The Best Ways to Get Photos Off Your Phone

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on May 18, 2015, How To Guides

Taking pictures is one of the main reasons that people buy smart phones these days. And with mobile cameras constantly improving, we’re getting some awesome shots. Loading up your phone with pictures is all very well, but at some point you’re going to need to get those pictures off your phone- if only so you can free up some memory space. Today we’re talking about the best ways to get photos off your phone and into your computer, so let’s get started.

Got an iPhone?

If you’ve got an iPhone, then we’ve got great news for you: this article doesn’t apply to you at all. That’s because getting photos off an iPhone is simple. New model iPhones are automatically connected to Apple’s iCloud storage system, which means you can access your pictures through iTunes any time you need them. And even older model iPhones will transfer pictures into iTunes once plugged into your computer with a USB. So Apple fans rejoice, you’re all good to go. Android users, on the other hand, might have more of a problem…

Sharing is Caring…

If you’ve only got a couple of pics that you need, then by far the simplest and easiest way to get them on your computer is to hit the “share” button on a picture, then send it to yourself by email. It takes about a second, and then you just need to open the email on your computer and download the pic from there. Of course, if you’ve got more than a couple of pictures that’s really not an effective solution, so let’s move on…

SD Cards…

Another simple solution, even if you’ve got tons of pics, is to use an SD card. Most (though not all) mobiles have a Micro SD card slot. Buy a card, slot it in. You’ll then need to mess about in the settings menu of your phone, or the settings menu of the camera app, and find an option to store pics to the SD card. This should be relatively easy to find, and once done will mean that your pictures are stored on the SD card rather than on your phone (though you might have an option to store pictures in both places).

Need your pictures? No problem. Take the SD card out of your phone, and if your computer also has an SD card slot just slide it in. If your comp isn’t SD enabled, then pick up a cheap SD card reader from your local computer store, plug your card in and then plug the reader into your computer. Everything you need will be right there. This is simple, but does require you to have extra equipment, so what about other options…

Cloud It…

Alright, so here’s another option. Rather than storing your pictures on either your phone or your computer, instead you store them on the cloud. Get yourself an account with DropBox, for example. Most phones will let you automatically send your pics to DropBox when you take them (again, you’ll need to mess around in the settings menu or camera menu to find that option), though in some cases you might need to transfer them manually. Then you just access your DropBox account from your computer and grab the pics you want. Don’t want to get yet another account with a password to remember? Okay then…

Back Up Options

This is a dual solution. Nearly every phone manufacturer makes software that you load onto your computer (for example, Samsung makes Samsung Kies). This software is designed to let you back up your phone to your computer, in the same way that iTunes does for Apple users. Go to your manufacturer’s webpage, grab the free software, and you’ll not only be able to get your pictures on your computer, but you’ll also have all your other data backed up.

In some cases you’ll need to plug your phone into your computer, though some software these days lets your computer and phone talk to each other wirelessly. Whichever you need this is a pretty easy way to get at your pictures. Don’t want to take the time to back up your entire phone? We’ve got more…

USB Connections

Many phones will let you simply plug into a USB port on your computer and access the phone files from there. This solution seems a lot easier than it could be though. Plug your phone in, open up the file explorer on your computer, and you should be able to get at your pictures. There are a couple of problems with this though. First, the pictures are nearly never in a folder that’s conveniently called “pictures.” You’re going to need to look inside all the folders until you find what you’re looking for. Tip: often, though not always, the folder you need will be called DCIM. Second, in some cases you don’t find all your pictures.

What if you can’t find all your pictures? We’re going to be honest with you here and say that there are some very technical explanations of why, as well as some very technical work arounds to fix the problem (if you’re tech inclined you just need to Google “pics not showing in DCIM folder” and you can find solutions). However, for the normal user these will be both time consuming and complicated. If you find that not all of your pics are showing up when you plug in with USB it’s going to be easier and faster simply to use one of the other methods we’ve outlined above (and remember, an online cloud storage account will generally be free up to a certain amount of storage).

And there you go. There are plenty of ways to get your pictures off your phone, some easier than others, and some requiring no equipment at all. Whichever method you choose, you’ll be able to get your pics from your computer and free up space on your phone. None of these methods should take you much time, and all can be done without much technical know how at all!

Photo Credit.