Easily transfer photos from PC to iPhone or iPad

It is possible to upload photos from your PC to your iPhone or iPad (or to your iPod touch) and the easiest way to do this is using iCloud. Here we explain how.

iCloud is typically used to automatically sync photos from your iPhone or iPad to your computer, using what Apple calls Photo Stream. Photo Stream contains the latest 1000 photos, but once those photos are in the Photo Stream folder within My Pictures on your PC or laptop, they are not deleted. So that's a great way to automatically back up photos to your iOS device without having to connect it to your computer with a cable.

However, you can also use the Photo Stream folder in combination with iCloud Control Panel to send photos from your PC to your iOS device. To be able to use iCloud under Windows, you do need additional software from Apple. Here you can read what you need to do to install and configure iCloud Control Panel for Windows.

It is confusing that there are two different versions of iCloud Control Panel. If you are running Windows Vista with Service Pack 2, download this version of iCloud Control Panel. If you have Windows 7 or 8, you must have the latest version of iCloud Control Panel.

Once it's set up, photos you take with your iPhone or iPad are saved to your Photo Stream and uploaded to iCloud, then downloaded to your computer the next time you turn it on.

Upload photos from your PC to your iPhone

There are several ways to transfer photos to an iPhone or iPad, but here we do it via iCloud Control Panel and the Uploads folder within the Photo Stream folder.

Pay attention: If you just want to import photos from your digital camera without using a computer, you can purchase Apple's Camera Connection Kit if your device has an older 30-pin connector, or the Lightning to SD Camera Reader if it has the new dock connector .

(In this guide, we assume that you have already installed and configured iCloud Control Panel for Windows as described above.)

Step 1. On your computer, open an Explorer window and go to the folder where the photos you want are stored. Select the photos you want, right click on them, and choose copy.

Step 2. Go to the Pictures folder (My Pictures in Windows Vista). Locate the Photo Stream folder created when you install the iCloud Control Panel, and double-click it to display its contents. (Don't click the Photo Stream shortcut in the Windows Explorer favorites list, because that way you won't be able to get to the Uploads folder.)

Step 3. Open the Uploads folder in Photo Stream, right click and pasta your copied photos to this folder.

Step 4. Your photos will soon appear in your Photo Stream on your iPhone (within the Photos app). The Photo Stream is organized by date (the date the photos were taken), so finding them can be a little tricky if you already have the maximum number of photos (1000) in your stream. But it is also possible that Windows has given the files the date of today. Then the photos are at the back of your Photo Stream.

The images below show iOS 6 on the left and iOS 7 on the right. In iOS 7, Photo Stream is called My Photo Stream, and is within the Albums section at the bottom.

Photos uploaded this way can be JPEG, TIFF, PNG and most RAW camera formats.

A common source of confusion is the fact that Photo Stream doesn't support videos, so you can't upload videos to your iPhone or iPad this way. To add videos to your camera roll, you need to use iTunes and sync them to the tab photos (make sure you check the box Include videos check box), or you can install an app that allows you to add files via File Sharing in itunes.

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