, and iTunes will display a list of apps and associated files.

Move files from iPhone to PC

  • Tap a file you want on your computer and tap to safeguard. It will ask for a location to save it to your PC – select the location and you’re done.

Move files from PC to iPhone

  • If you want to transfer a file from your PC to your iPhone, select the app you want to associate it with and click Add file. This will open the file browser – select the file and it will appear on your iPhone.

Unfortunately, you can only transfer files associated with an application to your PC. The same goes for the files that you want to move to your iPhone. You will need to associate them with an application. So make sure that the apps you will be using to work on these files are present on your iPhone.

Sync iTunes Photos from PC

If you want to transfer photos from your PC to your iPhone, go to Pictures in the left sidebar on iTunes. Now you will see an option called Sync photos. Activate it and select the folder (s) from which you want to import photos to your iPhone. Once selected, click To apply basically.

It only works when iCloud Photos option is not enabled on your iPhone. If you automatically upload photos from your iPhone to iCloud, Apple suggests using iCloud to upload photos to your PC instead.

To transfer photos from your iPhone to your PC when iCloud Photos is not enabled, you will need to use the Photos app or File Explorer on Windows.

Transfer Photos from iPhone to PC Using File Explorer in Windows

IPhone Photos in Windows File Explorer

  • Open File Explorer on your Windows PC.
  • Make sure you have set up iTunes on your PC.
  • Select your iPhone from the list of devices and go to Internal storage > DCIM.
  • You will see your iPhone photos neatly divided into different folders based on the date.
  • You can now copy the photo (s) you want to your PC.

Transfer files using iCloud

iCloud logo

Using iCloud is one of the easiest and official ways to transfer files between iPhone and almost any other platform including Windows. Basically, you upload your files to iCloud and then upload them to the other device. However, on a free iCloud plan, you only get 5 GB of storage. So if you want to use iCloud to transfer larger files, you will need a paid plan.

Also, if you are using a metered data plan, using iCloud to transfer larger files is not a good idea as it can quickly deplete your data quota. Other cloud storage services, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive, can also be used in the same way to transfer files between iOS devices and PCs.

Transfer Files from iPhone to PC Using iCloud

  • Open the Files app on your iPhone.
  • Navigate to the files you want to transfer to your PC.
  • Long press and press Copy for individual files. If you want to copy multiple files, use the To select option in the three-dot menu.
  • Go to iCloud Drive in the app and paste the copied files there. Your files are now uploaded to iCloud Drive.
  • Use or the iCloud Drive app for Windows to download the files to your PC.

Notably, if you want to transfer photos from your iPhone to your PC using iCloud, you will need to activate the ICloud Photos option by navigating to Settings > Pictures > ICloud Photos. This will upload all of your photos to iCloud. You can then download them to your PC.

Transfer Files from PC to iPhone Using iCloud

  • You can either use to access iCloud Drive or download the iCloud for Windows app on a PC. Home

  • If you’re using, go to iCloud Drive after signing in and you’ll see all of your existing file folders. You can create a new folder or just upload files to the root of iCloud Drive.

ICloud Options

  • Just drag and drop the files or use the download icon to select the files manually. The files are immediately uploaded to iCloud Drive and you can now access them on other devices.
  • To download the files to your iPhone, go to the Files app and go to iCloud Drive.
  • You can now select the files and copy them to your iPhone’s internal storage.

Move Photos to iCloud Photos

For Photos, instead of selecting iCloud Drive, select Pictures on the iCloud home page. This will open iCloud Photos, then you can download as many photos as you want from your PC. Make sure iCloud Photos option is enabled on your iPhone and the downloaded images will appear automatically.

Transfer files using Snapdrop

Instant Logo

Snapdrop is another great tool for transferring files between two platforms using a simple web browser. It works great with iOS and Windows.

  • To move files using Snapdrop, open in a web browser on your iPhone or iPad. Then open the same website on a web browser on your PC. Make sure both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network.
  • The website will display the PC on your iPhone and vice versa.
  • Just tap the device you want to send a file to and follow the onscreen instructions.

It’s as easy as it sounds, and you don’t even need to install anything. Moreover, since it sends files locally, your data is secure and the transfer is very fast.

Transfer files using a third-party application

Documents and AirDroid

While the previously described methods are good for transferring files back and forth – PC to iPhone and iPhone to PC – third-party apps are only good for transferring files from PC to iPhone. The reverse works in some cases, but requires a lot more steps than the previously described methods and is trickier.


Readdle’s free Documents app is a great third-party option for transferring files from PC to iPhone or iPad.

  • Install the Documents app from the App Store.
  • Make sure your iPhone and PC are using the same Wi-Fi network.
  • Open the Documents app and tap Connections. Then select Computer. If you are using an iPad, the Computer The option will be present in the sidebar.
  • Now open a web browser on your PC and navigate to

Transferring documents over the web

  • You will be asked to enter the code displayed on your iPhone or iPad. Enter the code.
  • Your iPhone and your PC are now connected.

Document transfer download

  • You can use the Download files ability to transfer files from PC to your iPhone.
  • To find the files transferred to other apps, turn on the Documents app as the location, and then you can access these files.


AirDroid is a popular application on Android. But a lot of people don’t know that it’s also available on iOS. It works similar to Readdle’s Documents apps and allows file transfer from PC to iPhone.

  • Download and install AirDroid from the App Store and make sure your iPhone is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your PC.
  • Open AirDroid and select it AirDroid Web option under the My devices section.
  • Open a web browser on your PC and navigate to the mentioned IP address on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Accept the connection request on your iPhone.

Airdroid PC Download

  • You can now use the Upload a file Where Download the file options to transfer files from PC to your iPhone.
  • Once uploaded, the files will appear in the AirDrop web section and you will need to share them individually with another app where you want to use them.

Here are some ways to transfer files between iPhone or iPad and Windows PC. Of course, when you are just looking to move a file or two, you can also use email or a chat app that you already use to transfer files from PC to iPhone or vice versa.

Which method do you prefer? Do you like a method not listed here? Let us know in the “Comments” section. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a new iPhone or laptop, we’ve got some great buying guides for the best iPhones and the best laptops on the market. We also explained how to transfer data from your Android phone to iPhone or from iPhone to Android device.

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