iPhone photo backup: How to back up iPhone photos to a Mac, Windows and the cloud

If you’ve ever lost your phone, or fallen victim to a dodgy software update, you’ll be able to testify to the horror felt when you realise you don’t have an iPhone backup, meaning all your files and photos are gone.

 Sadly, it’s incredibly difficult to get these files back once they’ve been deleted in this way so the only way to protect yourself against it happening again is via pre-emptive photo backups. Thankfully, this is a much more simple task.

There are two main ways to backup iPhone photos – one involves backing them up to a computer, the other saves them to the cloud.

How to back up iPhone photos

If you’re frequently syncing and backing up your iPhone to your computer, using iTunes, you’re most likely already backing your iPhone photos up. Merely backing up your iPhone photos using iTunes will store all your photos on the program, however you won’t be able to access these photos unless you have the need to restore your iPhone from a backup.

Here are the other methods of backing up your iPhone photos:

iPhone photo backup: Mac

Thanks to Apple’s all-in ecosystem, backing up your photos to your Mac is the simplest way to keep your photos safe.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac and navigate to the Photos app.
  2. Click on Import and your photos will be automatically saved to your computer.
  3. You will need to repeat this each time you take new shots as they don’t automatically save over.

Back up your iPhone photos using AirDrop

Another easy way to back up your iPhone photos is through AirDrop.

  1. Turn on Bluetooth on both your Mac and iPhone before you start.
  2. To enable Bluetooth on your phone, scroll up to open the Control Center and hit the Bluetooth icon. Alternatively, you can enable it in Settings | Bluetooth.
  3. To enable Bluetooth on your Mac, click the Apple icon, go to System Preferences and select Bluetooth.
  4. Select all of the photos from your iPhone that you want to back up to your computer – you can also back up all your photos at once, but depending on the number, this could take some time.
  5. Tap the Share button, which looks like a square with an upwards arrow, located in the bottom-left-hand corner.
  6. In the AirDrop area of the share cards, you should see the name of your Mac appear.
  7. Tap on your Mac and they will begin to transfer across.

iPhone photo backup: Windows

Of course, if you don’t have a Mac it’s still easy enough to back up your photos to your Windows computer.

Back up iPhone photos to your Windows 7 PC

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer using your USB cable.
  2. When the Autoplay dialog box pops up, click ‘Import Pictures and Video using Windows’.
  3. Click the ‘Import Settings’ and choose the destination folder.
  4. Click OK.

Back up iPhone photos using Windows 8 PC

  1. Connect your iPhone to your PC using your USB cable.
  2. In the PC, right click on the iPhone device and click ‘Import Pictures and Videos’.
  3. Select ‘Review, organise and group items to import’ if you’re transferring your photos to your PC for the first time. Otherwise click ‘Import all items now’ if you’ve backed up your photos before.
  4. If you want to choose the destination folder, click ‘More Options’.
  5. Select the group of photos you want to transfer to your PC.
  6. Click Import.

Back up iPhone photos using your Windows 10 PC

  1. Connect your iPhone to your PC using your USB cable.
  2. Run the Photos app on your PC.
  3. At the top right corner, click ‘Import’.
  4. Select the photos you want to upload to your PC and then click ‘Continue’. Your photos will begin transferring across.

iPhone photo backup: Cloud

There is a wide range of cloud storage solutions that can back up your iPhone photos for you instantly, without you having to do anything beyond downloading the cloud storage app itself. Here are the three most popular solutions.

Back up iPhone photos using iCloud

  1. Apple’s own iCloud is the obvious choice for backing up your photos. Once you activate iCloud, any photos or videos you take will be instantly uploaded to the iCloud Photo Library which can then be accessed from any Apple device.
  2. Go to Settings | iCloud | Photos, then switch on iCloud Photo Library.
  3. Tap ‘Optimise photo storage’.
  4. Your Hi-Res photos will replace the ones on your phone with optimised versions that don’t take up valuable storage space.
  5. Your Camera Roll will then be changed to All Photos, as all your devices photos will now be synced to this one album.

Back up iPhone photos using Dropbox

2GB storage is available on Dropbox when you first create an account and it’s simple to set up automatic photo backups on the iPhone.

  1. In the Dropbox app, go to Settings.
  2. Tap on Camera Upload and toggle it on. Here you can also enable Background Uploading.
  3. Back up iPhone photos using Google Drive.
  4. Google Drive is the other most popular cloud storage solution. Google Drive’s free tier also comes with 15GB of storage – a lot more than Dropbox.
  5. In the Google Drive app, tap on the Menu button.
  6. Go to Settings.
  7. Tap on Photos and then toggle on Auto Backup.

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