Photos from computer to iPad or iPhone

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

Transferring photos from your iPad or iPhone to a PC or Mac is simple. It's a matter of connecting your i-device to the computer and using, for example, iTunes (or Finder in Catalina) to copy them. Or use the File Explorer and browse to the photo folder of your i-device and then manually copy or move all your photo folders. But if you always want to have a series of nice photos at hand, then it becomes a different story. Because exporting from, for example, your PC is already a lot more complex. So it seems. But luckily that's great! There are several 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 email address where you also receive mail on your iPad or iPhone. Once you have received and opened the email there, you will see the photos in the email. Long press on one of those photos and a balloon with options will appear. To save all photos in the mail on the camera roll of your i-device, choose Save xxx images, where xxx of course stands for the number of photos. You can also save photos individually if you don't want to save them all on the camera roll after all. By the way, don't forget to delete such an email (and empty the trash), because all those photos take up an unnecessary amount of storage space.

OneDrive & co

You can of course also use iCloud. The disadvantage of this - especially for Windows users - is that an iCloud tool must be installed for this. Experience shows that it does not work very well. But it can. Keep in mind, however, that iCloud's standard storage space isn't very good for storing a lot of high-resolution photos. See iCloud mainly as an intermediate station and delete the photos again after transferring. A while ago we wrote how that works, little has changed. More practical in 2019 is to use a cloud sharing service that you may already be using. 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 don't 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 the uploading starts. For example, it works exactly the same with OneDrive. If you have an Office 365 account, you usually get a OneDrive cloud storage of 1 TB with it. Create a photo folder there 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. Finished? Then open the OneDrive app on the iPad or iPhone (and make sure you're logged in there too). You will now see the newly added folder with photos. Tap that folder to open it. Press and hold the first photo in the folder; it is now selected. Select the other photos you also want to transfer by tapping the selection ball in front of them. Then tap the button with the three dots to the right of Share. In the opened menu, tap To download and the photos are transferred to the Camera Roll. Finished! Preferably don't forget to empty the photo folder on the OneDrive (or any other storage service for that matter). Not only to save unnecessary storage space, but also in connection with privacy.


If you are lucky enough to have a NAS, you can also use it as an intermediate station. Save photos you want to transfer to your iPad or iPhone in a shared folder. Then start the app on your i-device Files. In this, tap the button with the three dots above the Files column (you may need to click Locations tap 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 will get an overview of all folders to which the entered account has access. Scroll to the photo folder and tap Select. Then select all the photos (and also videos) you want to transfer. Finished? Tap on Part and then Save xxx images. Everything is now saved to the camera roll. To disconnect your NAS again, tap under Shared in the Browse column, click the blue eject icon.

Other apps

The downside of the default iOS Files app is that it doesn't show previews. Not a problem in itself if you use a temporary transfer folder, which you have provided with the desired photos from your PC. You can then blindly select and download everything. If you prefer previews (for example, because you want to select photos from an existing packed photo folder on your NAS), it is good to know that many NAS manufacturers provide their own free file browser. For Synology, for example, this is DS file. They often have more options - including thumbnail previews - on board. Or use a separately purchased file browser such as FileBrowser. This also allows you to access shared folders, with the advantage that thumbnails are available. FileBrowser for Business is actually the most beautiful. This is mainly due to the fact that this version supports the SMB3 transfer protocol, which transfers your photos quickly. The much cheaper standard or free variants are significantly slower due to the lack of SMB3. Select your photos in FileBrowser and tap copy. Then in the sidebar, tap photo library and then Film role. Wait - if there are many photos on the camera roll - wait a moment and tap Copy xxx files to Camera Roll (and that again in the opened menu). The big advantage of working via the NAS is that all your files remain indoors, so you never have to worry about annoying digital thieves who may be able to crack your cloud storage account.

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